Eco-Schools Micro Projects are small thematic based child-centered demonstration projects established at school level to facilitate practical learning in order to enhance Action Based Learning. People Centered Planning
These projects provide a basis for improving the schools’ income that will enhance maintenance and re-investment in other projects that can generate more income. They also enhance pupils learning on management of natural resources sustainably.
Eco-Schools establish micro projects based on sustainability and quality of education needs identified through the environmental review; that is Step 2 of the Eco-Schools 7-steps with the involvement of the learners’ right from the start of the process focusing on any of the thematic areas. Through this audit issues affecting children and the school-community are identified and its these issues which translate into thematic micro projects mainly targeting to address specific challenges that affect them.
Micro projects lie within different thematic areas and all these thematic areas are part of the existing primary school curriculum and this makes it easy for teachers to integrate and slot in different topics related to the respective micro projects in the teaching and learning process so as to make learning relevant and meaningful to learners.
For sustainability purposes, all Eco-School Micro Projects are established at a principle of Co-Funding. Schools MUST be able to contribute 30% on each of the project to be established while the funding organization contributes 70%. This ensures corrective responsibility in the establishment, management, sustaining and even re-investing. Schools 30% contribution can either be in cash or in-kind depending on the capacity of the school.
There are aspects one should look for before establishing any micro project for schools and these are;
Demonstration:- All Projects should have an element of being used by teachers and learners in their day to day teaching and learning to enhance practical teaching. Communities surrounding these project schools also learn different techniques demonstrated at school.
Environmental Sustainability:- All Eco-School Micro Projects established should respond to the following questions, including; Can the project solve an environmental problem?, Will the project help in reducing harmful effects to the environment?, Can it help to contribute to economically to a local environmental cause?, Can the project help in modifying the micro climate around the school?
Replicability:- All projects should be easily transferable to communities in different technologies such that what is at school ends up in communities around the project schools. Through replication there is enhancement of Education for Sustainable Development strategy as a way of promoting socio-economic transformation that involves behavioral change and increase on the economic base of individual households and environmental sustainability at all levels.
Economic Viability:- All projects have an element of improving the welfare of the schools and communities either directly or indirectly. It can be in form of generating income, food or any other form. There has been re-investment plans developed to ensure the continuity of the micro projects at school level.
Activities in this component are targeting the establishment of demo schools, formation of Eco-Schools Committees, Orientation and training of FPPs and ESC members, Vetting and reviewing of schools’ concept papers, Establishment and management of micro projects, monitoring, backstopping and sustainability of established projects as well as compilation of micro projects best practices for dissemination to stakeholders. Under each theme, a number of activities are done;
Water & Sanitation Theme: Under this theme, construction of different Rain water harvesting technologies are promoted in project schools including; construction of above ground ferro cement tanks. These help in curbing down clean water scarcity challenge in most of the schools. It has also reduced on soil erosion within the school compounds caused by runoff from roofs. This technology has increased the availability of clean water in schools and reduction in water related illnesses caused by inadequacy of clean water and using of dirty water by school children. Sanitation & hygiene facilities have also been established in schools for example; Eco-San latrines have been constructed for enhancement of proper feacal disposal which reduces on illnesses related to the 5Fs. Also other facilities like Tippy Taps have been promoted in all project schools to enhance personal health and hygiene at individual, school and household level.
Sustainable Agriculture Theme: Under this theme, Sustainable Banana Management projects are established in project schools to act as demonstrations to the schools and communities around to facilitate learners practical exposure, they are also established to improve the welfare of schools in terms of food provision, enhancing school saving culture through income generation from bananas. The project demonstrates different soil and water conservation techniques that lead to agricultural sustainability. Vegetable growing has been another micro project implemented under sustainable agriculture theme. This demonstrates better techniques that include; sack farming, suspended gardens, backyard farming and mount farming. Coffee growing, Fruit growing, and Pineapple Growing have also been other micro projects demonstrated within sustainable agriculture theme. This theme has been very influential in changing livelihoods of school-communities because it has improved welfare of schools and households in terms of food production, income generation as well as environmental sustainability.
Forestry Theme: This is yet another important thematic area that the programme has concentrated on, in project schools and the surrounding communities. Woodlot establishment in form of pure stands are the main focus of the implementation under this theme. A number of species mainly the indigenous tree species has been promoted in projects schools. Unlike other themes where projects are selected according to schools’ priorities generated during the environmental audit/review, woodlots have been a mandatory project for all project schools considering the rate at which trees are being cut in the project area. These woodlots help in improving the micro climate within project schools, help in soil and water conservation, act as learning aids, help in provision of fuel wood, construction poles for schools as well as income generation through sale of wood. Under this theme, other silvicultural technologies has been promoted in schools including; Planting trees on crop land technically known as agro-forestry mainly focusing on species that are rich in nitrogen fixing like Calliandra, Leucina, Grevillea, among others.
Energy Theme: Under energy, a number of projects are implemented mainly; Energy saving stoves including; Portable and Permanent Shielded Stoves. These demonstrate better fuel wood consumption rates to be able to reduce on tree cutting in schools and surrounding communities. Other projects include; Bio-Gas energy, Bio-Latrine, Briquette making, Solar energy. Most of these aim at demonstrating the use of locally available energy sources within our school communities.
Biodiversity Conservation Theme: Here, Compound Improvement projects are implemented in all schools. The project aim at improving the teaching and learning environment to allow children access quality education. This has been through, grading, planting of grass to reduce on soil erosion in school compounds, planting of ornamental trees species and flowers for beautification of school compounds and erecting Eco-codes; messages that target behavioral change among learners and the general public. The planting of medicinal trees and herbs of rare species which are getting extinct form part of the biodiversity theme where the use of indigenous technical knowledge on the use of these herbs has played a big role on the intergeneration transfer of knowledge.
Waste Management Theme: Organic farming, Tree nursery establishment, Handicraft (Bags, mats, beads), Sack farming, are mainly the projects implemented under waste management theme.
There has also been development, and distribution of Thematic Micro Projects Manuals to schools and community groups. These manuals provide basic and comprehensive technical guidelines on the establishment, management, maintenance, and harvesting of different project products implemented under each theme. These manuals are available in both soft and hard copies.