A climate change education and sensitisation campaign aimed at raising awareness about the phenomena and what it means for Guyana was today launched at the St. Ambrose Primary School.
The 2018 outreach programme, which targets the students of 51 primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in 11 districts countrywide, is organised by the Office of Climate Change (OCC), which falls under the purview of the Ministry of the Presidency, in collaboration with Guyana Youth and Environment Network (GYEN).
Ms. Yasmin Bowman, Communications Specialist at the OCC, in an invited comment, explained that part of ensuring climate change resilience is ensuring that there is an educated populace. “We [the OCC] believe that our young ones should be enlightened and informed about climate change because from our experience last year, we’ve noticed that a number of our children are not informed at all about climate change… We’re targeting both primary and secondary and also tertiary institutions throughout the year. We have post-secondary schools as well. We want students and young people to know how Guyana is being affected and ways in which they can adapt to change in climate,” she said. Ms. Bowman also noted that the sessions are designed to ensure that the delivery is tailored to match each school through a unique interactive approach, which is appropriate for the students’ level of understanding.
During the course of the session at St. Ambrose today, a short film; ‘Siege on my land, Guyana's Battle with Climate Change’ shown. The video details the effects and causes of climate change, providing definitions for vital terms and showcases solutions for adapting to climate change, among other related areas. Subsequently, the team conducted an interactive session where the students were quizzed on what they learnt from the video and given prizes.
GYEN’s Executive Member and one of the programme’s facilitators, Ms. Saliqa Zaman, said that the organisation focuses on promoting education, training and involvement in all matters pertaining to the environment and sustainable development among young people. The organisation, apart from its collaboration with the OCC, is also partnering with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to execute activities for World Earth Hour. “For four years now, our members have been working with WWF in planning Earth Hour. This year we have a number of activities on Saturday 24. We have the main activity, which is the lights out concert beginning at 06:30[18:30 hours] at the National Park. We also have lights out concert on the same day at Linden and Bartica beginning at 08:00 [20:00 hours],” she explained.
Meanwhile, St. Ambrose’s Grade Six teacher, Ms. Sharon McAlister, who represented the Head Teacher of the school at the launch, described the session as informative and urged the OCC team to conduct more sessions during the course of the year. “I think that this programme is very informative for the students and as I mentioned to the team, I wish that they would come a bit more often because the session was very interactive and the children were able to grasp and understand the whole concept of climate change,” she said.
The OCC, last year, executed a similar in school programme where they held ‘green’ agenda sessions in schools located in Regions 4, 5, 6 and 10. These sessions focused on effects of rising sea levels, the importance of water management and the impact of climate change on the Guyana and the Caribbean region.