Building capacity for schoolchildren Ph1 , Sri Lanka © Visura Devt Fdn , 2010
This project had three main objectives:
The RUK area is associated with rich mangroves, but increasingly these are being damaged by the activities of both visitors and residents. Since mangroves are an important part of the coastal ecosystem, it is vital to raise awareness among communities of their ecological roles and values. Recognizing that no one absorbs information or carries a message better than schoolchildren, this project sought to enhance awareness of mangrove conservation and its importance among children in the town of Ambalantota.
Schoolchildren from Ambalantota Maha Vidyalaya school in the RUK area.
After conducting various awareness programmes and establishing a school environmental management unit, the target schoolchildren are now much more aware of the importance of mangroves.
One disadvantage was that the project was a short one and coincided with the end-of-year school exams, so students could not give it their full attention. Further, the school selected for the project was in an underdeveloped area and suffered from a high level of student absenteeism.
The students participated in art and essay competitions, and had an exhibition for the project completion meeting. The project targeted all schoolchildren irrespective of whether they were boys or girls.
Awareness can be raised in younger generations by stimulating schoolchildren’s interest and passion for the environment through art, essay and public speaking competitions, and by encouraging them to discuss the importance of mangroves with their families and communities. The project successfully changed children’s perceptions through awareness programmes highlighting the importance of conserving their local environment.
Awareness programmes need to be scheduled carefully to avoid conflicts with important dates in the school calendar, for example avoiding exams.
Rekawa, Ussangoda and Kalametiya (RUK) area, Sri Lanka
1st Jan 2009 to 30th Jun 2009
Visura Development Foundation
Weeraba Pirivena, Nupe,
Matara, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 41 2230671