PROGRAMMES: Environmental Education
The National Environmental Education Programme (under the auspices of the Swaziland National Trust Commission) is mandated by the SNTC Act (no.9, 1972) to co-ordinate and promote Environmental Education in Swaziland. NEEP has the role of co-ordination, promotion and support of environmental awareness projects carried out by other organisations, both governmental and non-governmental. The environmental education programme is essential for the long-term survival of conservation in the country, through the education of the people of Swaziland with regard to the benefits of conservation.
The overall aim of environmental education programme is to promote the understanding, acceptance, application and evaluation of environmental conservation principles and practices by all the people of Swaziland in order that a better quality of life results.
The programme is therefore designed to fulfil the following objectives:
- To establish a National Council/Steering Committee for Environmental Education;
- To encourage the understanding and awareness of man's interrelatedness with nature and his total dependence on the natural environment not only for his development but also for his survival;
- To encourage an understanding of environmental conservation and its underlying principles, in particular that of sustainable utilisation of resources;
- To motivate people to acquire a personal set of values and feelings of concern such that they want to carry out the personal application of conservation practices such as soil and water conservation, population planning, reforestation programmes and so on;
- To foster an appreciation of aesthetics;
- To foster an appreciation of, and pride in, the Swazi heritage;
- To provide opportunities for learning the necessary skills to fulfil previous objectives;
- To provide experiences whereby evaluation of environmental problems may be carried out;
- To provide the opportunity for individuals to be actively participating towards the resolution of environmental problems.
Overview of NEEP Activities (Current and Envisaged)
The National Environmental Education Programme current activities were revisited through brief appraisal of each programme of action, where the effectiveness was gauged and the major constraints were analysed with a view of providing suitable and workable solutions within the housing institutions of SNTC (Implementing institution) and SEA (Swaziland Environmental Education Strategy - delegator institution). The following are the activities currently being undertaken by NEEP;
Commemorative Days Celebrations (World Environment Day, World meteorological day, wetlands day, world day to combat desertification day, etc. EEPAP committee members carry out the active participation and mobilisation of the general public though clarity and advice has to be provided in project work areas involving the two inherent institutions.
Environmental/ Nature Conservation Radio programmes are continuously aired through the SEA shared radio slot (Yonge Nawe, SNTC, including SEA). There is however, difficulty in the airing times of the programme that has been scheduled to a non-peak hour time slot, which is viewed as downplaying the importance of Environment and Nature Conservation issues, to the detriment of the nation. The employment of other media such as Newspaper Articles has dwindled, whilst T.V shows and electronic media through websites and email have not been exploited.
Academic Service to the tertiary institutions (University of Swaziland) mainly through the Nature Reserve public facilities, where various kinds of studies are being undertaken on the biodiversity therein. It is however, noted that due to the inexistence of the Research department of this organisation is not proving useful in terms of effecting central responsibilities. This sadly results in the non-compilation of relevant periodicals and academic papers to the promotion of biodiversity.
Rural Communities Training on Issues of Environment/ Nature Conservation through incorporation of indigenous knowledge systems in order to promote 'sustainable 'attitudes more in line with the UN Chapter on Sustainability. The mobilisation and availing of resources, a particularly transport and field allowance needs to be expedited for meaningful realisation of this programme action.
Functioning as a Support Service for both external (EEPAP, Rural Communities, NGO's, CBO's, etc) and internal stakeholders who are in other departments.
Appropriate Technology Incorporation in Environmental education is one area of focus the programme area is tackling through work projects involving interested and affected stakeholders, particularly in the promotion of rural sustenance in terms of meeting their energy needs at a neglible cost.
General Environmental Education Awareness coverage on environment crisis issues which is achieved primarily through focussing on the social, economic, political, and biophysical dimensions of Swazi inhabitants. This activity schedule is broad and covers all the above activities.
Produce a quarterly environmental newsletter (Swaziland National Environmental Newsletter, or Swaziland National Conservation Newsletter). The newsletter will be a link and keep all environmental awareness groups informed of what is taking place, what has happened, who is doing what on what area, and to inform groups about environmental activities for commemorative days in Swaziland.
Reflective Review of the Integration of the Environmental Education and Community Outreach Programmes.
Environmental Education Stream (NEEP, Environmental Education Centres)
Of note is the understanding that 'Environment' is a concept simply referring to the social, economic, political, and biophysical dimensions of inhabitants of the world, hence there is a need for a vigorous awareness programme to effect social change with acceptable behaviors as dictated by the environmental crisis currently plaguing planet earth of which Swaziland is part. The elements of dynamism and flexible were stressed as very crucial in terms of delivery on awareness campaigns to the different age groups within the country. This is particularly so as the majority of dealings are conducted with non captive audiences. Actions most appealing to the audiences though influenced by wide ranging characteristics include; adventure education, naturalist interests, and socio - economic development works.