Posts Tagged ‘education’

Nektarina Non Profit celebrates its 9th birthday!

Written by Aina on . Posted in General Information, News

Today it’s a very special day not only because 12th of August sees the commemoration of International Youth Day, but also because it’s our ninth anniversary or as we like to call it: our birthday.

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Nektarina’s story began in 2009 in Croatia and ever since our organization has dedicated to “Educate, connect and inspire” people from all walks of life to take care of the environment and their communities.

Our planet is at a breaking point. Each year that passes, we see more evidently the need to take action towards the protection of our planet Earth and all living things. Climate change is quickly becoming the biggest threat to communities all around the globe while our  air, soil, waterways and oceans are severely affected from expansive pollution. All over the planet, wildlife, ecosystems and habitats are being lost by our unsustainable development which is threatening our own survival at the same time.

In such difficult times, we believe it is more important than ever to practice each and every day our organizational motto: Educate, Connect and Inspire. Consequently, we’ll continue spreading information to raise awareness and educate about global issues affecting our communities and the environment. We’ll keep connecting with others to build a more sustainable future. And most of all we hope to continue inspiring people to get out of idleness and find their own way to help and make a difference in their communities and their environment.

Many thanks to all the present and past colleagues, volunteers, donors, people, and organizations that have accompanied us in these 9 years.

Keep following us in our social networks and don’t forget: a sustainable future for all of us is possible if we start changing and taking action in our daily lives today.

Twitter @nektarina and @edu4sustain

Facebook @nektarinanonprofit  and @Edu4Sustainability

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Tree planting celebration in Pune’s Bio Diversity Park

Written by Aina on . Posted in India, News, Take Action

Last Friday, 12th of August, was a very special day for us, here at Nektarina. We were celebrating the International Youth Day and our 7th anniversary with a very inspiring activity organized by Suresh More, our E4S Project Manager in India: a tree planting in the city of Pune.

The activity took place early in the morning in the area of Katraj Gujarwadi inside the Bio Diversity Park reservation on the city’s hills and involved the participation of around 60 young children aged 3 to 5 years old, teachers, and representatives of the “Little Diamond” school.

Fifty trees provided by the school, organizers, and supporters of the activity were planted in the Bio Diversity Park reservation, which is an important protected area managed by Pune Municipal Corporation consisting of 978.540 hectares of land on the hills surrounding the city.

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The protected area was created after vast areas of the hills were severely deforested for timber and infrastructural use in the 2000s. Ever since, Pune Municipal Corporation has been protecting the area and promoting its reforestation as the total area represents more than 90% of the city’s green areas, thus has the potential to become the green lungs of this rapid growing city.

We are very satisfied to have been able to organize this meaningful activity involving children from such a young age. The tree planting activity is not only a source of inspiration and knowledge for children and their communities, it also helps to connect and create a bond with nature, with the land, with the origin and growth of a tree, its needs and care. At the same time we are glad to have contributed a little with the reforestation of this area of the city that was formerly so neglected and abused.

We are confident that the experience and the enthusiasm that our young participants showed during the tree planting activity will stay with them forever.

In trees and children there is always hope!

 Click here to check out all the great photos of the activity  

Diwali Collage Competition

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in India, News

While children were away from school celebrating the Diwali holiday, we wanted to make sure that the environment and sustainability were never far from their minds, so we launched our collage competition over the break to keep them thinking.

There were many participants from schools in the Pune region and we will be arranging an exhibition for as many of the collages as we can. Until then, here are some photos from the competition including some of the fantastic completed collages.

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Essay Competition Received Almost 10000 Entries

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in India, News, News & Updates

We are very pleased to announce that our essay competition in Pune, India, is now concluded. We received nearly 10,000 entries from participants aged 10-17 from 15 schools, and from there we have chosen a select few winners.

In each school there were two age groups, and we chose three winners from each group in each school. From those we then chose three overall winners for each age group.

This competition was a huge success – teachers were keen to get involved because of the importance of the topics and the children were keen to engage with these subjects in a critical and thoughtful way.

All the winners received certificates, and there were also jute bags, notebooks, and stationery kits.

Here are some photos from the competition, and you can see some more photos in the flickr album of the event:

One of the winning essays from the junior group.

One of the winning essays from the junior group.

One of the winners from the older group.

One of the winners from the older group.

One of the prizes.

One of the prizes.

One of the classes of participants with the winners.

One of the classes of participants with the winners.

                                                   

Tree Planting in Ghana

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in Ghana, News & Updates, Upcoming Events

In late July, Nektarina Non-Profit and its local partners Peter & Lisa Organization Ghana (PLOG) conducted a large scale activity planting over 200 trees in selected spaces in the Volta region of Ghana.

Over a hundred school children joined in the event, getting their hands dirty and assisting with the tree planting. There were also people from the local communities, teachers, parents, and representatives from the District Chief Office, the Education Ministry, the Forestry Commision, and NADMO, along with anyone else who wanted to participate – the event was open to all.

