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By Oladapo Soneye
Oando Foundation (OF), an independent charity, has initiated a project to promote environmental education and sustainable action for pupils in target schools and host communities in Lagos State with support from Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese Chemical Company.
Sumitomo Chemical, Japan is the co-funding partner, while the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is the implementing technical partner on the project.
The project, tagged ‘Clean Our World’ (COW), aims to promote environmental education and responsibility by creating awareness and empowering children and teachers in 7 public primary schools and their host communities with the knowledge of plastic recycling and waste management, whilst encouraging the adoption of eco-conscious lifestyles. Benefitting schools and communities include: Dele Ajomale Schools Complex (I–IV) Ilasamaja, Metropolitan Primary School, Orile-Iganmu, Olisa Primary School and Methodist Primary School, Mushin.
It is estimated that Nigeria generates over 32 million tons of solid waste annually of which > 30% is plastic. There is increased flooding across cities during the rainy season due to clogged drainage systems, directly attributable to poor waste disposal techniques. Education is an essential element of the global response to environmental sustainability. It helps young people understand and address environmental issues, encourages changes in their attitudes and behaviour, and helps them adapt to climate change-related trends. When environmental education is integrated into the curriculum, pupils are more enthusiastic and engaged in learning, which improves learner achievement in core academic areas. Creating awareness on recycling, environmental responsibility and sustainability will help explain, inform, motivate, persuade, and encourage beneficiaries in target schools
and communities to embrace behavioral changes necessary for long-term impact.
In Lagos State, under its signature programme, Adopt-A-School Initiative (AASI), Oando Foundation has adopted 8 public primary schools, constructed and renovated 36 units of classrooms, provided furniture, sanitation facilities, established 3 solar-powered digital learning centres, trained 100+ teachers in core subject knowledge and modern pedagogical skills, strengthened capacity of Quality Assurance Officers in Education Management Information Systems, provided scholarships to 155 students to support their secondary education and distributed over 3,000 learning and instructional materials to teachers and pupils in these adopted schools.
According to Mrs. Adekanla Adegoke, Head, Oando Foundation, “The Foundation’s partnership with Sumitomo Chemical over the years has been directed towards improved digital literacy in public primary schools through the establishment of 6 solar-powered digital learning centres across Nigeria. The COW project marks a positive expansion of our work together and our commitment to designing and implementing multi-dimensional education interventions. We believe learning transcends the classroom, encouraging environmental education through the COW project will help pupils understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment, build knowledge and skills necessary to address complex environmental issues, explore different actions to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future. Not only does COW offer opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom enabling pupils to make connections and apply their learning in the real world, it also encourages the development of critical and creative thinking skills necessary for enhancing overall learner outcomes. We are working closely with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and relevant education agencies to implement the project across 7 schools and 3 communities in Lagos State.”
Mr. Tomoyuki Hirayama, General Manager of General Affairs Department, Sumitomo Chemical added “Sumitomo Chemical’s education support programme for Africa started with the development of Olyset® net, a long lasting insecticidal net that helps prevent the spread of malaria. We believe that improving the educational environment is also crucial for Africa to achieve self-sustaining economic development, and thus have been engaged with various partners in supporting schools since 2005. During the period up to April 30, 2020, 29 projects have been completed in 12 countries, benefiting over 29,000 people. We are excited that our partnership with Oando Foundation has brought this new initiative of plastic recycling and waste management, as we define contribution to developing a circular system for plastics as one of our high-priority and material management issue.”
Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF stated that “We cannot continue to be reckless in the way we handle our waste. The menace of improper waste management is huge on the environment with consequences on human health. This partnership is seeking to address this menace using best practices.”
Oando Foundation is committed to designing and implementing multi-dimensional education interventions that support our schools, communities, and the Nigerian government in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.