Education for a sustainable ecosystem management
Since the 2014-2015 school year, AMMCO teaches environmental education courses in secondary schools to draw students' attention to issues related to environmental conservation.
During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of the 2017-2018 school year, we taught to more than 1000 students, including 644 at Bilingual High School in Dizanguè, 265 at St Gérard College, and nearly 200 at Mouanko Technical High School. Notions related to the management of Lake Ossa Wildlife Reserve (LOWR), the conservation of the manatee, freshwater turtles and others were studied during this program, in order to awaken an ecological awareness and an interest in environmental issues. AMMCO carries out this activity through a program of environmental education lectures contained in a manual of 7 lessons, and interactive teaching materials that allow the students to acquire knowledge in a fun way, but also allows to assess their progress level of understanding the importance of nature conservation.
At the beginning of this program, a questionnaire was administered to the students, with the objective to assess their level of knowledge regarding biodiversity conservation. Then the courses. Using the textbook, an appointed student reads the lesson while the lesson is projected as a Power Point presentation. During the reading time, the Environmental Education’s teacher pauses for explanations or to answer questions, in order to clarify the gray areas or to discuss points that could generate a debate. The students' concerns generally revolve around: the knowledge of the African manatee, i.e. its biology, its diet, its population, etc. How is a protected area managed? The value of preserving the biodiversity; certain phenomena occurring in the lake such as eutrophication or siltation...
At the end of each lesson, students are re-evaluated using the same questionnaire template that was proposed at the beginning to compare their level of knowledge before and after the class. To do this, we use "ActivInspire", a digital tool that allows teachers to deliver animated lessons through rich, dynamic and interactive activities, captivating student attention and combining real-time evaluation with the implementation of case studies as part of the learning process. Specifically, we assign Kits or “Activote” Units to each student, who will answer the questions posed in the form of Multiple Choice Questions (QMs) by a voting system. The recorded answers immediately give the percentage of success, presented in the form of diagrams, which can be classified in Excel spreadsheets.
The environmental education courses that we provide in the schools of the districts of Dizanguè and Mouanko are part of the project titled: “The effective involvement of local communities in the conservation of the African manatee living in the Lake Ossa and the Douala-Edéa Wildlife Reserve. The main objective is to improve the knowledge and sensitize a little more than a thousand students in the Lake Ossa and Douala-Edéa Wildlife Reserve about the protection of the environment, the conservation of manatees and their habitat, and to involve them (population) in the restoration of forest habitat.