Post written by Eyal Bloch
This story is one out of dozens that happened as a result of intensive training of educators in ESD.
Samuel, a kind man, is a schoolmaster at Nakuru. In 2013 he came to the intensive training course on ESD at MASHAV’s Ofri Center in Israel. Samuel, a born farmer, realized that what sustains him at home can also be relevant for the two thousand children in his school and help their families. Within a year he established a vegetable garden of about 4 acres, a nursery of trees with hundreds of plants, a fish pond, a small barn, a weather station, demonstration garden with a variety of plants, and the icing on the cake – a rabbit nursery.
Why is this rabbit nursery the icing on the cake in terms of Education for Sustainable Development?
Samuel and Maureen built the rabbit nursery from scraps of wood, teaching the children to take care of and look after the rabbits. What happens when they reproduce? Every time there are too many rabbits a trained child gets the offspring. Each child receives a pair of rabbits or a pregnant one. In only half a year about fifty children received rabbits to start their own nurseries it at home. They have the knowledge to act as leaders, and the resources to improve their lives, but what is more important is that they know it is in their hands. They have the abilities to shape their future.
This story illustrates how educators who work in what some see as impossible conditions can create a real change. The approach that guides us is not to give fish and rods, but challenging our communities to create the rods themselves.
In another part of Kenya named Garissa, We find a good definition of ESD: "ESD is the process by which communities collectively attain self driven education for all which is manageable, affordable and has continuity".
We are working in this spirit since 2009. We have trained hundreds of headmasters, declared 8 schools as ESD pioneer centers and asked ourselves what next, how can we inspire and encourage communities to start the ESD path?
We understood we need some framework to guide us, so we laid out a seven level transformation ladder. Each level will take at least one year of self-driven communities that rethink the role of:
Teacher as leaders,
Student as innovators,
Schools as centers for ESD
Citizens as Prosumers (producer + consumer).
The ESD program is conceived as a joint-directive between Kenya’s Ministry of Education and MASHAV’s Ofri Center, KEPSHA (Kenyan Primary School Head Teachers Association, approximately 30,000 schools). The program was developed in collaboration with The Institute for Education for Sustainable Development at the David Yellin Academic College of Education.
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