Protection of forest and mangrove ecosystems – Mozambique
Six districts (52,000 inhabitants in total) of the Inhambane Province in Mozambique witnessed degradation of forest and mangrove eco-systems due to activities of industries.
Children started to organise themselves through schools and created eco-clubs to engage with each other and organise to advocate for environmental protection. They used peer-to-peer approaches to get in touch with other children living in rural and/or marginalised areas. tdh partnered with Mahlahle, a local organisation, that supported the activities.
The project’s main objective was to protect and restore forest and mangrove eco-systems and their biodiversity, by creating and maintaining effective frameworks and strategies.
Since environmental education was not initially part of the school curriculum, a manual focused on environmental education to be used during classes was created, providing information on the local environment. To create the manual, educators as well as forest and mangrove specialists were invited to provide input. Then, primary school teachers were trained on how to use the manual and on how to implement strategies and practices to promote the right of the child to a healthy environment.
Beyond the school curriculum, children used different approaches and methods to involve their peers and the wider community. They created eco-clubs, theatre groups and produced songs to sensitise the communities on environmental issues. Since talking to adults was not always easy, they used theatre to approach them as well as peer educators.
“For these communities drama has a strong impact. To speak with adults is not easy but [by] using these tools [children] can reach [intended] results.”
Regional coordinator, Southern Africa Region
The use of creative methods of engagement made children and young people more sensitive towards issues related to the environment.
Results / M&E
This school manual was considered an added value by the government. It’s still used today in schools to educate children and deal with challenges around environmental issues.
By the end of 2020, 12 municipalities in Inhambane Province established and maintained effective systems for the protection and restoration of forest and mangrove eco-systems and their biodiversity.
Beyond education, the project successfully led to the submission of a petition to the government to finance environmental and resource conservation activities in local communities, using funding from penalties for illegal logging. Moreover, the project contributed to the strengthening of women, as they were able to empower themselves through the establishment of savings groups and improved cook-stoves production.