“I want to be able to teach my family about energy efficiency in our household so that we can contribute to a greener future of Sri Lanka” (School student during the TOT workshop)
More than half of Sri Lanka’s energy needs are still met by fossil fuels; though a shift to renewable energies is gaining more and more importance in the country. The Federal Foreign Office supports Sri Lanka’s ambitions to promote renewable energies by providing access to easily comprehensible information and by sensitising the general public for a more conscious use of energy with the Green Energy Champion project implemented by GIZ.
As part of this engagement the Green Energy Champion project has partnered with Janathakshan (GTE) Ltd. a not for profit organization that promotes the use of green energy technology in Sri Lanka. On 27th and 28th November Janathakshan conducted a ToT (Training of trainers) Workshop in Bandarawela, Uva Province to spread the word on the need of energy efficiency and to build up a network of green energy ambassadors who will take the message further.
The workshop is part of a series of ToT programs in selected schools of all nine provinces, which includes two workshops per province and 50 trainers in each province. The ToT Workshop is a teaching approach tailor made for 17 and 18 year-old secondary school students to introduce Green Energy technologies in an early stage of education. This is done to enhance awareness, knowledge and enthusiasm on renewable energy and energy efficiency among youth groups in Sri Lanka as well as to motivate the students to engage in simple energy conserving practices individually. After participating in the workshop, the trained students will then be able to conduct another 10 workshops in their provinces. As a result 90 awareness workshops will reach at least 2700 students.
Each of the selected schools have “Renewable Energy Clubs” established which will then serve as a framework to further introduce renewable energy systems at the schools by the trained students. This is done by developing their own module and conducting a pilot project which will be guided and supported by Janathakshan. This may include solar rooftops, biogas, energy efficient school lighting, composting and home gardening projects, and more.
In Bandarawela 30 students from different schools took part in the two-day workshop. Participating in these trainings is entirely on a volunteer basis. What motivates the young people to spend extra time on training work? “I want to become an engineer in the future and hope to get a better insight into techniques for renewable energies”, was one of the answers often heard. Many of them also expressed their concerns about the waste management and energy efficiency in their home towns and schools which is why they want to do something about it.
They claimed that they would want to learn about foreign technologies in order to bring them to the rural areas and make Sri Lanka’s energy and waste management greener in the long run. How do the trainings help with that, one of the participants was asked – “This workshop enables me to dig further into the field of green and renewable energies and gives me the opportunity to take action in this framework in rural areas”.
After the lectures the students were split into smaller review groups to discuss possible ways to implement and teach what they just learnt at their schools. Changing the mindset of people and familiar patterns of energy usage is a long journey but the motivated young crowd gathered in this workshop is a promising small step to a greener future in Sri Lanka.