Due to the many staff changes in the last six months, the Environmental Education programme at A Rocha Kenya had stagnated for some time. We are glad it has been possible to revive it with a new program of school visits! The 7th of June marked our first visit to a primary school near the Arabuko Sokoke forest. The journey took us almost one and a half hours to Girimache Primary School where we found the students preparing to get in to the hall where we were meeting. On board was Nathaniel, one of the volunteers from France, Naomi, a student attached in the Environmental Education programme from Kenyatta University, and Stanley the Environmental Education officer at A Rocha Kenya.
The students were eager to hear what we had to teach them and surprisingly they loved it. They enjoyed answering questions and asked for clarification where they did not understand. It was really satisfying to see how the pupils were passionate about the environment. The students seemed to have had some environmental education as a component of their schooling already. We had a discussion on how each one of us contributes to the degradation of the environment, including the Arabuko Sokoke forest that neighbours the school. The days’ success was marked by the promise that the students will do their best in taking care of the environment, and they will be involved in educating other students and their parents on the importance of conserving the environment.
The first nine schools that will be visited for Environmental Education, including Girimache, are schools with ASSETS students enrolled. For students from this area, understanding why conservation of the environment is important is crucial to the preservation of the unique ecosystems of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, and only by educating the young will there be a change in the way the forest is used be achieved in the future.
Naomi Wanjiru Gichungu- Environmental Education intern