My Experience at the UNESCO/WWF ESD Workshop in Kenya

A Memorable Experience by Roland Aiwone

It was a rare opportunity to be selected as one of the outstanding youth participants to the First UNESCO/WWF Youth Training Workshop on ESD which took place this February in Nairobi Kenya. The opportunity was shared sometimes in December 2016 on the organization’s Whatsapp group for members to apply.

If you have ever tried your hands on any of those international applications, you will appreciate the vigorous and brain tasking nature of filling out the forms. I gave up at first after filling the application form half-way because I ran out of grammar to continue (laughs). This I believe happened to many volunteers who also tried the application. The lesson I learned from here is that no matter how tasking and rough the way to success may appear to us, we shouldn’t give up.

I returned to the application on the closing date to complete the process because I discovered all that is required of me is not all about the grammar but just to be real in sharing true success stories of my experiences on the outreaches I have been involved in. Eventually, I submitted the application at about 10pm, just two hours to the closing time and behold I received an unbelievable mail a week after, notifying me of my selection!

The experience from the training is unquantifiable as the facilitation, logistics, organization and learning atmosphere were all marvelously put together by the organizers (UNESCO and WWF Kenya) to make the workshop so interesting and worthwhile.

At the workshop, I learned about system thinking-¨The process of understanding how elements of a system influence one another within the whole. We were taught to view problems as parts of an overall system, rather than as isolated parts, outcomes or events.

Another interesting thing I learned is “How to Educate for Sustainable Development.” According to Kofi Annan at the WWF Sweden 2010, he posited that “Our biggest challenge is to put sustainability into the very heart of education.” The workshop brought to our understanding the importance of SDG goal 4(Quality Education) in achieving other 16 goals of the SDGs. ESD is the use of education as a tool to achieve sustainability. ESD is an Education for social transformation with the goal of creating more sustainable societies. Therefore, we must learn to know, to be, to do and to live together- these are the core competences of ESD.

 

Sustainable Leadership was another great lesson learned from the workshop which among other things taught me to be resilient in doing what is right to advance humanity and move the society to the next level. It taught me to stay put to whatever am doing right; I may be standing alone initially, but if am not deterred by whatever forces, people will eventually believe in me, appreciate what am doing and join me.

I also gained immensely from other sessions of the workshop such as Conflict Transformation, Visioning, Networking and Communication Facilitation.

It’s my resolution that lessons learnt from this training will not die inside of me as I am set to share the knowledge obtained from the workshop with my community through One African Child Foundation to ensure that the multiplier effect of ESD is felt in Nigeria and by extension, in African continent and the global arena.

My appreciation goes to UNESCO and The World-Wide Fund for the opportunity given to me to be a beneficiary of this world class training and forever indebted to OneAfricanChild Foundation (One Big Family) for the exposure it has given me so far since I became a volunteer.

Roland Aiwone

Volunteer, OAC, Ibadan.



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