By Funmi Ogundare
Oando Foundation (OF) recently initiated a project tagged ‘Clean Our World’ (COW), designed to promote environmental education and responsibility by creating awareness and empowering pupils and teachers in seven public primary schools in Lagos and their host communities with the knowledge of plastic recycling and waste management, while also encouraging the adoption of eco-conscious lifestyles.
The project, supported by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese chemical company, will also ensure a sustainable action for pupils in target schools and host communities.
The beneficiary schools and communities include: Dele Ajomale Schools Complex (I–IV), Ilasamaja, Metropolitan Primary School, Orile-Iganmu, Olisa Primary School and Methodist Primary School, Mushin.
It is estimated that Nigeria generates over 32 million tons of solid waste annually of which less than 30 per cent is plastic. There is increased flooding across cities during the rainy season due to clogged drainage systems, directly attributable to poor waste disposal techniques. Education is an essential element of the global response to environmental sustainability which helps young people understand and address environmental issues, encourages changes in their attitudes and behaviour, and helps them adapt to climate change-related trends. 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.
According to the Head of the foundation, Adekanla Adegoke, “the foundation’s partnership with Sumitomo Chemical over the years has been directed towards improved digital literacy in public primary schools through the establishment of six solar-powered digital learning centres across Nigeria.”
She said the COW project marks a positive expansion of its work together and commitment to designing and implementing multi-dimensional education interventions. “We believe learning transcends the classroom, encouraging environmental education through the COW project will help pupils understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment, build knowledge and skills necessary to address complex environmental issues, explore different actions to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future.
“Not only does COW offer opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom enabling pupils to make connections and apply their learning in the real world, it also encourages the development of critical and creative thinking skills necessary for enhancing overall learner outcomes. We are working closely with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and relevant education agencies to implement the project across seven schools and three communities in Lagos State.”
The General Manager, General Affairs Department, Sumitomo Chemical, Tomoyuki Hirayama, said its education support programme for Africa started with the development of Olyset net, a long lasting insecticidal net that helps prevent the spread of malaria.
“We believe that improving the educational environment is also crucial for Africa to achieve self-sustaining economic development, and thus have been engaged with various partners in supporting schools since 2005. During the period up to April 30, 2020, 29 projects have been completed in 12 countries, benefiting over 29,000 people.”
He expressed excitement that the organisation’s partnership with Oando Foundation has brought the new initiative of plastic recycling and waste management, as its contribution to developing a circular system for plastics which is one of its high-priority and material management issues.