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Bulgaria / Greece – WECF Project Healthy Schools

School children are given the opportunity to learn about their environment and possible ways to improve and protect it by developing their own ideas.

19.04.2010 | WECF Project


Countries: Bulgaria, Greece
Donors: European Commission DG-Environment
Partners: Earth Forever Foundation, Bulgaria, Clean up Greece
Issues: Chemicals & Health
Duration: 09/2007 - 02/2010

The pilot project aims to involve school children in two EU countries (Bulgaria and Greece) in dealing with environmental challenges in their direct environment. School children are given the opportunity to learn about their environment and possible ways to improve and protect it by developing their own ideas. The activities are related to WHO Children's Health and Environment Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE).

The following schools are participating

  • in Bulgaria: Romain Rolland Language School, Stara Zagora and Language High School, Pleven;
  • in Greece: Lykeio Kallitheas, Athens, and Fryganiotis Private School, Salonica.

Accompanying organizations: Earth Forever Foundation, Bulgaria and Clean up Greece, WECF. The project is funded by the European Commission, DG Environment.

Background:

The WHO Children's Health and Environment Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE) is a document for policy makers addressing environmental risk factors that most affect the health of European children. It was developed at the request of Member States and adopted by European Ministers at the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (2004) on "The future for our children". This action plan highlights the main commitments on children's health and environment and focuses on the four CEHAPE Regional Priority Goals (1-Water & Sanitation, 2-Air Quality, 3-Accidents, Injuries & Physical Activity, 4-Chemicals, Noise, other Physical Agents & Occupational Health). See: http://www.euro.who.int/childhealthenv/policy/20020724_2

The latest developments in the CEHAPE process emphasis the importance of schools and their healthy environment.

Objectives:

WECF aims to reach out to schools, teachers and particularly children, to get them aware of and involved in the creation of a healthy school environment.
The pilot projects and their assessments are all geared towards a presentation of results, by student representatives themselves, at the Ministerial Meeting (Parma 2010) and/or at the related youth conferences.

Activities:

  • Each school works in a form best-suited to their needs, in cooperation with the WECF member NGOs, to achieve the goal of integrating CEHAPE into the curriculum in an interactive way. Schools can have small working groups of students and teachers identifying environmental challenges in the school, based on one or more of the four CEHAPE Regional Priority Goals. The groups will then work to develop concrete and practical solutions to the identified challenges.
  • Present the results of the 2008-2009 activities carried out by the pupils of the 4 schools, at the international environment and health youth conference, which will be held in preparation of the ministerial conference (location: either Poland or Hungary).
  • The schools will submit their best projects for the CEHAPE an award at the 2009 Ministerial Conference in Parma (funding pending)

Expected results:

Schools:

  • Projects that raised awareness of environmental challenges concerning the school environments
  • Awareness among the pupils, the teachers and the parents
  • Development of (possible) solutions to these challenges
  • Presentation at regional, national and international level

WECF and partners:

  • A model for upscaling to other schools in Bulgaria and Greece, as well as other EU countries, has been developed
  • 600 policy makers present at the ministerial Conference on Health and Environment, 2009, Italy, have learned about the model and its cost and benefits, and possibility for replication in other countries

Contact persons:

Bulgaria: Diana Iskreva, Earth Forever Foundation
Greece: Carla Baer Manolopoulou, Clean up Greece
WECF: Sonja Haider

Results schoolyear 2007/2008:

Bulgaria: Language High School, Pleven

A survey was made about the current sanitation situation in Bulgarian schools, based on a questionnaire to school managements and interviews with students and teachers. The summarized information was visualized in posters, a multimedia presentation and a 3D model of the „wish school toilet“. On the World Water Day the materials and findings were presented publicly and got covered in newspapers.

Bulgaria: Romain Rolland Language School, Stara Zagora

The survey was made according to Pleven, but with additional activities: Photos were made about school toilets in Stara Zagora and others in comparison at a school visit to France and Germany. A multimedia presentation and a short documentary were shown to interested public and highlighted, that „a clean school toilet is not a luxury, it is a human right“.

Earth Forever and the project groups presented the results of these activities to the central governmental institurions in Sofia.

Greece: Lykeio Kallitheas, Athens

The school has chosen the issue „noise pollution“ and „bioclimatic buildings“ for their activities.

Noise pollution is the first issue. The students presented the problem of noise and noise pollution, its sources as well as its consequences. The sound and the role of acoustics were developed at first. Noise pollution in the city and the role of the European Union regarding this problem is presented next. Surveys were made based on a questionnaire about the degree of irritation because of noise pollution. Measurements of noise in the school environment and the surrounding streets were made. Dealing with the problem of noise, medical prevention, noise from the vehicles, control of the noise from the motorbikes in Greece are the themes developed afterwards. Protection measures against noise in the school environment and in the city.

Bioclimatic Buildings was the second issue. Bioclimatic Architecture, basic elements to be considered, natural ways of airing the buildings, suggestions for renovating the yard, and ways of saving energy are the themes developed. Finally, photo material is presented showing the situation before and after the renovation.

Greece: Fryganiotis Private School, Salonica

„Health and safety at school“ was one of the issues, which were explored in depth. Information on accidents related to schools in Greece was gathered and prevention as a tool discussed with its potentials and challenges. The pupils than explored their school environment and studied the potential hazards, like during commuting to school, fire protection, structural building hazards inside and outside, safety of the experiment room and problems during school excursions. The comprehensive report includes also photos showing clearly the risks.

„Problematic ingredients of cosmetics“ has been the second issue. The summary explains the problem of hazardous chemicals in various cosmetic items. Certain substances were studied and documented with their use in products, their potential hazard and negative health effects.

Both projects were presented at the annual Youth Conference in Athens on the 9th of March 2009.



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