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Teaching better environment education

Environmental education is a relatively new issue on Romanian society agenda. Such classes are not included within the scholar curricula only some ecology knowledge inserted within biology classes. The environmental education problem lies somewhere between Environment Ministry and Education Ministry. According to the reports of the meetings between Environment Ministry and environmental NGOs (www.mmediu.ro/ONG), where our organisation was represented, some proposals were done in this respect but no concrete solution occurred so far.
In all programming documents or post-accession strategies the prevention, including education is still insignificantly approached. Under these circumstances the environmental education is done on single basis initiatives, especially made by NGOs active in this field.
Moreover, the children in the natural parks should know be better informed about the protected area status, because they are living in with all advantages and disadvantages occurring. Instead of this they are less informed and updated due to their geographical position, difficult to reach (isolated villages in mountains, lack of roads).  In the project region 77% of the schools are in rural area according to the 2007 – 2013 Regional Development Plan.
The teachers in rural areas have limited knowledge on delivering such specific environmental education activities, this is why they are happy to co-operate with NGOs, having trained or at least skilled people, for improving their classes.
Another aspect to be considered is that the natural parks in Romania are new institutions with a small amount of staff that can’t carry on the education activities due to their limited budget.
The collaboration with local authorities is also a problem. Due to the fast moving political climate there is a real challenge to set up and to maintain relationships.
In conclusion, the interrelation is: the demand for specific environmental education exists, schools within natural parks would like to provide it but have no resources, there is a gap in the national education legislation regarding this issue but there is a certain level of schools’ autonomy, the natural parks’ administration have limited resources but can ensure a technical expertise and credibility. EIC and ASMH, according to their civil society’ representatives role and to their previous working experience, can provide the suitable environmental education and ensure the connection between local stakeholders.

Objectives of the action
 
The overall objective to which the project aims to contribute is to assist NGOs in the beneficiary countries to develop their full potential as partners in the implementation of environmental policy. Moreover, the project aims at largely at educating citizens about their rights and obligations regarding the environment they live in.

The specific objective the project aims to achieve is increasing the capacity of EIC and ASMH to deliver better environmental education programmes and to collaborate in doing this with Natural Parks in their interest area.
This will work through a programme of capacity exchange between one of the EU25 (France) and one of the beneficiary countries (Romania).
As both Romanian NGOs has as main activity domain the environmental education, delivering good quality education programmes is considered basic skill, along with volunteers’ management and collaboration with local authorities.

Partner(s)
 
La Ligue d’Enseignement (Fr),
Asociatia Sporturilor Montane Hunedoara (ASMH, The Association of Mountain Sports Hunedoara)  (Ro)

This project envisages two categories of target groups as follows:
• 3 staff with EIC and 2 staff with ASMH, in charge with environmental education activities;
• 10 camp councillors / volunteers with EIC and 5 with ASMH (either existent or to be recruited), directly interacting with children during the implementation of the thematic environmental education programme.

There are also several categories of beneficiaries, either direct or indirect:
• Approx. 250 children aged 6 – 14 in 5 schools in Apuseni Natural Park and 3 schools in Gradistea Muncelului  Natural Park;
• Administration board of the 2 natural parks targeted;
• Local communities (schools, local authorities, citizens) in approx. 12 villages on the two targeted natural parks’ territory.

Estimated results
  
5 trained trainers on designing and effective delivering thematic environmental education programmes;
thematic environmental education programme;
15 camp councillors / volunteers involved in environmental education activities;
connections with other environmental NGOs;
collaboration protocols setting the framework for future education activities within the natural parks Apuseni and Gradistea Muncelului to be developed by EIC and ASMH.

Main activities

Mentoring and information exchange programme (transferring expertise from France to Romania); designing a thematic environmental education programme; piloting the thematic environmental education programme.