16.02.2018 - UNESCO Office in Harare

Southern Africa joins Zimbabwe to celebrate the awarding of the UNESCO/Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development to Sihlengeni Primary School

CHIPAWO cultural group performing at the celebrations in Harare

Secretary Generals of National Commissions for UNESCO and representatives of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet) from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia joined Zimbabwe in celebrating the awarding of the UNESCO/Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to the country’s Sihlengeni Primary School. The celebrations took place in Harare, Zimbabwe on 14th February 2018.

Sihlengeni Primary School from  Umzingwane District in Matebeleland South Province of Zimbabwe was amongst the three 2017 UNESCO/Japan ESD prize winners and received US$50 000. The school was rewarded for its remarkable “Permaculture” programme involving not only its 17 teachers and 738 students – mainly children of low-income subsistence farmers – but also the adjacent community. Through an inspiring, participatory whole-institution approach, Permaculture uses the principles of ESD to provide quality education as well as increased access to a clean environment, food and water. Its permaculture programme, which has turned the arid Umzingwane Rural District of Matabeleland South Province of Zimbabwe into a rehabilitated forest of fruit trees, food garden and livestock, has become a good practice in the country for improving the local environment and income generation.

The school headmaster, Mr Sibanga Ncube and the School Development Committee Chairperson, Mr Lusaba Moses, received the award on behalf of the school on 3rd November 2017 in Paris, France during the 39th Session of the UNESCO General Conference.

In a speech read on his behalf at the regional celebrations, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Prof. Paul Mavima, congratulated Sihlengeni Primary School for raising the Zimbabwean flag high and lauded UNESCO and the Government of Japan for availing such a prize and advancing ESD.

He urged all schools to embrace ESD “because it is if for the benefit of us all and the future generations”.

“The new trend in education is to foster holistic development of an individual in order to fully participate and survive in the modern world where there is stiff competition,” said the Minister.

Speaking at the same occasion, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, Prof. Hubert Gijzen said he was proud that a school from his region had won the prestigious award.

“As the UNESCO Regional Director I am particularly proud that one of the three winners of this prestigious prize for 2017 is Sihlengeni Primary School, here in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Pease join me in extending our sincerest congratulations to the school,” added Prof. Gijzen. He also took that opportunity to inform delegates that the call for nominations for the 2018 UNESCO/Japan Prize had been announced.

The Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Mr Toshiyuki Iwado, said Sihlengeni Primary School was the first ever school to win the UNESCO/Japan ESD Prize.

The celebrations were attended by various ASPNet schools, members of the diplomatic community, education stakeholders, journalists and government officials, among others. Regional representatives visited the school to be part of the community celebrations that were set for 15th February 2018.

For more information, please contact: p.awopegba(at)unesco.org

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