Pan African Conservation Education project at St John the Baptist Ggaba Teacher Training College in Kampala
his exciting sustainability project, which we hope will impact many thousands of lives over the coming years, was completed in 2011.
St John the Baptist Ggaba Teacher Training College in Kampala, Uganda, hosts students from all over East and Central Africa studying for a primary teaching qualification. During its 70 year history, the College has provided primary school class rooms across the region with more teachers than any other such institution in sub-saharan Africa.
Working with the College Environment Club and in conjunction with a VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) teacher, Janice Mercer, who was based at the college, the PACE project, managed by UCF on behalf of Tusk Trust and Siren Conservation Education,developed a training and demonstration project at the college. The PACE project aims to address the lack of access to education and practical information on techniques for sustainable development in Uganda and to contribute to community-based development of sustainable solutions to environmental problems such as the lack of clean drinking water and effective sanitation, malnutrition due to soil erosion and crop failure, respiratory diseases caused by indoor smoke pollution and conflicts with wild animals over land-use. Sanitation is a particular problem in Ugandan schools, where insufficient access to clean toilet facilities contributes to school dropout and low literacy rates, especially among girls.
Creating a ripple effect across East Africa
The long-term goal of the project is to enable new teachers to develop practical skills for sustainable development, creating a ripple effect of influence on the children and communities they encounter during their teaching careers to: safe water provision, improved energy conservation (thus reducing deforestation), increase in safe waste disposal coverage, and more provision of fruits and vegetables to communities from permaculture plots.
The College decided to prioritise installation of the water tanks for rainwater harvesting to maximize the amount of water it can collect during this year's rainy season.
The College community noted how rain water harvesting plays a vital role in minimising roof run-off contributing to soil erosion. This has been a particular problem at Ggaba PTC; water run-off has badly damaged the footpaths between the buildings, making them dangerous. The so called 'grey water' will be a major source of water for the vegetable plots already planted out around the College compound and it is projected that with the onset of the mid-year rains the College's water bill will be reduced by as much as 57%.
In 2010 a College representative attended a week-long conference on Permaculture food production and has been sharing his newly-acquired knowledge with the College community. As a result compost production, fruit tree production and vegetable growing was introduced. The permaculture plots have made the college more financially independent while reducing the environmental impact and being a model of good practice. A poultry project is now self sustaining with manure going to the vegetable plots ti improve yields and profits from sales of chickens has contributed towards a fund for students to visit a National Park.
The construction of eco-friendly composting toilets has been completed and these are a much more hygenic alternative to the pit latrines previouly on campus, helping to reduce student sickness and time off college.
The college kitchen stoves have been converted to a fuel efficient design reducing smoke pollution and saving costs on the wood fuel.
Download a copy of the Pace Uganda Manual by clicking here.
Positive role models in sustainability
The PACE project will enable new primary teachers to teach environmental awareness and practical skills for sustainable development as follows:
- The traditional method of teaching in Uganda is 'chalk and talk'. However, participatory teaching methods are often more effective in transferring practical skills and knowledge, especially for less academically able students. The practical projects on the college grounds form a training ground for different kinds of learning.
- A field trip for trainee teachers to Queen Elizabeth National Park is aimed at increasing awareness of Uganda's natural heritage and the threats it faces. A delighted 35 students spent three days in the Park last month, a rare opportunity for the average Ugandan.
- Lack of access to books and films means that many trainee teachers have no experience of using educational resources in the classroom. The newly purchased DVD player and screen are being used to show PACE materials, for Special Needs education and to increase HIV/AIDS Awareness, a vital issue in Uganda.Teachers at Ggaba are now getting first hand experience in the use of electronic educational resources in the teaching environment.
- In the words of Mr D.K. Mayanja of the Ggaba project communication desk
"Ggaba sees her role as one of showcasing these affordable and environmentally-friendly technologies. Furthermore our student teachers shall be trainers of trainers whenever they will be moving in the grand project of turning our world into a sustainable green environment."
The Ugandan Education Ministry have been impressed by the project and have expressed the wish to incorporate it into the national curriculum.
UCF's role on the project
UCF was responsible for facilitation, local project management and donor communications and helped to ensure project implementation on a day to day basis.
UCF seeks to support the administration of other organisations' projects to improve their accountability, marketing and reporting thus enabling them to focus on successfully completing their work and to bring together individual stakeholders (communities, institutions and organisations) towards common objectives enabling them to apply for larger grants.
For more information on the PACE project visit www.paceproject.net