Environmental awareness among key actors of selected Zambian Schools of Nchelenge District in Luapula Province

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Makoba, Charles
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There are several environmental conditions that have become areas of major concern at global, regional and national levels both in urban and rural areas. These conditions are as a result of environmental degradation such as deforestation, indiscriminate waste disposal, poor health and sanitation, water pollution and land degradation to mention but a few. Environmental mismanagement affects both human beings and other living organisms in different ways, such as outbreaks of diseases like cholera which is very common in Nchelenge district especially Kashikishi settlement and islands where it has become an annual event. Such diseases could be due to unfriendly environmental practices by the local people, who may probably, have very limited knowledge on how to utilize the environment in a more sustainable manner. Despite the increase in documentation and publications on such environmental conditions, public awareness of environmental issues in both primary and secondary schools still leaves much to be desired Most of the environmental related problems- and their consequences are as a result of lack of knowledge and skills related to the environment due to low levels of awareness among actors. Such a situation of low environmental awareness especially among key actors of educational institutions like those of Nchelenge district constitutes a problem which this study focused on. This study aimed at determining environmental awareness in ten selected Zambian schools of Nchelenge district in Luapula province. The study sample was composed of sixty one (61) respondents of which 20 were teachers, 20 pupils, 10 head teachers, 10 parents and one District Education Board Secretary (DEBS). These constituted key actors. The study further sought to determine the type of awareness which actors had about environmental mismanagement in Nchelenge district. It also sought to establish the type of sensitization that had been done concerning the environment in the district. The third objective was to explore actions that pupils, teachers, head teachers and parents could undertake to address environmental mismanagement in their district. The study adopted descriptive exploratory research design and used both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The research instruments that were used to collect data were questionnaires, semi – structured interview schedule and observation checklist. The study found that there were three main types of awareness namely; formal, non – formal and informal. The study established types of sensitizations which include the following; water and sanitation, solid waste management, tree planting, managing of fecal matter in schools and surrounding communities and keeping the environment clean through watering of flowers and plants, litter picking, cleaning the toilets and so on. The study also explored actions that actors could undertake to address environmental mismanagement which includes developing school environmental policies, establishment of clubs and committees, participation by relevant stakeholders, improvement of teachers‟ qualification and provision of adequate teaching and learning resources for environmental education. The study recommends that there is need to scale – up environmental awareness activities in Zambian schools in order to improve people‟s knowledge, skills and values for better management of the environment. There is need to incorporate all relevant stakeholders in promoting environmental awareness in schools and surrounding communities.
Environmental Education-Luapula Province, Zambia , Environmental Awareness-Luapula Province, Zambia