Participants gathered in Nairobi to discuss Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education/UNESCO July 2017

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, for present and future generations while respecting cultural diversity. Global Citizenship Education (GCED) also enables youth to play a key part of addressing a number of social challenges such as climate change, poverty, gender inequality and such that we are facing. The two themes, which are central pillars of SDG 4.7 are essential to be integrated in curriculum and education policies of any countries including Eastern African ones. UNESCO is actively involved in a number of activities in strengthening ESD in Eastern Africa.

The Ministry of Education in Kenya has established a partnership with UNESCO for the development of an ESD Policy for the education sector. As per the Global Education Programme (GAP) on ESD, Kenya is currently working on Priority Area 1 of GAP, which is about mainstreaming ESD into both education and sustainable development policies, to create an enabling environment for ESD to bring about systemic change.

UNESCO also provides technical support to 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa towards the achievements of 2013 ESA Ministerial commitment targets among them Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania. UNESCO’s Strategy on Education for Health and Well-Being: Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, acknowledges that healthy learners learn better, and education can contribute to healthier lives. Within this, there are two priority areas of focus: Supporting countries to ensure that all children and young people benefit good quality comprehensive sexuality education; Assuring that young people have access to safe, inclusive, health-promoting learning environments.

UNESCO is supporting skills-based education that includes integration of ESD and GCED into the curriculum; learning to live together has been successfully implemented (Kenya); peace education materials developed and disseminated (Comoros); life skills among youth and Women (Somalia, Tanzania and South Sudan); health literacy and behavioural change practice among adolescents girls in Kibera informal settlement (Kenya); strengthening Education sector response to HIV, Health and Wellbeing among Learners (Kenya); Comprehensive Sexuality Education (Rwanda Uganda and Tanzania). In addition, UNESCO supported the development of the first national policy in Kenya, which was launched in March 2017.

UNESCO is the lead UN agency for ESD and is responsible for overall management and coordination of GAP. GCED is also a key theme that UNESCO must take an initiative to implement and integrate into school systems.

Related Links:

Kenya launched its first Education for Sustainable Development Policy

Launch of master trainers programme for Ministry of Education and teachers in Kibera: Empowering Learners through health education

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