Oman Observer

Muscat, The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) has launched Green School initiative to encourage eco-friendly awareness and promotes a conservation culture in schools across the Sultanate. Supporting ESO’s initiative are Veolia Oman, a leading global and regional resource management company, and Emily’s Garden, a memorial fund that has been set up by the Jewitt family in memory of their late daughter Emily who was passionate about the environment and actively supporting change in her own school in Oman and later in the Netherlands.

The initiative encourages government schools across Oman to form an environmental team consisting of students, school staff and a member of the parents’ council. The group is then tasked to conduct activities and events to promote sustainable behavior and environmental awareness. Participating schools are required to identify an existing environmental challenge within their school or community and begin working on activities to alleviate these environmental concerns.

The environmental categories fall under three pre-determined themes including ‘Best School in Waste Management’, ‘Best School in Water Management’ and ‘Best School in Energy Management’. An official ceremony will take place to recognise the participating schools and the schools with the best contribution towards these themes will be given awards in addition to a recognition plaque to be placed on their school premises.

Jawaher al Ghafri, Education Co-ordinator at ESO, said, “We believe that all students deserve the opportunity to be educated on environmental sustainability practices and lead rewarding lives that support their dreams for a brighter future. That’s why we are launching this initiative to raise environmental awareness within schools and the broader community, as well as encourage students, school staff and parents to actively participate in minimising their ecological footprint. It’s also important to promote a healthy school environment and encourage the generation of tomorrow to develop problem-solving skills by engaging in environmental problems and seeing tangible results.”

The initiative’s long-term goal is for the Ministry of Education’s representatives from each region to recommend and incorporate environmental sustainability concepts and practices in schools’ curriculum. The work prepared by students can also be used to showcase and encourage other students and the community to act as responsible citizens.

Erwan Rouxel, Veolia Oman CEO, said, “We are partnering with the Environment Society of Oman in a monumental step forward to creating a green schools’ culture. Our aim is to develop environmental awareness within schools in Oman and to empower students, families and communities to build a sustainable and healthy environment for all.

Veolia Oman and Emily’s Garden are providing the much-needed funds to implement this new educational project and will also be supporting the capacity building of young Omanis in conservation. Both parties are strongly committed to protecting the environment and biodiversity and aim to build a long-term partnership with ESO.

Helen Graham said, “This initiative is key to ensure students can demonstrate environmental literacy at an early stage of their lives and be active advocates in the future. We are creating a community for schools journeying toward real, impactful environmental sustainability.”

To participate in the initiative, students are required to fill in an online application form before October 10 with their chosen theme along with their action plan, which can be found on https://eso-edu.com/green-school. From October 2019 to April 2020, students will work on action plans in their chosen themes. The final report and completed action plan will then determine the qualified teams.