With members in 73 countries around the world, the Foundation for Environmental Education programmes represent the absolute cutting edge in Education for Sustainable Development and Environmental Education. Our programme educate young people to cultivate a more environmentally conscious approach in their lives and promote sustainable business practices and the protection of our valuable natural resources. It is the vision of the Foundation for Environmental Education that our programmes empower people everywhere to live sustainably and in an environmentally conscious manner.
Recognised by UNESCO as a world-leader within the fields of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development, our strength comes from our members who share our convictions and execute our programmes with great efficiency on a daily basis. Hand-picked by Foundation for Environmental Education for their dedication and outstanding ability, it is these local organisations who make the Foundation for Environmental Education the much respected, admired and trusted entity that it is today.
Eco-Schools is a fundamental initiative which encourages young people to engage in their environment by allowing them the opportunity to actively protect it.
Through this programme, young people experience a sense of achievement at being able to have a say in the environmental management policies of their schools, ultimately steering them towards certification and the prestige which comes with being awarded a Green Flag.
The Eco-Schools programme is an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path towards improving the environment in both the school and the local community while at the same time having a life-long positive impact on the lives of young people, their families, school staff and local authorities.
Eco–schools make a difference in Uganda
In Uganda, a school of 600 pupils worked on the Water Theme of the Eco-Schools programme. With grants from Denmark, they were able to buy large tanks to collect rainwater. This meant that they could improve sanitary conditions at the school, and the girls could have showers. Five or six years ago, only 25% of girls continued schooling after the age of 11 or 12. Now, that figure is up to 75%. Not only this, the school also planted a vegetable garden, using the water they had collected to maintain it.
They were able to sell some of the produce and collected more water, meaning that their mothers and grandmothers - who would otherwise go to the well or river for water, had an extra 2 hours a day to make craft work. The parents in the surrounding communities, having heard about the school collecting rain water and using drip-irrigation, mobilised themselves to create the Eco Parents Associations, and started constructing replica water tanks at household level using a self-generated revolving fund. Implementing the Eco-Schools program in this school therefore helped three generations.
As the students grow, the Eco-Schools programme grows with them. When students start Grade three in various countries, a number of them wanted to join the Eco Committee only to discover that there wasn't one! They therefore approached their chancellors or deans to ask why. Some visionary university faculty and staff agreed to run the Eco-Schools programme with the help of our National Operators, and it became known as EcoCampus. It began in Russia in 2003 with the first institution-wide Green Flags being awarded in Ireland in 2010.
How EcoCampus works:
Like Eco-Schools, EcoCampus is an international awards programme that guides third level institutions on their sustainable journey, providing a simple framework to help make sustainability an integral part of campus life. Again, like Eco-Schools, EcoCampus leads to transformative thinking and can help enhance the curriculum and encourage the whole institution to unite for an important cause.
The Seven Step framework is used, and the only real difference to Eco-Schools is that the colleges devise an Eco-Charter instead of an Eco-Code. This Charter serves as a guide to environmental management on site.
Why EcoCampus is good for students. We now know that EcoCampus:
- inspires and empowers students
- creates leaders for change in their communities
- widens learning beyond the lecture theatre
- develops responsible attitudes and commitment
- leads to increased levels of confidence and motivation
- increases participation in environmental actions
- improves skills and knowledge in all subjects
- improves mental and physical wellbeing
Why EcoCampus is good for colleges. We have learnt that the programme delivers:
- an improved environmental impact on campus
- involvement with the local community, other institutions and organisations
- financial savings
- international connections
- a method of integrating sustainability into the curriculum
- the capacity to nurture and support intrinsic values (care, empathy, creativity, compassion)
- improved wellbeing of students and staff
- lecturers and staff who are proud of their third level institution
For more information:
International Eco-Schools Director
International Green Key and Eco-Schools Assistant
Chief Executive Officer