ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
JGI focuses its main education programs around Kibale, Budongo, Bugoma and the Kalinzu/Kasyoha- Kitomi forests areas, where awareness of chimpanzees and the environment can best help protect viable chimpanzee populations.
Within these areas, JGI Uganda has established an effective Environmental Education (EE) programme at the primary school level. The various elements of this programme focus on teaching pupils and teachers basic ecology and encourages them to use the knowledge they have gained to take action to help the environment. The aim is to achieve an increase in knowledge, a positive change in attitude and an increase in responsible behavior.
THE PRIMARY SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
Since 2003, JGI-Uganda has developed a holistic EE program for primary schools in Uganda. The goal of the program is to ensure that every child leaves primary school with a good basic understanding of the environment, so that they are able to make informed decisions concerning the environment.
The four main components of the program are indicated below.
Within Uganda there is very limited availability of EE teaching materials, especially those that are directly relevant to a Ugandan setting. Given the poor environmental knowledge base of the teachers, it is important to ensure that relevant materials are made available to them in order to increase the amount of EE taught in the schools. The Uganda Primary School Curriculum (UPSC) covers some content in the integrated science and agriculture curriculum but often teachers do not have the time or the skills to draw out the EE component and teach it effectively.
Based on this information, JGI in Uganda decided to develop a set of Environmental Education Teachers Guides, which integrate EE into the current UPSC. The aim of these guides is help teachers to teach the elements of EE that are already contained within the National Curriculum and to further integrate EE into the various subjects within the curriculum.
Primary 5 Teacher’s guide
Between 2004 and 2005 JGI developed the first of a series of Environmental Education Teacher’s Guides, for Primary 5 classes. This guide contains four units: Soil, Air, Water and Forests. Each lesson gives a complete lesson plan and some background information for the teachers. It is written in such a way that there is no need for a training workshop to introduce the Guide. At the end of each unit there is a Roots & Shoots activity (see current programs) which takes the pupils from knowledge to action through a service learning project. The Guide is accompanied by a set of four posters, one for each unit. The posters are used as part of the lessons in the Guide and are also a useful learning aid that can be used to teach other topics.
Primary 6/7 teacher’s Guide
This Guide for Primary 6/7 classes was compiled between 2006 and 2007. This guide was developed along the same lines as the Primary 5 Guide. It contains five units: Africa, East Africa and the Environment, The World of Animals, The World of Plants, Natural Resources, Human Health and Sanitation. Each of these units is accompanied by a poster. This Guide also has a section called “Getting Active”, which contains practical activities that pupils can do outside of classroom to protect the environment.
Primary 1&2 Teacher’s Resource Book
The Primary 1&2 Teacher’s Resource Book is the latest production of the teachers’ support materials. Unlike primary5, 6/7 teachers guides which were made based on the subject based curriculum, the Primary 1&2 Teacher’s Resource Book is based on the new thematic curriculum. It has several lessons developed from the themes and topics available in the curriculum. It is therefore a good resource book for teachers to use in teaching about the environment.
All the teachers’ guides and resource books are accompanied by posters that are used as part of the lessons during teaching and are also a useful learning aid that can be used to teach other topics.
Besides teachers’ guides and posters, JGI Uganda also produces other education materials for school children and teachers to stimulate their interest in the environment as well as improving the literacy skills of children. In addition, JGI also promotes the distribution and use of other Environmental Books produced by other authors. These materials include;
In 2011, JGI also produced a small book entitled “An ABC to the Primates of Uganda” this again was focusing on lower primary school. It is intended to teach the alphabet while at the same time providing useful information on wildlife especially primates. It also helps in improving reading skills of both lower and upper primary school children.
The Tribes and Totems of Uganda Book
This Book was produced by the Jane Goodall Institute-Uganda in 2008.Included in this book are the stories and artwork selected from 500 submissions from 40 Ugandan Primary Schools and Roots and Shoots Club members. The stories are fascinating, shocking and a wonderful way to learn about other clans and the totems and taboos that are important to them. This book cultivates culture and conservation as well as enhancing knowledge and reading skills of children.
These are not produced by JGI in Uganda but their production was facilitated by JGI-UK. The stories in Okomi books are based upon real events and natural chimpanzee behavior in the wild as observed by Dr. Jane Goodall. Dr. Goodall discovered that chimpanzee babies and their mothers play little games, such as tickling each other, that bonded them closely together. The Okomi books are based on these observations, telling simple stories covering issues of fear, playfulness, laughter, surprise, and new experiences. School children and teachers find these stories engaging, comforting, and even instructive, while encouraging an interest in animals and nature thus making learning more interesting.
“What a Country” Book
Under one of the projects undertaken by JGI, an environmental story book written by the late Ndyakira Amooti, a Ugandan environmental journalist was distributed to schools. The book titled “What a Country” has five different stories on what a country without animals, birds, grasslands, trees and wetlands. Being written by a Ugandan author, these books are full of examples that teachers and pupils can understand and relate to during the teaching and learning process. Each book is written as a story and very simply and clearly imparts the reader/listener with basic ecological knowledge, an understanding of the importance of the environment and the role humans play in damaging it. Although published in Uganda there are very few schools that can afford to purchase these books. By distributing these books therefore, we were providing a good tool to bring different environmental issues to the attention of pupils and teachers.
Chimaka the Chimpanzee
These are story books written by Jan Latta and dedicated to Dr Jane Goodall who inspired her to travel to the island of Ngamba in Uganda where the orphaned chimps are rehabilitated. A true-to-life story about chimpanzees, Chimaka the Chimpanzee books enhance children’s knowledge about Chimpanzees while improving their reading skills. The chimpanzees talk to children about their life in the wild – what they eat, where they live and how they survive. There are facts, maps and important information at the back of the book.