The trees were planted around the Quarters Area in Jasikan, with particular attention given to the hospital project land. The planned hospital will be a great benefit to the entire region and the country as a whole, so being involved in readying the plot of land with our trees was a huge honour for PLOG and Nektarina.

While the children involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves, enthusiastically getting involved with digging and planting, they were also fascinated by the reasons why we were engaging in this activity. After some educational activities and awareness talks, they left with a new appreciation for this most vital part of our environment.

PLOG and Nektarina will care for and maintain the sapling trees for six months, at which point the Teak trees will be robust enough to continue growing without frequent care. Teak trees can grow to be well over 20m tall and frequently live to be hundreds of years old (the oldest is over 1,500), so the tree planting activity was not only a fantastic experience for everyone in attendance, but will continue to provide joy to the region for many years to come.


teak treeSuch was the success of this event, the team have been asked to take on an additional tree planting activity, this time taking place over 2 days (30th – 31st October), planting around 3,000 trees!

With over 300 children expected to attend, this activity aims to educate them on the importance of environmental sustainability, particularly within their local communities. It will also teach the value of carbon offsetting, and promote tree planting as a key way people can offset their carbon footprints. This will be tied together with general lessons about climate change and the importance of forests in regulating our environment.

Representatives from multiple government bodies are expected to be in attendance, including the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Environment, Science, & Technology; the Ministry of Lands & Forestry; the Forestry Commission; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the National Disaster Management Organisation. Mr. Abrampah Kilian, the District Assembly Chief Executive of Jasikan, is also expected to appear at the event. Peter Nana, the Country Manager for Ghana for Education for Sustainability, says “I can’t wait to bring this activity to the children, many of whom will not have had the opportunity to participate in a similar exercise. It is vital that we instil the value of a sustainable life as early as possible, and this is a great start to that.”

In cooperation with the Forestry Research Department, teak trees have been selected to plant, because of their capacity to have a positive impact on the environment by oxygenating the air, by providing stability to the ground, and by acting as windbreakers.

CCS 2015 – Building the Desired City

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates, Venezuela

The country manager in Venezuela for Nektarina’s Education for Sustainability project, Vladimir, attended the first CCS Forum, entitled ‘Building the Desired City’. The forum took place in Caracas early in May and had several high calibre speakers, including Wynn Calder, the eminent director of ULSF (University Leaders for Sustainable Futures) and Sustainable Schools LLC. Wynn is the director of Sustainable Schools LLC, co-director of the Association of University Leaders for Sustainable Futures (ULSF), and the review editor of the Journal of Education for Sustainable Development.

Other speakers included Ann Cooper, a chef and advocate of healthy food for children; Larry Black, an expert in environmentally-friendly and sustainable architecture; historian and anthropologist Joseph Tainter; and Nancy Nowacek, visual artist and designer.Wynn Calder

The forum was inspired by and the ideal of a city which offers quality lives to its citizens and future generations, and aims to create a space for considering sustainability. Sustainability is innately linked to this goal, particularly ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the quality of life that current citizens have, and so Wynn Calder’s prominence in the lineup was vital to ensure the success of the forum.

Mr Calder gave a fascinating presentation wherein he discussed some of the ways schools he’s worked with have incorporated sustainability into the education of their students. Many schools had in fact gone further than just this and had made sustainability part of the school ethos – a part of the student’s lives rather than just another box they have to tick.

Prominent among them is a rural school which created a garden, which has truly become a part of the school experience for students there. Now incorporating an outdoor classroom, and a produce section much loved by the school’s chef, they have ensured that each student feels a sense of ownership over the project and gets involved with it in some way.

Other tales include schools now involved in a study on Monarch butterflies, schools taking on mass clean-up actions, schools encouraging children to take more of an interest in how their food is produced and how sustainable it is, and many more. Listening to someone talk about such a wide variety of initiatives was extremely useful for Vlad and the rest of the E4S country managers (who were able to see a video of the presentation).

As I watched the video, I started to think about the differences and similarities between the projects. More than just things like whether it was an urban or rural school, or what age group was being targeted, I considered the ideas and outcomes of the projects and came to a few conclusions.

Perhaps the most important thing about these projects are that the children were not just taking part in them – they were taking ownership of them. Collecting their own data for research studies, clearing their own playing fields, growing their own plants; these schools were not simply teaching the students about sustainability, but really getting involved with it, making them care about it and helping them realise that if they want their younger sibling, their cousin, their own children to enjoy the world as they do, they must act sustainably.

As well as empowering them to take ownership, these projects inspire the children. Whether they are inspired to picture a beautiful, flourishing garden, to imagine their name on a research paper, to consider how it would feel to meet the cows that produce the milk in their cereal – what exactly doesn’t matter so much as the act of inspiration itself.

