By Edu Abade
In furtherance of Oando Foundation’s commitment to promoting environmental education and sustainable action for pupils in target schools and their host communities in Lagos State, the Foundation extended the scope of the third phase of the ‘Clean Our World’ (COW) Project in partnership with the Japanese Chemical Company, Sumitomo Chemical.
It is estimated that Nigeria generates over 32 million tons of solid waste annually, of which more than 30% is plastic. Education is an essential element of the global response to environmental sustainability with direct benefits in behavioural change, as well as improvement in learner achievements.
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.
Launched in October 2020, the COW project aims to improve environmental education and recyclable waste management in target schools and their host communities across Lagos State with the knowledge of plastic recycling and waste management, whilst encouraging the adoption of eco-conscious lifestyles.
Following the successes recorded in phases one and two of the COW project, the third phase is being implemented by GreenHubAfrica Foundation in the following schools and communities: Dele Ajomale Schools Complex (I–IV) Ilasamaja, Metropolitan Primary School, Orile-Iganmu, Olisa School Complex (I–II), Mushin, Ireti Schools Complex (I–III), Badia, Akinbaiye Schools Complex (I-III), Isolo, Ishaga Schools Complex (I– II) Mushin, Itire Schools Complex (I–II) Mushin, Irepodun Primary School II, Orile-Iganmu and Irakari Primary School II, Orile-Iganmu.
Working in collaboration with key stakeholders in the state and local communities, the project prioritises Climate Action content development for standardisation and effective delivery of environmental education in public primary schools; Capacity strengthening for teachers and master trainers to aid knowledge transfer at scale; and in-school eco-conscious activities such as gardening, upcycling, environmental club activities, deployed in target schools to encourage environmental responsibility and positive action.
Others are community clean-up and sensitisation exercises in target communities; Maintenance of plastic waste collection protocol to encourage community-wide plastic recycling; Inter-school competitions to engender innovation and creativity among pupils based on knowledge acquired; and Thought leadership through advocacy to raise awareness, exchange resources, and spark greater public interest in environmental issues.
To date, over 26,000 beneficiaries in 24 public primary schools and 10 communities have been directly reached with the knowledge of climate change, sustainable environmental practices and proper waste management approaches and upcycling under the COW project.
Cleanup and sensitisation campaigns have been implemented in five communities; 258 teachers and education managers have been trained, 10,094kg of plastic waste recycled, and several in-school activities delivered to strengthen project objectives.
Head of Oando Foundation, Adekanla Adegoke, said: “Implementing the third phase of the Clean Our World project with support from our partner, Sumitomo Chemical and other stakeholders has been remarkable.
“We are consolidating on the gains of earlier project phases, introducing tailored climate action lessons alongside other sustainability-focused environmental activities. Our aim is to equip these children with requisite knowledge and skills to contribute meaningfully towards a cleaner world.”
Oando Foundation continues to witness significant improvement in overall awareness and adoption of sustainable waste management and eco-conscious practices, with evident benefits at school and community levels.
For sustainability of the project’s gains, Oando Foundation is working with the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board and GreenHub Africa Foundation (GHAF) to develop a Climate Action Environmental Education Syllabus and Lesson Plans to aid state-wide deployment of environmental education lessons using edutainment.
Also, Head Teacher of Ajibola Ayedere Primary School, Okunade Deborah, said: “Before now, most of these pupils are usually idle when they are at home. The upcycling skills, which they have learned during this project has empowered their minds. Now, they have relevant activities to keep them busy.
“We thank Oando Foundation and GreenHubAfrica Foundation for focusing on these children and fortifying them with hands-on activities. They are now becoming innovative with things that they would have thrown away in the past.”
On her part, Mrs. Ajibola of Dele Ajomale Primary School in Oshodi-Isolo Council, who also spoke on the impact of the project, said: “The kids now appreciate the value that they can get from recycling. They have taken it as a culture to bring plastic bottles to the school and ensure that they are properly collated for collection.”
Proceeds from the plastic buyback are used to support beneficiary schools, improving teaching, and learning delivery, whilst contributing to Co2 reduction from reckless disposal of plastic wastes. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Sumitomo Chemical is one of Japan’s leading chemical companies, offering a diverse range of products globally in the fields of petrochemicals, energy and functional materials, IT-related chemicals, health and crop science products and pharmaceuticals.
Oando Foundation is committed to designing and implementing multi-dimensional education interventions that support our schools, communities, and the Nigerian government in realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).