As world leaders convene to take urgent action at the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference, a talented group of secondary students in Egypt are supporting their endeavours by raising climate awareness amongst their peers.
Refugee and host community students supported by Instant Network Schools (INS, Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s digital education programme) have taken part in a series of competitions to build awareness around climate change, its consequences and how everyone can contribute to a more sustainable way of life.
With support from the Ministry of Education, over 360 students worked individually or in teams to submit 193 projects to the contest, which was centred around three climate-themed activities: upcycling, app development, and journalism.
Climate displacement and refugee education
Refugees, internally displaced people and the stateless are often some of the worst affected by the climate emergency. UNHCR reports that around 70% of refugees and 80% of people internally displaced by conflict come from countries that are highly climate vulnerable, experiencing extreme weather events such as prolonged droughts, heat waves and cyclones.
For refugees, access to education is limited, with close to half of all refugee children out of school. With Egypt hosting more than 280,000 registered asylum-seekers and refugees from 60 countries, Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR are rapidly scaling up their INS programme in the country to ensure more refugee students have access to education.
INS gives young refugees, host communities and their teachers access to digital learning content and the internet, improving the quality of education in some of the most marginalised communities. The programme launched in Egypt in October 2021 with 18 schools. By the end of 2023, Egypt will have a total of 40 INS hubs, expanding to different governorates, making it the biggest INS hub in the world.
Competition for the Climate
Congratulations to the 18 individuals involved in the winning projects! Find out more about them below.
For the crafters, an upcycling contest challenged students to transform waste items into usable products that could serve a purpose in daily life. Among the criteria were: can the product be commercialised? and what kinds of waste items were upcycled? Winning ideas included a bag made out of old clothing and a mirror decorated with broken CDs.
For the techies, students were tasked with animating an environmental education story using the Scratch programming environment. Their story had to trigger a behavioural change and showcase everyday actions that anyone could take to help protect the planet. Criteria included: is the code well written? and can it help the wider school community? One of the winners was ‘The Butterflies’ team, who created a short video of a teacher informing her students about the different types of recycling with her students.
For the storytellers, students had to research and identify an environmental-preservation initiative in their community or gather knowledge about recycling and document their action in the form of journalistic content – whether written news, video or photojournalism. Criteria included: is the information credible and verified? And is the article fair and independent? Two winners took homethe prize, including Hager Nasser, who recorded an interview with her professor to discuss methods of protecting the environment.
Vodafone at COP27
Vodafone is a Principal Partner for the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference. As Principal Partner for Communications, Vodafone is working alongside the Egyptian government to provide advanced telecommunications services connecting COP27 and its visitors.
The company is also demonstrating how digital technology can address climate change, use energy more efficiently, deliver a more circular economy and increase food security.
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