Role of school based clubs in addressing environmental threats in the Nile Basin, case of Jinja District, Uganda
Nderitu, Ruth Wanjiru
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This study sought to examine the different ways in which secondary school based clubs in Jinja District, Uganda addressed Nile basin environmental threats. The ultimate goal of the study was to enhance secondary school based clubs capacity to address the environmental threats in Uganda effectively. Primary data was collected through use of questionnaires, Focus Group Discussions (FGD), photographs and observation methods from selected secondary schools. Secondary data was gathered from records and literature in the Ministry of Education and Sports, schools, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Uganda, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and internet. Appropriate descriptive and inferential analysis was done. Results indicate that there were several secondary school based clubs in Uganda. They included national clubs, subject based and religious organizations. Majority of the student respondents joined the clubs through invitation by their friends, wanted to participate in environmental issues or were curious to know what was going on in the club. The clubs collaborated with local communities, NGOs, government, other school based clubs and neighbouring schools. The clubs frequently carried out cleanups, tree planting and discussions and most club members participated in these activities. Local communities were sensitized on energy saving, deforestation, hygiene and proper waste management through seminars. The study revealed that clubs mostly addressed threats related to unclean water, deforestation and environmental diseases. However, they rarely addressed issues related to destruction of breeding sites, over fishing, damming, growth of waterweeds, reclamation' of wetlands, siltation of dams and flooding. Clubs were useful in creating awareness, advocacy, conservation, maintenance of school environment and in projects establishment. The clubs also helped to establish relationships, built leadership skills and brought unity in the schools. Major challenges to the school based clubs were financial, poor timetabling of the clubs' activities, lack of motivation and necessary facilities among others. The study recommends increased funding, training on Environmental Education (EE) and integration of EE in secondary school curriculum. Other recommendations include support from government and school administration, encouraging collaboration and partnership, motivation and positive reinforcement, adherence to time allocated for the clubs, establishment of projects to raise funds and provision of facilities and equipment such as trips and literature among others.
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