Oando Foundation (OF), an independent charity, has initiated a project to promote environmental education and sustainable action for pupils in target schools and host communities in Lagos State with support from Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese Chemical Company. 

 

Sumitomo Chemical, Japan is the co-funding partner, while the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is the implementing technical partner on the project. 

 

The project, tagged ‘Clean Our World’ (COW), aims to promote environmental education and responsibility by creating awareness and empowering children and teachers in 7 public primary schools and their host communities with the knowledge of plastic recycling and waste management, whilst encouraging the adoption of eco-conscious lifestyles. Benefitting schools and communities include: Dele Ajomale Schools Complex (I–IV) Ilasamaja, Metropolitan Primary School, Orile-Iganmu, Olisa Primary School and Methodist Primary School, Mushin. 

 

It is estimated that Nigeria generates over 32 million tons of solid waste annually of which > 30% is plastic. There is increased flooding across cities during the rainy season due to clogged drainage systems, directly attributable to poor waste disposal techniques. Education is an essential element of the global response to environmental sustainability. It helps young people understand and address environmental issues, encourages changes in their attitudes and behaviour, and helps them adapt to climate change-related trends.  When environmental education is integrated into the curriculum, pupils are more enthusiastic and engaged in learning, which improves learner achievement in core academic areas.  Creating awareness on recycling, environmental responsibility and sustainability will help explain, inform, motivate, persuade, and encourage beneficiaries in target schools and communities to embrace behavioural changes necessary for long-term impact. 

 

In Lagos State, under its signature programme, Adopt-A-School Initiative (AASI), Oando Foundation has adopted 8 public primary schools, constructed and renovated 36 units of classrooms, provided furniture, sanitation facilities, established 3 solar-powered digital learning centres, trained 100+ teachers in core subject knowledge and modern pedagogical skills, strengthened capacity of Quality Assurance Officers in Education Management Information Systems, provided scholarships to 155 students to support their secondary education and distributed over 3,000 learning and instructional materials to teachers and pupils in these adopted schools. 

 

According to Mrs. Adekanla Adegoke, Head, Oando Foundation, “The Foundation’s partnership with Sumitomo Chemical over the years has been directed towards improved digital literacy in public primary schools through the establishment of 6 solar-powered digital learning centres across Nigeria.  The COW project marks a positive expansion of our work together and our commitment to designing and implementing multi-dimensional education interventions. We believe learning transcends the classroom, encouraging environmental education through the COW project will help pupils understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment, build knowledge and skills necessary to address complex environmental issues, explore different actions to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future. Not only does COW offer opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom enabling pupils to make connections and apply their learning in the real world, it also encourages the development of critical and creative thinking skills necessary for enhancing overall learner outcomes.  We are working closely with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and relevant education agencies to implement the project across 7 schools and 3 communities in Lagos State.” 

 

Mr. Tomoyuki Hirayama, General Manager of General Affairs Department, Sumitomo Chemical added “Sumitomo Chemical’s education support programme for Africa started with the development of Olyset® net, a long lasting insecticidal net that helps prevent the spread of malaria. We believe that improving the educational environment is also crucial for Africa to achieve self-sustaining economic development, and thus have been engaged with various partners in supporting schools since 2005. During the period up to April 30, 2020, 29 projects have been completed in 12 countries, benefiting over 29,000 people. We are excited that our partnership with Oando Foundation has brought this new initiative of plastic recycling and waste management, as we define contribution to developing a circular system for plastics as one of our high-priority and material management issue.” 

 

Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF stated that “We cannot continue to be reckless in the way we handle our waste. The menace of improper waste management is huge on the environment with consequences on human health. This partnership is seeking to address this menace using best practices.”

 

Oando Foundation is committed to designing and implementing multi-dimensional education interventions that support our schools, communities, and the Nigerian government in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

 

 

The Oando Foundation, Nigeria, Sumitomo Chemical, China, with the technical support of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) organised a 3-day capacity building on recycling and environmental sustainability for some public primary school teachers in Lagos State, themed “upcycling and composting in schools and communities”.  

