Welcome to EEASA
The Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa is a voluntary membership based multi-sectoral and multi-organisational association of educators, researchers, policy makers, students and practitioners. The day to day running of the Association is run by a voluntary elected Council, and administered by a secretariat. It is open to all who engage with the relationship between the environment and social processes including politics, economy and development.
The Association has been an integral part of the sub-regional evolvement from nature studies, to environmental education, education for sustainable development and its various manifestations, e.g. green economy. EEASA drew on the pioneering role in the practice of environmental education played by other NGOs including the Kalahari Conservation Society in Botswana, the Wilderness Leadership School, the Wildlife Society of South Africa, and the Mlilwane Trust in Swaziland.
2017 EEASA Conference was such a resounding success. The week of 18 – 22 October 2017 marked the 35th EEASA Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting in Maun, Botswana. The sub- region was well represented with presentations from East and Southern African local and national programmes. The strength of diversity was well captured in the programme.
An example of that strength in diversity was illustrated in a presentation where a primary school teacher was presenting on how they use local indigenous agricultural knowledge to support their school garden in a water scarce area riddled with ant hills. In the presentation were curriculum specialists who assisted with drawing the activities to enhance the curriculum; there were agriculture specialists who offered to help with demystifying the science involved; there were even seasoned presenters who assisted with the art of visual presentation. This became a typical demonstration of everyone being a teacher and a learner. The diversity also included intergenerational learning where young people of school going age shared the plenaries with professionals and contributed with confidence and critically considered observations. Feedback on EEASA’s participation in the UNESCO Global Action Plan was given to membership in a plenary session. This was followed by a parallel session on how to scale the commitments. The suggestions will be posted on the website for more engagement with membership. The scientific tours (excursions) were truly educational. EEASA Council thanks the Botswana EEASA Node, its Local Organising Committee, the ministries of Education, and Environmental Affairs, other sponsors for the hospitality in the Okovango Delta.
Publications: The publication teams have produced another set of publications. These include the EE Bulletin issue 43; EE Bulletin issue 44 and the Southern African Journal of EE Vol 34 (2018). The journal is now available on Africa Journal Online (AJOL). To see articles and previous volumes, click here. For more information on EE Bulletins click here.
Albeit being a voluntary organisation some of the accomplishments include the voluntary hosting of the EEASA annual conferences by countries in the region including the 4th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) that was hosted in South Africa; developing and publishing various publications including monographs, bulletins as well as the accredited annual Southern African Journal of Environmental Education (SAJEE); and contributing to the inception and development of major regional Environmental Education /Education for Sustainable Development projects that have become stand-alone programmes such as the SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme (SADC REEP) coordinated by the SADC Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate.
EEASA plays a major role in providing a platform for developing and channelling a critical southern African EE/ESD bottom up/ broader voice to be developed and heard globally. Following a vibrant consultation and engagement with the 2005-2014 UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) as reflected in EEASA’s annual conferences and publications, EEASA has committed to the UNESCO Global Action Plan (GAP) as a way forward post the UNDESD. Although EEASA has committed to all 5 priority areas, UNESCO has invited EEASA to be a member of Partner Networks of the Global Action Programme on ESD participating in priority 3 (Building capacities of educators and trainers – increasing the capacities of educators and trainers to more effectively deliver ESD.) EEASA’s priority 3 commitment is:
“Increasing capacities of educators and trainers through encouraging re-orientation of teacher education programmes in southern Africa in partnership with the SADC Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Universities (MESA) Chairs, the SADC ESD Teacher Education Network, SADC REEP Network, ESSA, WESSA, and RCEs using cluster and institution based training workshops and online initiatives. Also, to promote and implement the use of eLearning and mLearning in disadvantaged areas, even those where electricity and internet connectivity are lacking – to enhance access to quality ESD materials in partnership with SADC.”
These commitments will be explored, deepened, monitored and reported on through EEASA’s annual conferences, publications and other activities (UNESCO funded a project for Out-of-School Youth in Namibia where they take two courses that we named “Education for Sustainable Development for out-of-School Youth” and “Micro-Gardening (Horticulture)”. These two courses are for skills development where we focus on ESD (specifically on water and energy management) and food security where the youth learn how to produce vegetable using well managed water. These two courses are running on the mLearning system that I presented in Japan and we selected to offer the two courses in a rural school in Omusati region. The school don’t have electricity from the national grid and without the Internet; we use solar energy. The out-of-school youth use the system in the afternoon when the school closes and the school learners use it during the morning up to 13:00 (school closes this time). We have already learning materials on the system for ESD (a lot of learning materials including the integration of ESD in some subjects offered in the Namibia curriculum), Mathematics, ebooks for kids to foster literacy and many more.)