An innovative project recycling and transforming waste into educational tools and art forms is one of many sustainable development schemes coordinated by the local sub-unit of the Yemeni National Commission for UNESCO.
The sub-unit, based in the province of Hodeidah with work extending to neighbouring areas, acts to coordinate and implement the multiple activities of projects on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). It brings together educational, civil and private sector organizations to mobilize communities towards achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improving their own environment.
Since 2012, the initiative’s successes include training 60 teachers on the UNESCO course “Education and Learning for a Sustainable Future” and training 320 youth on project management and marketing. It has also established a youth foundation and community college and organized training of trainers.
Project Manager Faisal Ali Ayed said: “The Hodeidah work is particularly important because it is the first project in Yemen that has succeeded in using ESD in a context of large population density and a high percentage of youth facing the multiple challenges of poverty and unemployment.”
Other innovations include using teachers for e-learning, setting up of electronic libraries and collecting funds for poor students to provide breakfast, school meals, school uniform and school bags. Alongside these are awareness campaigns offering information and advice around healthy balanced food, early marriage and HIV/AIDS.
Sustainable development clubs have also been established in some schools to promote community activities related to all dimensions of sustainable development (environmental, social and economic).
Mr Ayed explained why the work had been so successful. “The project has a really dedicated team and collaborating partners. For that reason, the project has achieved real transformation in practices in schools and community and at the same time has received huge media attention so the impact is spread.”
For the future, there are plans to expand the implementation of ESD projects, increase the number of the beneficiaries of educational institutions, in particular youth and women, spread the work to the neighbouring provinces of Hajjah and Rimah where six major projects will be implemented to train school principals, teacher trainers, educators, women and young people on ESD.
An important aspect of the work is enabling young people and women to enter or re-enter the labour market. So far, 920 youth and women have received life and professional skills training and help on integration into the labour market.
“The project has contributed to empowering women to participate in community development as well as changing society's vision of the role of women and enabling the acceptance of different roles for women in society,” said Mr Ayed.