National educational project SPARE in Belarus launched

In a unique partnership project Norges Naturvernforbund contribute to unite governmental and non-governmental organisations in a makeover for environmental education in Belarus. 26th of March SPARE was launched as a national project on energy and climate education in Belarus.

26th of March SPARE was launched as a national project concerning energy and climate education in Belarus. Joint efforts from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Environment, and educational and environmental organisations will provide education about the environment, energy and climate a real boost, and ensure dissemination on a national level in the project period 2008-2011.

The project launch was arranged by Republican environmental center for kids and youth, and was attended by 80 participants. The launch was attended by representatives from the national ministries on Education and Environment, project partner organisations, and representatives from the educational sector throughout Belarus. From the Norwegian side Isabel Kemp from the Norwegian embassy in Kiev was present, as well as Yngvild Lorentzen from Norges Naturvernforbund.

 

SPARE – www.spareworld.org
Norges Naturvernforbund has developed the educational project SPARE, which is the biggest educational project on environment, energy and climate in the world. It is at present implemented in 16 countries, most of which in former Soviet Union. 300 000 pupils and 5000 teachers participate in the project during the educational year 2008/2009.

The project persists of three main components: theoretical education, concrete actions for energy saving at schools and at home, as well as informing the local society about the achievements. All pupils are invited to participate in an international competition every year. Training of teachers is also an important part of SPARE, as teachers in all countries lack sufficient knowledge on issues related to energy, climate and the environment in order to conduct up do date education regarding these issues.

 

ImageSPARE in Belarus
A main part of the SPARE project in Belarus will be adapting the project materials to Belarus conditions, together with producing a work book for pupils and a teachers’ programme. Training programmes for teachers will be developed, and concrete energy saving measures for schools will also be among the projects’ activities. A demonstration site established in Volma by International Sakharov Environmental University will be further developed for demonstration of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Dissemination of information to society through the pupils and libraries is also a key element of the project, along with development of a web site with electronic information resources.

Beside the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Environment, the implementing partners in the project are: the Republican environmental center for kids and youth, the International Sakharov Environmental University, the Radiotechnical college, as well as NGO's Birdlife Belarus and Ecoproect.

 

Belarus looks for energy saving solutions
The current energy situation in Belarus might potentially develop into a crisis for the country. Belarus has few national energy sources and depends on import, mainly from Russia. Belarus has inherited the Soviet style of energy management, with focus on large-scale heat and electricity production and central distribution of energy. Old and inefficient systems for production and distribution of energy are combined with very poor conditions for buildings. The energy consumption per GDP is 1.5-2 times higher than in developed countries with similar climatic conditions and economical structure.

After the increasing gas prices in 2007, because of the end of subsidized gas from Russia, the Belarusian authorities have reached out to other countries and initiatives. A presidential decree (decree number 3) was issued in 2007, urging all sectors to save energy.

 

Belarus educational sector as a lighthouse on energy saving
The SPARE project is one of the first national projects implemented in cooperation with both the government and the civil society as mutual partners. This is a major development for the green movement in Belarus, and a giant leap from the Belarusian authorities. A main aim for the project is to contribute to a more sustainable energy development in Belarus, and make the educational sector a lighthouse for this development.

Contact person in Norges Naturvernforbund:

Yngvild Lorentzen, yl(a)naturvern.no