Praises were heard at Mitsinjo’s office in last January. Invited by the association, the representatives of the school authorities and local primary schools had arrived to listen to the presentation of the new manual.
The event was opened by Mitsinjo’s president Christin NASOAVINA
and Irène Toutoune RAMANANTENASOA, our environmental education manager
After the speeches of the hosts, the floor was given to the guests. Their general opinion was very positive. They said that environmental education has had a great impact on children who have attended the classes. A year after, in the 5th grade, these children are more knowledgeable than their classmates in certain subjects such as natural science, geography and civic education. This has helped teachers in implementing the curriculum. They have discovered new things even themselves. They also told that the classroom of the 5th grade is the cleanest. Thanks to having learnt about hygiene in environmental education, the pupils pay more attention to cleanliness than others and some children are willing to share their know-how, for example how to recycle plastic waste.
The manager of the environmental department of the Moramanga school district, his deputy and the director of the educational administration zone of Andasibe were representing the school authorities.
From primary schools, Mitsinjo had invited the school directors and the teachers of the 4th grade
Mitsinjo has been doing environmental education for a long time. At first, it consisted of raising awareness and sensitising people to environmental issues at occasional events held in Andasibe like the annual World Environment Day. There were also projects related to health, development and agriculture that included environmental education and were carried out in cooperation with different partners.
Collaboration with the educational authorities and primary schools started in 2012. Elsie Black, a Peace Corps volunteer created the program for environmental education and helped Mitsinjo to get funding for the activity. The education team estimated that the pupils of the 4th grade (CM1 in the Malagasy school system) would be the most suitable group for receiving instruction. They were old enough to understand what was being talked about, but they did not have the pressures of their schoolmates in the 5th grade (CM2) who were busy preparing for the final exam of the primary school (CEPE – Certificat d’Études Primaires et Élementaires). The first children had classes in environmental education during the school year 2012-2013.
In 2015-2020, environmental education was part of the Torotorofotsy project financed by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation – FANC. To help schools and teachers continue the work on their own after the end of the project, Mitsinjo’s environmental education team and FANC prepared a manual. It is based on the classroom instruction given by the team, containing lessons and exercises about the meaning of the word “environment”, animals and forest, water cycle, climate change, waste management, to name a few. The book even gives instructions how to set up a school garden. During the project, our team assisted schools in creating vegetable gardens that have been tended by the children and teachers.
Besides guidebooks, the school representatives received tools for gardening.
The guests were very satisfied with the book. The teachers said they would need it. It will support them in their work. The book will be first put to use in the schools of the educational administration zone of Andasibe, but the environmental department of the Moramanga school district would also like to share information about the manual to the teachers of the district. The manager of the department asked, whether the school district could take copies of the book. Mitsinjo and FANC consented to the request. If copying will make the manual better known and promote its use in schools, then it is acceptable.
We also want to share the guidebook here. Naturally, it is written in Malagasy, but we hope it will still find readers.
Photos: Irène Toutoune Ramanantenasoa, Ulla Aitakangas