 

The workshop held on 21st, 25th & 27th January, had 100 participants drawn from Dele Ajomale Primary School, Ilasamaja; Metropolitan Primary School, Orile-Iganmu and Dada Olisa Primary School, Papa Ajao, Mushin in Lagos. Aside the teachers, other participants were parents and community members.

 

The organisers consider the business of wastes recycling to be a viable means of revenue generation for schools, communities and families. School pupils will in the long run benefit from the knowledge and could join in the campaign drive.

 

The workshop exposed participants to diverse areas of waste recycling, which include the use of plastic bottles to manufacture furniture materials like mattresses, duvet, chairs and tables.

 

Knowledge gained at the workshop also includes the production of organic fertilizers using plants and animals wastes products such as leaves, sawdust, chicken and rabbit materials and so on.

 

In her remark, Mrs. Abidemi Balogun, Project Lead, NCF said the overall objective of the project is to sustainably manage wastes that have become a menace across the world, with a particular focus on Lagos which generates 30,000 metric tons of waste daily.

 

She explained that in order for NCF to achieve its vision of ‘a Nigeria where people prosper while living in harmony with nature’, the Foundation has consistently partnered different organizations with similar vision and hoped that this would become another success story at the end of the day.

 

"The path that we have chosen this time is the path of waste management. It is a menace across the world. So we have to put every resource we have to achieve this. We want to change the mindset of people to stop pollution and know how to manage their wastes properly".

 

"We need to teach them creative ways of doing this. That is why we are building their capacity, to give them some skills of what they can achieve with plastic bottles and other waste materials. Let them know that the waste is not waste until it is wasted. This is why we are building the capacity of teachers and community members. After this training, the teachers will step down the knowledge gained to their pupils", she added.

 

The Lead facilitator, Mrs. Temitope Okunnu, CEO of FABE International Foundation, an NGO that champions environmental sustainability issues, noted that if the ‘waste to wealth initiative’ is massively adopted by governments across the country, using school children as major target group, would help to effectively mitigate the impacts of climate change and tackle hunger and poverty among Nigerian citizenry.

 

She emphasised that part of the goal is to stop wastes from ending up at dumpsites. This is the main reason her NGO, FABE, NCF and others are trying to teach the next generation how to properly dispose of their waste materials and to take advantage of the economic potential in wastes recycling lift millions of Nigerians from poverty at post COVID-19 era.

 

 

She explained, "We are trying to mitigate the effects of climate change on the people and the environment, and we believe that children are the best people to learn the skills. So, we are teaching their teachers to be able to step it down to them. All of us just came out of COVID-19 and many parents lost their jobs and sources of livelihood because of the pandemic. So we are teaching them today that even though we are trying to mitigate climate change and stopping pollution and also making our environment clean, we can make money from the environmental sustainability projects.”

 

A participant identified as Mr. Adedeji said "I give glory of God to be chosen as one of the participants. It was very impressive. I was imagining how a plastic can be used to make beautiful furniture pieces without using any nails or hammer. But I learnt that today. It was a wonderful workshop. I am excited".

 

Another participant, Mrs. Rachael Olaide said “Waste, especially plastic bottles usually block drainage. But now that we have received training, we will teach our children, neighbours and sensitise the schools and parents.”

 

In addition, Mr. Onyebuchi Onwunali, a participant said “What we called waste material, we now learnt that it is not waste until it is wasted.”

 

Mr. Oladapo Soneye, Head Communications, NCF, while adding his voice said that NCF is open to partnership with corporate organisations and individuals to expand the training to many schools within and outside Lagos State. He believes that such training can help in combatting the environmental challenges in Lagos and beyond. “If we have more funds, more NGOs and concentrate on reaching out wider, we would be able to effectively deal with some environmental challenges posed by waste. Even in some climes, climate change effect will be mitigated through proper orientation across board”.

 

Upcycling refers to creative reuse of waste materials in such a way as to create a product of value and quality than the original.