GSS Africa Exchange workshop
During the last week of October, the South Africa Water Explorer team, Bridget Ringdahl and Julia Colvin held their first workshop with delegates from fellow African countries; Namibia and Uganda, where an exchange of ideas and practical tips for the implementation of environmental education programs for schools was the agenda.
A number of renowned environmental education experts including Dr Jim Taylor, Professor Rob O’Donoghue and Mike Ward were invited to facilitate some of the sessions.
Rob O’Donoghue, a professor from Environmental Learning and Research Centre (ELRC) at Rhodes University, has found acclaim for his work in critical realism, focusing on the importance of indigenous knowledge systems as an approach to transformative social learning. Using real stories that relate to the learner’s own experiences, he argued that children can be empowered to meaningfully engage rather fear environmental concerns. He further presented various indigenous cultivation strategies like wild food farming, as well as low tech alternatives for rainwater harvesting and composting that could be taught at school level.
The team also met with One Planet Sustainable Lifestyles and Education programme (SLE) Advisory committee member Mike Ward, who shared a very valuable session on the efforts of One Planet and how our GSS work fitted into it.
The workshop was also practical, we shared some of our environmental education (EE) tools such as the Climate Change “Picture Building Game” with colleagues to open up dialogues and discussions around the science, causes, impacts and solutions. Delegates were also challenged to build a water filter to clean dirty water – this was a lot harder than expected, helping learners to appreciate how difficult and how much energy it takes to clean water. Therefore whether water scarce or not we should simply never waste water!