Partnering with HÄAGEN-DAZS® JAPAN to expand environmental protection education with KIT MAD’ERE

In October 2020, HÄAGEN-DAZS® JAPAN teamed up with Aust & Hachmann Canada Ltd., GIZ, JHA Fund, and CISCO (Circonscriptions Scolaires / Government School Districts of Madagascar) to increase the number of teachers trained and resourced in the environmental education program called “KIT MAD’ERE”, with the aim to expand the amount of school children reached in the vanilla growing communities of “the Sava”. (Sambava, Antalaha, Vohemar et Andapa).

“KIT MAD’ERE” MAtériel Didactique pour l’Education Relative à l’Environnement (Educational Materials for Environmental Education), is a tool for primary schools developed by the GIZ and the École Normale Supérieure University of Antananarivo to improve teaching methods and introduce environmental education into the primary learning program.  The program aims to support primary school teachers to work more effectively by compiling teaching tools in one easy to carry satchel and equipping teachers with stimulating materials for their pupils, including effective visual aids that help them to introduce environmental education into the school curriculum.

Aust & Hachmann Canada Ltd. and JHA Fund are grateful to HÄAGEN-DAZS® JAPAN for supporting our environmental education goals as part of our objective in mutual development. This values the insights and culture of the farmers and their villages as key inputs to improving farming community livelihoods, the local environment, and sustainable and quality vanilla. Teaching children in the Sava to safeguard the environment will make it possible to continue growing the supply of quality sustainable/traceable vanilla and to improve longer-term grower incomes, now and into the future.

Challenges addressed

Madagascar’s environment holds incredible diversity and beauty. The widespread clearance of forests, primarily for firewood and charcoal production, is jeopardizing the island’s habitats. As a result, several unique species such as lemurs and chameleons that have evolved on the island nation over millions of years may become extinct before the end of the century. Population growth reinforces the increased needs for food, amplifying the practice of unsustainable farming activities. Every year the environment in Madagascar is badly destroyed by artificial fires. Burning lands and forests is a tradition in Madagascar (“slash and burn” locally known as tavy). The destruction of the environment will soon reach the point of no return and so communities need to be supported to protect the environment. The best way to do this is through proper education, beginning in primary schools and continuing through to the university level.

Loss of rainforest cover over the centuries

Project basics

JHA Fund’s trained trainers host 5-day workshops for school teachers in the Sava region. The teachers leave with training and a KIT, filled with materials designed to be easily incorporated into school lessons, to teach their students year after year. Two teachers share a KIT during the course and at the end of the training, the KIT MAD’ERE satchels are allocated to the school at which they work.

The KIT MAD’ERE consists of 16 elements—made of simple, easy-to-find raw materials like cardboard, fabric, paper, wood, glue, velcro, pins, painting jars and colored pencils—inside a big zipped backpack, weighing around 10 kg. The posters included are used to initiate classroom discussions and educate pupils about environmental issues, while the pockets on the inside of the backpack hold hand drawn pictures on cardboard of flora, vegetation, community and environmental activities. Other pictures can be added by the students as they learn and participate. Capital and lower case letters of the alphabet and numbers are also kept inside these inner pockets of the bag. Creativity and enthusiasm are encouraged to heighten learning that transcends the classroom and improves critical and creative thinking skills.

Project goals

The project aims to strengthen the capacity of Malagasy communities to protect the environment, starting from the elementary school level. In the long-term, the program hopes to create a generation of environmentally aware citizens that improve the forest and protected area and help the vanilla farms to thrive.

  • At least 100 teachers trained per school year
  • Over 6,000 students being exposed to this program per year (each classroom has approximately 50-80 students)
  • Long-term deforestation prevention and environmental protection as children are taught to value and protect the land

Current status

Thanks to HÄAGEN-DAZS® JAPAN we successfully expanded the use of KIT MAD’ERE in October of this year. JHA’s local representative Ertice Iarozafy and his assistant Romela Razafindravanona, provided an intensive 5-day training course for 22 primary school teachers in remote and under-resourced schools in the bush.

Ertice Iarozafy: KIT MAD’ERE Trainer/JHA Fund Consultant

Each pair of teachers is given a new KIT Mad’ERE to take back to the classroom with them. JHA fund representatives continue to follow up with the teachers to make sure that the KITS are complete, undamaged and used on a regular basis. Once the teachers have been trained and return to their students with the KITS, the real learning begins. Children touched by the KIT MAD’ERE program will now be taught from a young age about the benefits of safeguarding biodiversity through forest cover maintenance and restoring degraded areas. The hope is that they will share this information with their parents, families and friends, thereby reinforcing the importance of protecting the environment as a societal norm.

Easy to carry satchel

Total measured outcomes to date

  • 4 certified “train the trainers” of the KIT MAD’ERE Program
  • 48 total elementary school teachers trained in the KIT MAD’ERE methodology since 2015
  • 24 KIT MAD’ERE backpacks distributed and taken back to community classrooms in the SAVA region
  • With the 48 trained teachers so far, this converts to around 3000 students per year being exposed to KIT MAD’ERE in the vanilla region (primary level classes host anywhere from 50-80 students per classroom).
Training Certificate

Next steps

JHA Fund’s trainers plan to continue expanding training, aiming to reach 100 teachers each year. This is a great opportunity for the SAVA region’s youth to be involved in a citizen project relating to sustainable living while learning to reduce pressures on biodiversity. The KIT MAD’ERE education builds knowledge and skills necessary to address complex environmental issues as well as ways that they can take action to keep the atmosphere healthy and viable for the future.

Since 2013 JHA fund has been working in Antalaha on adaption to climate issues in the context of development cooperation and that has enabled them to integrate climate fixes both in their planning tools and their development activities. This KIT MAD’ERE project with GIZ is one more project that JHA fund hopes to maintain for years to come.

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