Dinja Wahda schools awarded on environmental education

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Dinja Wahda schools awarded on environmental education83 primary schools from Malta and Gozo received awards today in recognition of their achievements in environmental education through the Dinja Wahda (One World) education programme.

Dinja Wahda is an environmental education programme for primary schools run by BirdLife Malta with the support of Partner in Education Bank of Valletta and in collaboration with the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE). It includes fun and educational school activities as well as practical projects like recycling and excursions to Malta’s nature reserves.

All the schools had participated in the Dinja Wahda programme in 2011-12 and were rewarded with Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies or a certificate according to the number of activities they completed.

The awards ceremony took place at the launch event for the eighth edition of the Dinja Wahda schools programme in time for the start of the scholastic year 2012-13.

Schoolchildren were excited to receive the award on behalf of their school from the Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Environment, Mario de Marco, and the Minister for Education and Employment, Dolores Cristina.

Speaking at the event, Minister de Marco praised BirdLife’s work and the success of the project in raising environmental awareness amongst young people, noting that “The environment has become a much more important theme for every Maltese and Gozitan family.”

He went on to speak about the importance of creating a sustainable future, describing the essence of Dinja Wahda as “What happens in one country can have an effect in other countries” and urging everyone in the audience to be “ambassadors for Dinja Wahda.”

Education Minister, Dolores Cristina, congratulated the schools and children on their achievements over the last year and noted the great improvements that have been made in environmental education, awareness and practices in schools. The Minister commented on the broader impact of the programme, saying, “The first children who started taking part in Dinja Wahda’s education programme are today parents, who are instilling in their homes and families all that they have learned from [Dinja Wahda].”

Vanessa Macdonald, Head of PR and Social Media at Bank of Valletta, said, “It is important to instill an appreciation of Malta’s diverse flora and fauna in our children, as this will stay with them throughout their lives. The Bank is already doing all it can to reduce its own impact on the environment, but through this sponsorship we are able to ensure that the future generation will also realise the importance of nature.”

In a special activity for the event, children helped to colour in a giant “environmental clock,” with pictures of 12 of Dinja Wahda’s activites for schools in the hour positions on its face. “The image of the clock represents the awareness that Dinja Wahda is raising among children of the need to adopt a lifestyle that protects nature round the clock, whatever we are doing,” explained Desirée Falzon, BirdLife Malta Education Coordinator. “Dinja Wahda empowers young people to do just this by teaching them about the Maltese natural environment and how they can help to protect it through their lifestyle.”

The new edition of the Dinja Wahda Action Guide gives more attention to the topic of biodiversity loss, and introduces new activities that highlight what is special about Maltese flora and fauna.

Schools interested in finding out more about the Dinja Wahda programme should contact BirdLife Malta. Tel: 2134 7644/5 Email: dinjawahda@birdlifemalta.org

Dinja Wahda is Bank of Valletta’s and BirdLife Malta’s environmental education programme for primary schools, carried out in collaboration with the Directorate for Quality Standards in Education (DQSE).

Photo – The Dinja Wahda “environmental clock” after being painted by children as part of a special activity for the event. Photograph by BirdLife Malta.

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