By Tiffany Fourment
Better World Cameroon works with local schools in both of the cities in which they have offices. BWC staff present sanitation education programs in primary schools, and facilitate Student Nature Clubs in secondary schools.
As an environmental educator in the U.S., I was especially interested in visiting the schools to see these programs in action. I assisted in teaching primary students how to make their own “Tippy Tap” out of a used water bottle, so that they can wash their hands effectively even if they do not have a faucet in their homes.
In the secondary schools I was introduced to the school gardens that Nature Clubs have developed, including herb gardens, vegetable gardens and a nursery to raise seedlings of Moringa – a very versatile and useful species of tree. Girls and boys alike were out there with shovels and hoes, preparing soil, weeding, and caring for the plants and seedlings. It was obvious that they are proud of their work and value the hands-on learning that takes place as they develop their projects.
I got to visit two schools in which BWC is forming new Nature Clubs, and was inspired by the enthusiasm and interest that students showed in volunteering their time and energy to the club. The students’ commitment to enhancing and caring for their natural surroundings gave me hope for the future of our environment. I described to them the challenges and activities undertaken by youth with similar interests in the U.S., and promised them that I would share the stories of their work with my own students. Through its environmental education programs for youth of all ages, BWC is nurturing future leaders whose values and behaviors will be crucial to a sustainable future.