AMAREWA (Mother’s Hope) - Innovative Education for Sustainable Development in Rural Schools in China’s First National Park
Beijing Fuqun Social Service Center (FUQUN)
Non-governmental organization (NGO)
FUQUN is a Chinese NGO committed to promote community-based conservation and sustainable development through innovative education and community work. Its programme namely “AMAREWA (Tibetan, in English means Mothers’ Hope” , responding to the Sustainable Development Goal on Quality Education, aims to bridge the urban-rural education gap and improve global citizenship awareness through promoting innovative education on sustainable development, respecting cultural diversity, building sustainable lifestyle and eco-schools. It is implemented in 13 rural primary schools in watershed of Yangtze,Yellow and Mekong River in the Tibetan Plateau, benefiting 40,000 indigenous Tibetan people.
The programme is designed and executed based on intensive investigation and multi-stakeholder consultation. Key activities: development of local textbook, need-based capacity building for teachers, student-centered mindset and innovation, co-school scheme, schools to impact communities, mult-stakeholder dialogue. 1)in 2016: local needs identified through on-site investigation of 250 students in 6 schools and detailed interviews of 50 stakeholders. 30 teachers attended training workshops. Customized ESD textbook was compiled and trail used in a school. 2)in 2017: the textbook officially published in People Education Press, and used by 20,000 students in four counties. Innovative ESD, e.g. educational theatre and sustainable natural resources management education launched in a pilot school. 3)in 2018: deepening of ESD innovations in pilot schools, expanding to communities and over 2,000 herders 4)In 2019: one pilot school was certified as the first international eco-school in reserved area in the Plateau. it becomes a ESD model school and learning-center. Its practices expanded to five schools and 50 teachers qualified as ESD educators. 5)in 2020: ESD applied in 13 schools and 5500 students/teachers. An educator guidebook is compiled. Two more schools certified as eco-school which were the first of its kind in Chinese national parks. A profound Results-based monitoring (input-output-outcome-impact) system is used. Quarterly and annual evaluation is conducted through questionnaire survey, interview and on-site investigation. Resources: 1) financial support from foundations; 2) long-term government partnership via MOU and annual multi-stakeholder forum; 3) in-kind support from schools and government, e.g. transportation and venues; 4) dedicated FUQUN implementing team and experts.
Results: 1) benchmark investigation for 100 teachers and 450 students conducted in eight schools; 2) first ESD textbook published and trainer guidebook compiled; 3) nine infrastructures built, health of 1761 students improved. 4) capacity of 295 teachers built with four innovative initiatives; 5) three school certified as international eco-school. SDG4 Education quality improved as teachers with more ESD capacity and students with better environmental literacy. Trends: duplicated from 1 school to 13 schools, 1 county to other counties. expected to impact all national parks in China. Impact on leaving no-one behind goal as 1) children with better education means brighter future; 2) programme extends to communities that can better manage natural resources and have higher income. Innovations: 1) first ESD textbook; 2) first education theatre that performed annually; 3) school-community integration; 4) first rural eco-school in the plateau; 5) first eco-school in national parks in China.
Enabling conditions: 1) favorite policies on quality education and eco-civilization; 2) long-term partnerships with government, schools; 3) sustainable financial support; 4) competent staff/experts. Constraints and solutions: 1) long-term MOU with Education Bureau and school presidents’ meeting for strong commitment; 2) integrate ESD with regular education to increase efficiency Innovations: 1) education theatre based on local ecology knowledge; 2) school-community alliance; 3) project-based learning. Cost efficiency: local experts used. combined trips with other project to save costs.
Elements to sustain practice outcomes:1) tailor-made textbook and detailed educator guidebook available; 2) local teachers capable to integrate ESD in education; 3) favorite policy support; 4) model eco-schools and lesson plan ready for reference. Replicability: 1) strong demands from other nature reserves; 2) project mode specified and easy to duplicate; 3）ESD textbook and educator guidebook in line with national education standards and can be used in other schools/areas; 4) model eco-schools available for reference and continuous ESD training for other schools. Plan for up-scaling: has reached consensus with authority to duplicate the practice in more schools in Three-River-Source National Park, the first National Park in China, and is discussing application in other nature reserves.
News on eco-school: 1) April 2019, Yushu news, http://www.yushunews.com/system/2019/04/23/012863031.shtml 2) August 2019, Cover News, https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1675419161637272062&wfr=spider&for=pc 3) Sept. 2020, Green TImes, http://www.greentimes.com/greentimepaper/html/2020-09/30/content_334522… Social media; 1)Sept. 2019, case presented in UN Climate Action Summit, New York https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/I2WcC-d95Wyo9dFfdfceCA 2)Nov. 2019, Dr. Jane Goodall event https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/UpSTBnQaxBfs0KHmQBpd1g 3)Feb. 2021, wetland day story https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/EsPswB-rAg007tPlsp6Q1Q
COVID-19 Impact: 1) Field trips and workshops postponed due to the pendamic. On-line networking and training added as an alternative. 2) schools supported to build greenhouse to increase fresh vegetable supply and increase resilience; 3) local Tibetan medical experts and school presidents engaged in developing a COVID-19 prevention picture book in Chinese-Tibetan language, which was used by schools to strengthen COVID-19 knowledge publicity and students improved healthier habits. This practice supported schools as 1) schools paid higher attention to education and prevention of COVID-19 and other infections diseases; 2) teachers integrated health education in regular lessons; 3) students adopted more hygeianic behaviors; 4) herders impacted to have more knowledge and behavior changes.
SDGS & Targets
Deliverables & Timeline
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Direct beneficiaries are 550 teachers and 5000 Tibetan students from 13 rural schools. Indirect beneficiaries are 40,000 herders of the county, and ecology of the first national park in China. Key stakeholders include Provincial Forest and Grass Bureau, Three-River-Source National Park, County level Education Bureau, schools. Partners include County level poverty alleviation Bureau, communities, other nature reserves, local NGOs.