The Kariba REDD+ Project held a PACE inception meeting on November 9th, at Mola Primary School in the Zambezi Valley, northern Zimbabwe. The meeting was attended by key local stakeholders. They were given PACE educational materials and explanations on how these can be used to support teaching and learning in schools and community development in the area. The participants asked for time to examine the materials in detail, at their leisure and to meet again in three weeks, to develop a forward plan.
Attendance was good, and included the local council departments of environment and natural resources, as well as social service, school teachers, school heads, School Development Committee members, village heads and community members/villagers. Of special importance was the presence of the District Schools Inspector, who is the principal authority for all the schools in the district.
Presentations were given regarding Kariba REDD+ project, which laid the foundation of the need to look again at the purpose of education, and how PACE resources can help with this (Kariba REDD+ Area Manager, Manuel Nembiri speaking below).
Palloma Pachiti, Manager of the Sebakwe Conservation Education Centre in Eastern Zimbabwe gave an inspiring presentation, in which she explained more about PACE and how it has been used in similar communities in her area.
“The core of my presentation was to show how use of the PACE resources both in a school and community set up, can enhance understanding and appreciation of our environment and natural resources. This with the aim of equipping learners with problem solving skills as well as stewardship and accountability of natural resources and their interactions with them. I shared copies of Sebakwe News magazines, which have testimonials with pictures and stories on how problem-solving solutions from the PACE books such as the improved Upesi Stoves have impacted positively on rural women’s lives. The community members seemed to appreciate the benefit being reaped by others in similar contexts.”
“The PACE Educators booklet was useful in showing how every teacher, despite their subject area, Maths, Drama, Science, Agriculture, Biology etc. all can benefit from use of the resources, at the same time as teaching about environment and sustainability.”
The District Schools Inspector was particularly pleased with the materials. He tasked 3 teachers to spend time evaluating the resources and to give feedback in the next few weeks regards how the books can be integrated into classroom learning. He was supportive and appreciative of the usefulness of the initiative, and that gave the teachers the confidence that there was a lot of opportunity for them. The two teachers from Mola School showed terrific interest in the initiative. We all look forward to the next meeting at the end of the month.