Strengthen and Broaden the Regional Environmental Education Network
The SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme has established a broad decentralised regional environmental education network which consists of the SADC Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources directorate, National EE Network Representatives, the Regional EE Centre and other environmental education practitioners in the region. Many SADC countries are establishing or have established national environmental education committees with a co-ordinating role at a national level (e.g. Botswana, Namibia and Zambia). The SADC REEP is also supporting development of environmental education networks in the SADC region.
Networking activities have included, annual meetings of National EE Network Representatives, participation in the annual conferences of the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA) and collaborative work on courses, materials and policy. An important dimension of this networking has been the formation of partnerships with existing regional initiatives such as the IUCN Regional Office Southern Africa (ROSA) and the Rhodes University Environmental Education Unit.
Existing networks in the region
Regional Centres of Expertise
These are networks of existing formal, non formal and informal education organizations, mobilised to deliver ESD to local and regional communities. RCEs seek to empower people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating a sustainable future. RCEs create regional/local knowledge base to support ESD practitioners and promote the major goal of ESD in a resource effective manner. Currently the SADC Region has five RCEs (KwaZulu Natal and Makana in South Africa, Maputo in Mozambique, Swaziland in the Kingdom of Swaziland and Zomba in Malawi) which were given RCE status by UNU in 2007 and 2008. There are also six emerging RCEs and most of them are at proposals stage to United Nations University (UNU) for RCE status (Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Gauteng in South Africa, Lesotho, Lusaka in Zambia, Mutare in Zimbabwe and Namibia. As learning institutions, they provide learning space for institutions to come together and learn from each other by translating global objectives of ESD into local context of the local communities in which they operate
Communities of Practice
These are groups of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and learn to do them better as they interact regularly. These can also be refered to as networked groupings of people which are essentially learning organizations because as they meet, they learn from each other. As a community of practice it should have people who share similar interests/challenges and that they should engange in a process of learning from each other, be able to interact regularly and deepen their knowledge and expertise in the domain they are working on. Some of the characteristics of a community of practice are domain of knowledge which defines a set of issues, a community of people who care for the domain and a share of practice that they are developing to be effective in their domain.
These are networks which involve universities and other institutions of higher learning and focuses on three major areas:
- ESD and Climate Change Research network (Copperbelt University Zambia, Rhodes University South Africa, Universities of Botswana, Lesotho College of Education, Mauritius, Namibia, Pedagogic University Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uppsala University Sweden): informs policy from research
- Social learning network (Wageningen University, Rhodes University, University of Malawi, various other Universities, SADC REEP): research on social learning concepts and contexts
- MESA ESD / ESD Chairs and UNIESCO Chairs / University Twinning (UNITWIN) network (SADC representatives are University of Botswana, University of Swaziland, University of Zambia and Rhodes University): support decentralisation of SADC REEP.
Policy networks / Technical Committees:
- SADC Environment Directors Technical Committee – Make decisions on SADC REEP
- SADC REEP National EE Network representatives – Give direction to SADC REEP
- UNESCO Education – ESD support
- ADEA network
Learning support materials networks
These are networks of people who develop and use learning support materials and they come from government, NGOs and the private sector. The network comprises of people from Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The network conduct trainings in their Member States on how to develop and use learning support materials.
- The UNESCO Teacher Education Network that started with 12 institutions in ten countries (Belvedere Teachers Training College , Zimbabwe; Nyadire Teachers Training College, Zimbabwe; Mkoba Teachers’ College, Zimbabwe; Karonga Teachers’ College, Malawi; Blantyre Teachers’ College Malawi; Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique, National Institute of Education Seychelles; Lobatse College of Education, Botswana; Teachers’ Resource Centre, Namibia, Wits School of Education, RSA; Morogoro Teachers’ College, Tanzania; Lesotho College of Education, Lesotho; Nazarene College of Education, Swaziland)
- The SADC RU International course 2010 (University of Zimbabwe; Ministry of Education, Tanzania; National Curriculum centre, Swaziland; Free State Department of Forestry, RSA; Rhodes University, Ministry of Environment, DRC; Ministry of Environment, Namibia; Mlungushi University, Zambia; Department of Fisheries, Malawi; Ministry of Environment, Mozambique; Ministry of education, Mauritius; Mpumalanga Municipality, RSA; Environment management Authority, Zimbabwe; Lesotho College of education, Lesotho, EnviroWatch, Botswana, national Curriculum centre, Swaziland)
Many national initiatives such as Ecological Youth of Angola, WWF-Zambia, Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust Youth group (Malawi), Swaziland National Trust Commission, Ministry of Environment and Transports (Seychelles) to name a few, have undertaken environmental education initiatives within the programme involving sustained partnerships. In addition to these activities, a number of important events such as the meetings of the Ministers of Environment and the Council of Ministers meeting could be viewed as networking opportunities for and within the SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme.