The role on non-formal enviromental Education in Empowering Civil Servants to Conserve the enviroment in Thika District , Kenya
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The attaining of Kenya's Vision 2030, is dependent on nature for essential eco system services including water, food, healthy soils, water and air purification, and climate regulation. In Thika District due to an unprecedented rise in human population and unsustainable patterns of production .and consumption, communities' livelihoods are being challenged in all areas including human health, economic and social systems and not less importantly inequitable distribution of shared resources and development. Although environmental sustainability is a relatively new concept in Africa, top among the priorities in Kenya's National Development Plan are improving the health and prosperity of Kenyan families and safeguarding the natural environment for important economic and spiritual benefits. Government personnel in Thika District need Environmental Education that will equip them with knowledge, skills and relevant attitude to maintain a balance between quality of life and quality of the environment. This study therefore sought to find out the role of non-formal environmental education on participation in environmental conservation among civil servants in Thika district. The objectives of the study were to: determine the effects of frequency of offer of non-formal EE on the target group's level of environmental awareness; investigate the effects of nonformal EE delivery methods on their level of environmental awareness, and; examine the relationship between environmental awareness and level of participation in environmental conservation. The study used a descriptive survey design targeting civil servants and Thika County and Municipal Councilors in decision making and implementing positions in Thika district. The sample for the study was all the 64 heads of government departments and Thika County and Municipal Councilors whose details were obtained from the District Commissioner. A questionnaire was used as the main tool for data collection. The study fmdings that the 26 (40.6%) who have received non-formal environmental education more than thrice a year 16 (25%) have high awareness levels while 10 (15.6%) have very -high levels of awareness confirm the hypothesis that environmental awareness levels are improved by frequent non-formal EE. Although 54% of the respondents felt dissatisfied with the content and delivery of the non-formal EE they received while, 46.9% indicated that they had not received written materials on environmental conservation; the study established that all non-formal EE programmes and written materials had positive effect on awareness especially when used in combination. 27 (42.1%) who have high awareness and 10 (15.6%) who had very high awareness participate in environmental conservation activities compared to 9 (14.0%) high awareness and 7 (10.9%) very high awareness who do not participate in environmental conservation activities. This therefore indicates that environmental awareness has a significant effect on one's participation in environmental conservation. That non-formal EE will give the target group ability to integrate environmental sustainability into development, in Kenya's march towards Vision 2030 ..