Resilience and environmental protection with PfR in Guatemala (and a school trip)
Since the beginning of last year, Partners for Resilience in Guatemala’s Santa Rosa department, through Wetlands International, have trained more than 350 school teachers on how to use new PfR educational modules covering integrated risk management and resilience.
IRM is the basic operational approach of the partnership and incorporates climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and ecosystem management and restoration.
The young students now say they’re more conscious of the importance of environmental protection and the value of the mangroves around their coastal village of Las Lisas in Chiquimulilla municipality.
“The mangrove forests help reduce vulnerability to adverse weather such as storms, sea surges, hurricanes and other natural events that would be more extreme without them in these coastal areas,” said Jorge Ruiz, Wetlands International Technical Coordinator in Guatemala.
“Conserving and restoring the mangrove ecosystem helps provide habitats for many species, improves biodversity and also assist livelihoods.”
In one school, the Instituto Nacional de Educación Básica de Telesecundaria in Las Lisas, near the Pacific coast, the children have been doing their bit to safeguard the environment by collecting bottles for recycling and making souvenirs from recycled material (photo).
They sell them at fairs and to tourists to help pay for the annual school trip, and their work also reduces the need to recycle refuse.
They have joined the global struggle against ‘single-use’ plastic carrier bags: “We now bring our own bags to the store when we do grocery shopping, and we use cloth napkins when we buy tortillas,” says Ashley.
PfR Guatemala – Caritas Zacapa, the Guatemalan Red Cross, CARE, Wetlands International, and the Climate Centre – worked with over 250 schools at national level; in the south-east region of Guatemala, Wetlands International has worked with 156.
The four modules were first developed in 2014 as part of an effort by the PfR programme to help boost community resilience, with assistance from the education and environment ministries and other government agencies overseeing disaster management and protected areas.
(PfR Days for Resilience were held on 27 and 28 February this year in Guatemala City, giving government officials, civil society, universities and the private sector a space in which to talk about resilience and explore possible collaborations.)
Ashley and her school friends Cindy and Irma make souvenirs out of discarded bottles at the Instituto Nacional de Educación Básica de Telesecundaria in Las Lisas. (Photo: Carmen Wilson/CARE)