Environmental Education Catalyzed by Tourism: Ecoliteracy Initiatives on the Coast of Kenya
- What kinds of sustainable practices are promoted in the select schools, both of which emerged in the context of tourism and are supported to a large extent by tourists, former and present?
- In what ways do students who attend these select schools display environmental literacy?
- In what ways do these initiatives address UN Sustainable Development Goals, as part of what is known as Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)?
3. Background: German and Kenyan Environmental and Educational Policy Frameworks
Germany had already successfully advanced ESD in the context of the UN Decade ESD (Dannenberg and Grapentin 2016). The German National Committee framed the slogan “from project to structure” (2013) to intensify further efforts. The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has followed UNESCO’s call for the implementation of GAP on ESD in all national education systems and launched an extensive process. A National Platform was set up which brings together high-level representatives of politics, academia, industry, and society. Additionally, six expert forums consult the National Platform and developed a National Action Plan for early childhood education, school, vocational education and training, higher education, informal and non-formal learning/youth and local authorities (p. 494).
- The Environmental Management and Coordination Act (1999). This law was “an Act of Parliament to provide for the establishment of an appropriate legal and institutional framework for the management of the environment and for the matters connected therewith” , It “is the framework law on environmental management and conservation. EMCA establishes among others the following institutions; National Environment Management Authority, Public Complaints Committee, National Environment Tribunal, National Environment Action Plan Committees, and County Environment Committees. The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) was established as the principal instrument of government charged with the implementation of all policies relating to the environment, and to exercise general supervision and coordination over all matters relating to the environment. In consultation with the lead agencies, NEMA is empowered to develop regulations, prescribe measures and standards and, issue guidelines for the management and conservation of natural resources and the environment” .
- The Constitution of Kenya (2010), which in Article 10 makes sustainable development and responses to climate change national priorities .
- The Climate Change Act (2016) , which is the “first framework climate law in Africa”  (p. 257). The law requires “the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to integrate climate change into various disciplines and subjects of the national education curricula at all levels”  (pp. 262–263).
- The Energy Act of 2016. As Stephen Mallowah and Christopher Oyier write, “The Act mandates the government to promote the development and use of renewable energy, including biodiesel, bioethanol, biomass, solar, wind and hydropower, among others” .
- The Sustainable Waste Management Bill (2019), which is “An Act of Parliament to establish an appropriate legal and institutional framework for the efficient and sustainable management of waste in the framework of the green economy, the realization of the zero waste goal, the realization of the Constitutional provision on the right to a clean and healthy environment for all, and for connected purposes” .
Ramifications of Tourism in the Diani-Ukunda Area
4.1. Mekaela Academies
- Two farms, comprising in total, of twenty-eight acres, provide grain, fruit and vegetables for students and staff, as well as wood for various projects. Students are taught how to plant, grow, maintain and harvest. (Figure 1.)
- The school operates a poultry farm. (Figure 2.)
- An advanced solar power system, donated by the German company Phoenix Solar AG, generates a substantial part of the schools’ electricity needs; in fact, Likunda Primary School is almost independent of the grid as a result.
- Mekaela Academies has its own workshop for repairs (including welding and carpentry as well as a tailor shop).
- Energy-saving stoves are used in all kitchens.
- Plastic, glass, metal, and paper are collected on the schools’ grounds and brought to a recycling station in Ukunda, where it is sorted.
- Students and employees are encouraged to assist in saving energy by, for example, switching off lights when they are not needed.
- Casuarina trees, a favorite of sustainable agroforestry, are planted on the school grounds. The fast-growing trees are drought-resistant, salt-resistant, and aid against soil erosion. Mekaela uses the durable wood for building purposes.
4.2. Diani Maendeleo Academy
- The learner should be able to conserve the environment
- The learner should understand the causes and effects, consequences
- To know the natural resources distribution
- To identify the climatic changes
- To acquire knowledge of their surrounding
- To describe their ecosystem
- To describe the issues/sustain food security
- To maintain environmental health.”
- All roofs have been equipped with water spouts for rainwater collection and are connected to the school’s twelve water tanks. (Figure 3.)
- Solar panels have been attached to six roofs.
- The Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) project teaches the students how to produce drinkable water. The technology was developed in the early 1990s and involves water-filled plastic bottles that are exposed to solar radiation, whereby the ultraviolet light kills bacteria and makes the water potable .
- The school has a goal to collect all plastic, glass, paper, and metal and bring them to a recycling station in Ukunda.
- Diani Maendeleo grows sukuma, a type of spinach, and cassava on a field behind the school
- In 2013, the school added a fishpond to generate income from the sale of fish. The project, which was funded by the Ministry of Fisheries Development, has not been successful to date; a regular buyer for the harvested fish could not be found and the harvest was often diminished because of theft and other factors (lack of funds for repairs). Presently, the agricultural teacher is charged with addressing these challenges to make the pond viable again. In the meantime, the project still functions as an educational tool.
- In order to increase the availability of food for school meals, Langefeld acquired a greenhouse in 2012. Similar to the fish pond, it is presently non-functional due to the reduced availability of funds resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
4.3. Results from Survey Instruments
4.3.1. Diani Maendeleo Academy
4.3.2. Mekaela Academies
5. Discussion: Main Takeaways
6. Increasing Ecoliteracy: A Ripple Effect of Tourism on the Kenyan Coast
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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Berman, N. Environmental Education Catalyzed by Tourism: Ecoliteracy Initiatives on the Coast of Kenya. Sustainability 2021, 13, 8501. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158501
Berman N. Environmental Education Catalyzed by Tourism: Ecoliteracy Initiatives on the Coast of Kenya. Sustainability. 2021; 13(15):8501. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158501Chicago/Turabian Style
Berman, Nina. 2021. "Environmental Education Catalyzed by Tourism: Ecoliteracy Initiatives on the Coast of Kenya" Sustainability 13, no. 15: 8501. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158501