These projects have captured the hearts and minds of many hundreds of children, and that is what the E4S project aims to do. The experience and expertise of Wynn Calder has been extremely valuable in this, and we can’t wait to put these principles of ownership and inspiration into practice across the Education for Sustainability project.

Ebola and What it Revealed in Sierra Leone

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates, Sierra Leone

May 2015, Sierra Leone

Ebola became a household name when it unleashed its wrath on the majority of innocent and ignorant inhabitants of Sierra Leone in May of 2014. There was little knowledge about the Ebola virus and its transmission thread, and its symptoms were the same as malaria, typhoid fever, cholera and other common ailments prevalent in the country.

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However, despite warnings from World health organization emphasizing the deadliness of the disease, not much was in place to stop its spread. It overran the country and became uncontrollable, killing thousands of people and leaving some physically challenged and others bearing the brunt of other consequences such as being orphaned, stigmatized, and fleeing their homelands to would-be protected and safe communities where they met their untimely death.

The consequences did not stop there; it halted commerce, travel and the operations of extractive industries. Most people lost their jobs, schools and colleges closed for almost a year, farmers ate up seeds reserved for farming, and most foreign nationals had to leave. This in its entirety burst the economy with the inhabitants bearing the dire consequences.

There was seen a national and global complacency in the fight against Ebola. The nationals had ill knowledge about the disease and were generally ill-equipped to tackle the spread of the disease. The global response was very slow. Complacency and traditional beliefs overtook the real fight, disregarding the Ebola preventative messages and manipulating funds for self-gain rather than collectively using the resources to eradicate the virus disease.

However, as it became an international grand challenge, the global alliance to fight the deadly virus had a breakthrough in bringing the spread of Ebola under control. The exercises in achieving this success were very costly to the people of Sierra Leone, however, it had to be done, to save the nation from a catastrophic situation. Proactive local measures also make up part of the larger resilience in the fight against Ebola.

The times are yet challenging as the majority of the citizenry are struggling with daily survival. However, as infection rates dwindle, the government ordered the reopening of all schools and colleges on 16 April 2015 with precautionary measures put in place to protect the teachers and learners.

Learners received news of schools resuming with joy. One can feel and sense their joy as they had since been carrying on without the right to education, association and play. Many parents are still skeptical about the safety of their kids while the virus is still killing people, and every parent or guardian should take the time to remind their kids about Ebola, with messages of avoiding companionship, play and contacts of any nature. Schools hold veronica buckets as a policy for every child to wash his or her hands and go through temperature test to qualify for entry into the school compound.

  learners are happy to get back to school after the ebola crisis

The reopening of schools was not spontaneous, the government in itself was not sure of parents sending their kids to school. A national campaign reassuring parents of the safety measures already put in place by the education, health and the national Ebola response centre was done. However, the first week was unpleasant and even the second week. It gained roots in the first week of May when kids turned out in their thousands to rejoin themselves in learning after a restricted safety period of almost one year.

It is worth seeing the reunification of learners, disregarding all precautionary measures and counsel from parents hugging each other and explaining stories about the devastation of their various communities by the Ebola virus disease. They play football together, smack each other and do their tricks. In the heat, they cluster despite knowledge of avoiding body contact.

However, the first lessons are on Ebola in every school across the country. How to sustain the gains already scored in the fight against Ebola. The kids are now torchbearers at home in the fight against Ebola. They pass on the messages to their parents and other family members. They also watch with keen interest defaulters of the precautionary measures at home. They are also bold enough to tell their parents to wash their hands and even have a shower after any trip to the city centre, market, workplace or whatever.

The outbreak of the Ebola virus exposed the overall inadequacies of the country. It spans from poor health care delivery, high illiteracy rate, over-reliance on tradition over modern wisdom, selfish tendencies, filthiness, poor personal hygiene, ugly environmental decay, corrupt nature to the bones at higher levels, poor educational facilities, poor transportation service, very disgraceful social services specific to children’s welfare, greed at every cadre, unsustainable practices at every cadre of society, and disregard for the rural poor. The list has no end in sight…

The consequences are vivid, suffering of the poor in every human rights perspective. Will lessons be learnt – this remains the million-dollar question.

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There are still plenty of needs, but if charities intervene, will the grants benefit the needy or will it go into private pockets and fabulous reports written with beautiful photos to convince donors whilst the actual beneficiaries continue to languish in squalor – this is a great concern. This is borne out of experience working in a poor country like Sierra Leone…living it, feeling it and seeing it. Action taken in mind of this has been positive – frantically stepping out and making noise about it for a turnaround in the situation…this is one way of several other ways employed by the reporter.

Attention should be paid to direct foreign aid; it is worthwhile to come as volunteers to accomplish your heart’s desires of helping; or seek credible local charities to accomplish such tasks in an honest and transparent manner for the good of humanity.