As sustainability facilitators, we are modelling what environmental sustainability and community participation are through our projects. Each project is programmed to express the Sustainable Development Goals and the targets to be sustained beyond our program by the community we engage with; this is a huge challenge as all action needs follow up and periodical evaluation. This is where collaborations with schools come in, many schools require students to actively participate in the community to extend their theoretical learning which develops social capital. Our projects support classroom learning with local, practical and guided experiences that connect the Head-Hand-Heart.
A typical learning journey begins with students investigating an issue, prepare for action, take action, reflect and demonstrate what they have learnt. When working with a school; teachers select the issue students are investigating, we as collaborators play the role as subject matter experts to narrow down a proposed community and connect the students with members of the community. We manage expectations on both sides, provide alternatives and facilitate the project delivery.
In facilitating with the Global Citizenship Education methodology in mind, students may explore themes like waste. We would suggest to investigate waste along hiking trails in a community recreational forest. Should they agree to the idea, the project team meets a group of locals to identify a trail that needs to be cleaned up, they plan a trip with a team, organize the required tools and logistics, they take action on service day, upon their return they reflect on their actions and learner profiles they applied, they then share these findings with their peers who participated in other projects. This project planning and execution process deepen with the interaction with the community and through the research and problem-solving analysis they conduct. As an example; IGB International school students cleaned a trail at the Bukit Gasing Community Forest.
Students from IGN International School played RIMBA in the natural setting of Bukit Gasing after a forest cleanup.
Students were advised by a local elderly gentlemen who walk the trail daily and had concerns of a trail full of glass and hard plastic which they suspect was dumped illegally in the past from the top of the hill. During the recce trip we observed the materials mentioned were caked in soil from rain and have dispersed all over the 800m trail. 2 weeks later equipped with wastepaper baskets from school, spades, cotton gloves and 25 students, they took to the slopes in groups of 5 and made a day of it. The team was joined by Ms Mariani Ramli a.k.a Bam, Chief of the Gibbon Protection Society, who shared about her work in rehabilitating gibbons. She got the students to observe the wildlife they saw while on the cleanup and shared about Gibbons in the wild and the ones who are rescued and rehabilitated in their centre from wildlife traders or pet owners once they grow.
Ms. Mariani Ramli a.k.a Bam, the Chief of the Gibbon Protection Society shared with the students about her work in rehabilitating gibbons.
This was a great opportunity to introduce RIMBA The Card Game with 30 Malaysian animals including the Siamang. This project was programmed to raise environmental empathy by having students experience the outdoors through active participation, meet local community members who value their service, introduce local heritage, subject matter experts and provide them with the interest to participate again.