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6 April 2010 | Printer friendly

Green schools

Country: Tajikistan

Project: Green schools

Organisation: Youth of the 21st Century

Representative: Umidjon Ulugov


Winner of the Schools category of the 2nd CEHAPE awards for environment and health

Student environmental management comes to the classroom

Conditions in schools in Tajikistan are not always as good as they should be. Classrooms are often untidy and cold in winter. But the Youth of the 21st Century organisation in 18 schools in Dushanbe has changed all that in a project that is fully self-sustaining. Little wonder it has won the political support of Tajik‘s education and environment ministries.

Activities are organised with the support of Green Patrol, a youth movement with 16,000 members operating in 70 schools. The project began by introducing an interactive, computer-based manual. The main themes in this "textbook" are the environment, healthy living, leadership and voluntary activity. In a collaborative process, it was decided that schools in the project would be rated allowing them to compete against each other.

The students work individually on the contents and activities outlined in the book. They then organise activities, such as clean-ups of classrooms and outdoor spaces, low-cost school heating, free distribution of boiled water, and the creation of posters to inform and decorate the classroom walls.

The project has achieved a substantial reduction in diarrhoeal disease and although other health benefits have not been formally measured, parents have thanked the project team for what they perceive as a reduction in cases of flu.

The students are proud of their achievements and of becoming managers of their own environment. By selling plastic and waste paper to local recycling companies, many schools have created a fund to cover their costs. On average, each school has earned the equivalent of US$1,200.

During 2010, another 100 schools are expected to join the project. In addition, the interactive textbook will be featured in a Ministry of Education report on informal education.

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