NatureUganda in paternship with World Wide Fund for Nature - Eastern and Southern Africa Programme Office (WWF - ESARPO) is coordinating the ESD - East Africa programme through Lake Victoria Environmental Education Project (LVCEEP) . The programme is addressing Children's rights to Education and Health with a focus on food security, a healthy environment, clean water and sanitation. It is working with schools using education for sustainable development as a strategy within a whole school approach to ensure that Children in the catchment have access to a clean and healthy environment. The programme started its work in 4 countries to include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. In Uganda, the rural component of the programme is working along the Katonga River Basin. In the urban areas the programme is working with schools in cities next to Lake Victoria to include Kampala, Kisumu and Mwanza.
The programme started with 4 urban schools and 4 rural schools for each country. There is need to have more schools reached to have wider impact on the lives of the children in the Lake Victoria Basin at large.
The programme has started work with the youth on the ground. Mobilizing the youth will help to build up the ground for further work especially with the upcoming Pan African Youth Strategy on Learning for Sustainability.
LVCEEP’s strategy of using whole school approach has worked to strengthen school community links by ensuring that there is knowledge transfer from the schools to the communities. This has helped to strengthen the civil society as most of these communities are in registered community based organizations whereby they have used the skills learnt from these trainings to improve on their livelihoods.
In rural areas, the use of firewood in homes usually has an effect on the health of young children, girls especially who also assist in the kitchen and entire households. Epidemiological studies in developing countries have linked exposure to indoor air pollution from dirty (biomass) fuel to acute respiratory infections in children, chronic obstructer, lung diseases e.g asthma and other related problems.
A World Health Organization (WHO) report 1997 indicated that children carried on their mother’s back as they cook using smoky stoves contracted pneumococcal infections 2.5 times higher than non – exposed ones (WHO, 1997; Mac, 2009). The mainstreaming of energy interventions will assist to help the rural girls and entire households have access to cleaner energy solutions and better health.
This will also help in conservation of the Lake Victoria Catchment as there will be less deforestation with less firewood or other alternatives made available for use in cooking.
The ESD Programme is building on the success of the LVCEEP which recorded success in its work with schools. Impacts of the earlier programme were demonstrated, for example, with increased child enrollment retention and also improved academic performance in those schools.