Target 7 of the 11 targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) Four posits that “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of
cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development. Our Education for
Sustainable Development(ESD) Forum at Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi) was designed to bolster the realization of this target from the grassroots starting from
Nigeria with keen interest in creating an open space discussion on the ESD thematic areas for young learners to develop skills and competencies to become active global citizensand responsible leaders,capable of proffering creative solutions to varying societal,economic&environmental challenges
After the maiden Edition in Ile-Ife Osun State, the train of the ESD Forum moved to the ancient City of Ibadan in Oyo State to continue the narrative of shifting the stake of Education
for Sustainable Development from policy to practice. Held at Government College,Apata Ibadan,we focused on four themes as selected by the learners via a Pre-Event Survey; Sustainable Lifestyles,Disaster Risk Reduction,Human Security and G lobal Citizenship.
In our usual learners-centered style,the facilitators engaged the students using an experiential learning approach. The DRR Session facilitated by Onyebuchi John,an African Leadership Academy(ALA) Educator from JumpStart Academy was very practical as the learners were divided into teams to uniformly solve a board-based challenge pertaining to reducing
disaster risks and how well it applies to their personal lives.
Teaching Human Security as an abreast theme was challenging being knotty but centering the discussion as a people-oriented need by Odanye Kehinde,a UN-Trained Peace Education Expert who is the Program Director of ESDForum created the enabling environment,
for the learners to exchange views with the facilitators on wars,conflict,violent extremism and all related vices.
Handled by Damola Morenikeji,A World-at-School Ambasssador from All for Development,the Global Citizenship discussion introduced the learners to the term ‘Global citizens’ .
They were further enlightened on why and how they can assume active roles, both locally and globally, to face and to resolve global challenges and ultimately to become proactive contributors to creating a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure
and sustainable world. The learners were made to recite and believe in our Global Citizenship Anthem and Pledge
respectively as a wayof integrating the words into their values.
Using their learning environment as a case-study,Babatunde Vaughan,Director,Mind Alignment Centre and also an ALA Eduactor while taking the Sustainable Lifestyles Session enlightened the learners on the dynamics of human wants,highlighting the differences between luxuries and necessities. The ‘Going Green’ Agenda was presented as well as the Law of Reduce,Re-Use and Recycle. They were also made to understand the principle behind “Need Less,Buy Less,Spend Less and Want Less”. It was indeed a worthwhile learning experience for both the students and the facilitators.
After the sessions,it was fun watching the learners as played The Survival Skills Game(The Last Man),a capacity enhancing exercise that seeks to impact values like determination
doggedness,focus,vigilance, creativity,simplicity and perseverance. Gifts were presented to outstanding learners and active participants in each of the sessions.
As a follow up plan,an ESD Club was successfully launched with over 92 students as inaugural members who will be meeting on a biweekly basis under our guidance to foster the understanding of the ESD thematic areas and incorporation of new knowledge and skills.
“This is testamentary of our sincere commitment to build the next generation of leaders who will be ESD-conscious as well as active and informed global citizens. We are building an African Continent where every child will have the requisite knowledge and skills which are core to live a decent live and contribute to societal transformation. Kudos to Gideon and the team for yet another success story”-Gladys Muthara, Managing Partner and Country Director,AREAi Kenya.