01.12.2009 -

Uzbekistan: Creating an Oasis in the Desert

UNESCO/Muratova Auli

A project to stop sand dunes moving towards a city and causing health problems is one of nine ASPnet school-based sustainable development initiatives to win awards created by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO.

In 2009, the Korean National Commission for UNESCO invited UNESCO Associated Schools in the Asia-Pacific region to submit good educational practices to promote Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For their remarkable contributions, nine school-based projects were selected from five countries, addressing such interlinked topics as the promotion of healthcare among schoolchildren, the protection of biodiversity, diversity and the management of water and natural resources. 

The ASPnet Specialized School No 1, Zarafshan, Uzbekistan, decided to take action to stop moving sand dunes coming closer to their city. The city is surrounded by desert and sandy winds cause lung and eye problems. The school decided to plant haloxylon, a desert tree with deep roots and little need of water. With the assistance of forestry workers, a haloxylon nursery was established within the school yard. Students later transferred the seedlings to a project area outside the town. Inch by inch, this project has stopped  the development of the desert and weakened  the powers of the sandy winds. In addition a leaflet and a school calendar with advice on daily sustainable practices help students to take responsible actions in their daily lives.  

Ms Sufiya Dekhkanova, teacher and project coordinator, said: “The 2009 award was crucial for the project. As a consequence of the award and the public attention brought to the school, the project now involves parents and also local private companies.”




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