Environmental awareness and capacity building
are among the top priority issues mentioned in the Sohag Governorate Environmental
Action Plan (GEAP). Caritas, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), approached
SEAM with a request to support the development of an environmental curriculum
and teaching material for literacy classes. Caritas had worked with literacy
classes for children and adults in many rural communities where it received
requests to include environmental issues in their teaching programme.
For many years, Caritas has been active in non-formal
education in Sohag Governorate, where the illiteracy rate has progressively
declined to around 36%. It organises literacy classes in 150 villages that
are attended by over 3,000 students. It also provides teacher training
to women from the villages, who use these skills for literacy education
. A literacy programme is usually initiated when there is a demand from
the village community
A major issue arising from consultations for the
Sohag Governorate Environmental Action Plan was the lack of environmental
awareness. Without awareness, entrenched practices in rural and urban communities,
such as dumping refuse in canals and drains are having a negative impact
While environmental education is now covered in
primary schools, it has not been part of literacy classes that are attended
by children and adults who have either dropped out of school or who never
went to school. In villages where Caritas worked, a number of the less
educated villagers expressed an
interest in improving their understanding of
the adverse effects of their habitats on the environment. Literacy classes
provided an appropriate entry point to improve this understanding and can
complement public and personal health classes already taught.
Most Caritas literacy classes are attended by
women. They are a good target group for environmental education, as they
are often responsible for waste handling, and they play an important role
in raising the awareness of their children on hygiene and health issues.
In summary the following issues were addressed
in the context of this project:
To develop an environmental course tailored to the
needs of those attending literacy classes.
To promote a better understanding of the adverse
effects of pollution on their living environment.
To try and change entrenched bad practices that cause