An update on the current developments at Ananda College
GIZ: What has happened at Ananda College after you won the Green Energy Champion title in 2016?
At our school we have two clubs with a strong focus on environmental issues that are part of the Agriculture and Environmental Ministry of our Students Parliament, the Green Energy Champion Club and the UNESCO Club. This ministry is getting technical assistance from the agricultural director of the school. The Green Energy Champion Club has about 250 members, while the UNESCO Club has around 200 members. The members are students from grades 6-12 and meet once a week. For 2018 we want to have discussions to work on a closer cooperation of the two clubs. In the framework of these two clubs we continue to implement the measures of the Green Energy Champion and create awareness for environmental topics at our school. We can conclude that the implementation so far has been very successful and we are looking forward to new opportunities in 2018.
GIZ: What are your plans and targets for 2018 concerning activities related to the program?
In 2018 we have planned to have another “Verdant Fair” in March where we present and sell the goods produced through the biogas and fertilizer generated within the Green Energy program since the last one this December was very successful. Furthermore we will organize a campaign to clean the school, in which both students and parents will get involved. We are very proud that we will have very engaged and committed students for the two clubs in 2018, which will be the driving force of our developments and achievements. The topic environment and green energy will also be incorporated into our “3-day series of awareness” at our school in 2018.
GIZ: What are the main aims of the Agriculture and Environment Ministry under the Student Parliament at the moment and in 2018?
We are planning to implement several different initiatives at Ananda College. The most important ones on our list are a polythene and plastic ban project for our school; this will apply to decorations, bags, lunch sheets and cups for example. Alongside to this we will try to produce sustainable bags for our students that they can use instead and that will also create a feeling of an environmental community. Another project will be container cultivation to make our school greener. For 2018, we will also try to incorporate more local food sources for our canteen to support green agriculture in Sri Lanka. We also want to reestablish the green house at our school in 2018. The school will be divided into “action units” that the students will have to take care of in groups. We are also planning on putting up a notice board with environmental messages in front of the cafeteria to spread the message even further.
GIZ: The project of the Green Energy Champion was supposed to serve as blue print model for other schools. Can you tell us about your developments in this area so far?
We have had several schools contacting us to learn about the competition and what we have achieved here at Ananda College. Last month representatives of the Lumbini College as well as the Rathnavali Balika Vidyalaya came to visit the school grounds and have a look at the projects and improvements at our school. We have also launched a space on our website where people can send us direct questions regarding our project and the developments at our school. It will include a flow chart that shows the various responsibilities within our environmental clubs. That way we are able to react to incoming questions more frequently. For 2018, we have planned to send out invitation letters to several schools across Sri Lanka to come here and get a briefing from us if they wish. This is to pass on our knowledge and create sustainability within the project.
GIZ: Finally it would be interesting to see what where the lessons learnt throughout the project and what would you recommend to other schools who want to become more environmentally friendly?
I would say from a personal perspective I find one of the main priorities should be establishing a proper waste management in the first place. This is the base for a better environment at the school and creates awareness for environmental issues among the students at the same time. We can say that the waste management at our school is 90% successful. It would eventually be more successful at a girl’s school. Throughout the projects time period I can conclude that the only challenges we have faced were of financial kind.
GIZ: What are your wishes for Ananda College in the future?
My wishes for Ananda College are to create mother Ananda a more healthy and pleasant place for all by maintaining a sustainable waste management system.