6th African RCE Conference sees Youth actively engaging and leads to Action Plans for implementation of the GAP and SDGs

African RCEs met for the sixth time at Kenyatta University Nairobi, Kenya on 24-26 August, 2016. The theme of the conference was ‘Developing Capacities of African RCEs for the Implementation of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD and the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs)’. Hosted by the National Environment Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA) together with the United Nations University - Institute of Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), and RCE Greater Nairobi, the conference was held back to back with the Sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD VI). RCEs also held a side event at TICAD VI, namely 'Strengthening the Role of African RCEs to deliver the SDGs through ESD'. 

Participants from all over Africa joined the event, bringing together experts in the area of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to deliberate and reflect on the fundamental role of ESD as a crosscutting mechanism for achieving the SDGs at the local level.

African RCEs have been meeting annually to discuss capacity development, community-engaged research and implementation of collaborative ESD projects. During the 2015 meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, delegates reflected on the successes, challenges and opportunities of implementing ESD within a post-2015 development agenda. This year’s conference built on the momentum set to formulate these strategies on how to specifically develop capacities of African RCEs to implement the GAP and achieve SDGs in Africa.

In his opening speech, Paul Wainaina, Vice Chancellor at Kenyatta University explained that global challenges are often best managed by networks, with RCEs being a good example on how to achieve ESD in Africa. Goolam Mohamedbhai, Regional Advisor for African RCEs, gave a historical account of how the RCE network was established based on fundamental objectives. He asked the African RCEs to assess whether they were all working in line with these objectives.

Akpezi Ogbuigwe, second Regional Advisor for African RCEs, gave suggestions how African RCEs can be strengthened in order to implement the GAP and the SDGs. She emphasized on simplifying these policy frameworks to address local challenges. Abel Atiti Barasa, researcher at UNU-IAS, added to the discussion by summarizing the objectives of these frameworks.

New African RCE President Elected

Abdul Husaini of RCE Minna, Niger State, emerged as the new president of African RCEs, while Marlene Chikuni of RCE Zomba, Malawi, was elected Vice-President. They will both work as integrators and synergizers within the African network to strengthen and align the region.

Climate Change in Africa was presented by Godwin Nsofor, Chairman of the RCE Minna Research Board. He focused on the Pros and Cons of the African Climate Change discourse. To mark the importance of the events, the session concluded with a tree planting ceremony at the RCE Greater Nairobi Green Park at Kenyatta University.

During one of the parallel sessions, RCE Minna presented two papers, Reviving School Green culture: The RCE Minna Model’ and The Internally Displaced Professionals; Road to Self-Empowerment'.

Youth Plenary Session

On day two of the conference Rob O'Donoghue from RCE Makana showcased multi-stakeholder evaluation tools for framing and reporting ESD scaling in RCEs. For the first time, since the first gathering of African RCEs in 2011, a Youth Plenary Session was held with two representatives presenting different models to engage Youth. Ibrahim Akibu Ja’afaru explained the ‘RCE Minna Model: Empowering and Mobilizing Youth for Sustainable Development’ while Isah Ibn Mohammed illustrated learning solutions in their community via the ‘RCE Minna Doing it Differently Model (RCE Minna DID Model)’.

Other youth panelist included Usman Muhammad from RCE Kano, Nigeria, Kagimu Vianny from RCE Makana, Uganda and Hamisi Tsama Mkuzi, RCE Greater Pwani, Kenya.

The final session focused on the challenges African RCEs face, and a discussion on concrete action plans to implement the GAP and SDGs. Specific attention was given to capacity development and Youth engagement initiatives, as well as potential research collaborations.  

Summary of Conference Outcomes and Recommendations

(1) The majority of RCEs are not reporting to the Global RCE Service Centre. All RCEs were asked to report on their programmes and activities.

(2) African RCEs should initiate collaborative projects and research across their regions.

(3) African RCEs should explore funding opportunities as individual RCEs and as a network, taking serious advantage of the TICAD funds by the Japanese government.

(4) All RCEs should create and integrate active Youth networks.

(5) Monitoring and evaluation of RCEs using the evaluation tool kit, developed by Rob O'Donoghue, was supported. Three RCEs were identified to take the lead here: RCE Greater Nairobi, RCE Greater Eastern Uganda and RCE Minna.

(6) African RCEs should explore capacity development through online courses.

The full NEMA report on this event can be downloaded here.


Photos have been uploaded on facebook.

More presentations will be added soon!

Related media: http://newsherald.com.ng/2016/09/43930/