The Green Teacher Initiative (GTI)
Environmental Sustainability has emerged as the most significant challenge faced by the planet earth. Over the years environmental issues are compelling the social scientists, academicians, scientists and policy makers of global village to find out sustainable solutions to combat these challenges. These environmental problems are causing huge economic, socio-cultural and natural resource losses. But still their biggest challenge today is environmental pollution, conspicuous consumption patterns, excessive use of natural resources and ever increasing ecological footprints.
Academia plays a significant role in social development, economic growth and transformation of society. For the last few decades the role educators to contribute towards sustainable development education is felt like never before. Realizing this United Nations has taken a very important initiative “UN Decade on Sustainable Development Education 2005-2015”. This involves a range of awareness, academic and research activities around the world.
Capitalizing on this intervention Indus Foundation for Human Development launched a self funded environmental education initiative “Green Teacher Initiative-II 2005-15”. This initiative focuses on capacity enhancement of male and female teachers from public and private educational institutions from urban and rural setting. The tasks forming part of the program are mostly performed by the team comprising of Gold Award Holders, Award Volunteers and Award Management of Quaid College .
The Green Teacher Initiative (GTI) is a community based project of Indus Foundation for Human Development and logistical supported by Quaid College Lahore in continuation to its Water for Life Activities by celebrating International Decade for Action “Water for Life”. It provides training, research and volunteering opportunities to teachers, gold award holders and youth workers. The youth leaders of educational institutions having award units in Pakistan and community based schools of the areas are involved in project activities. Firstly, in field visits, secondly in teachers training and finally in action oriented activities like clean ups and awareness tasks.
As for as, the project cost is concerned; it is supported and funded by Indus Foundation for Human Development. At the moment the project is in its fifth continuous year, which is a remarkable success. Its sustainability is due to a very dedicated team comprised of Project Director, Project Coordinator, Admin Officers, Field Staff, Training Coordinator, Event Coordinator and a devoted group of volunteers who are serving continuously. GTI-II offers a unique learning opportunity for teachers and youth workers on real challenges faced by mankind especially environmental sustainability and to contribute towards their mitigation through environmental literacy, environmental education and eventually on sustainability education.
A community that can face with the challenges of knowledge explosion, technological development can only emerge with a shared vision of committed leadership having educated and cultured citizenship. The prime objective of launching GTI, is to enable the community to demonstrate a positive attitude toward environmental sustainability and to transform the same to the future generations.
Pakistan is a blessed country due to many reasons like: rigged mountains, longest glaciers, varied culture, natural and built heritage, vibrant society, unique ecological setting and above all human capital of 180 million. But we are facing with acute environmental challenges due to lack of planning, excessive sue of natural resources and living patterns. GTI will have optimum affect years after its commencement for the purpose of sustainable living and growth.
So far over 2000 teachers/community activists got training(s) under the project and causing positive trickle down effects on the young people at different educational institutions. This involves in-house sessions on environmental sustainability, field visits and group works. They translated their learning to the students and other youth circles. Approximately 5000+ young people got its benefit indirectly. These teachers/young activists are disbursing this important information to their communities.
Most of the trainees knew very little about environmental sustainability and “UN Decade for Sustainable Development and Education”. They were following lavish living style with very high ecological footprints. They use to waste water, electricity, etc., but after the training they are following green living patterns and volunteering for awareness on basic concepts, issues and practices on Sustainable Development and Education. They realized the importance of the concepts of environment like reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Project team, youth workers and teachers are got real motivation from the training and reflected as:
“Green Teachers Initiative brought sustainability in my vision, though and understanding”
Mr. Shahbaz Noor
Gold Award Holder and GTI Trainee
“GTI helped me to re-think on and change my living patterns”
Ms. Farkhanda Jabeen
“Training of sustainable education brought a paradigm shift in my way of to look at the future of the world”
Mr. Ahmad Babry
Gold Award Holder and GTI-Event Coordinator
“It highlighted the importance of sustainable education which is the need of time”
Mr. Bilal Mehmood
Gold Award Holder and GTI-Trainer
“GTI maximized my knowledge and foreseeing ability, developed my interest in environmental education, and enriched me to offer solutions and ideas to environmental challenges”
Mr. Asim Rashid