MOET and UNDP Announce Winners of Green School Campaign for World Environment Day

Jun 5, 2003

Ha Noi - To mark the World Environment Day, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) presented today awards to 71 individual and 41collective winners of the Environmental Education contest 2002-2003.

The competition, launched in October 2002, is part of a national school-greening campaign which has been held for six years with support from the UNDP/Denmark Environmental Education project. The competition coincides with the World Environment Day.

For primary education category, eleven-year-old Le Vu Hong Ngoc from Ha Noi and Nguyen Minh Thu, 11, from Ha Tay won each the competition’s 700,000 VND first prize for their respective paintings “Saving, reusing everyday objects” and “We, children, preserve the water source”.

For lower and upper secondary education category, Nguyen Thi Hong Le, 12, from Ha Tay earned first prize for her painting “Sharing happiness”, while Song A Tenh, 16, from Son La, took the third prize “Co Cham Youth Union visiting Mr. Y Blex on the occasion of Tet ”.

The first story writing prize went to Nguyen Thanh Trung, 14, from Thai Binh for his “Ha’s story”, which featured the collection and donation of old text books by a group of students to support disabled children.

Two first prizes for photographs were awarded to Ha Tay and Khanh Hoa provinces, while Tran Binh Trong Secondary School in Khanh Hoa took out the second prize for video shooting on the theme of saving and sharing.

This year the school-greening campaign with the theme “Sharing with people” was opened to children from primary to secondary education in 61 provinces throughout Viet Nam. It attracted millions of children in about 50 provinces. In addition to drawing and story writing contests, school-greening campaigns also include activities such as tree planting. Between 1993 and1997, for example, school students and teachers planted 95 million trees and reforested 5,500 hectares of barren land. The practical experiences and ideas of the campaign have been documented in a School Greening Guide for Teachers.

Through the campaigns, children use their pencils or brushes to alert the society to environmental degradation that affects their life and their family’s. Many expressed their dream of beautiful and harmonious surroundings. The organizers said they expected young participants to progress from caring about the environment to being able to do something about its destruction.

Jordan Ryan, UNDP Resident Representative, congratulated winners and participants for their creativity and active participation in this contest. He said: “Providing environmental education for the children of Viet Nam is critical for making young citizens –and future leaders – aware of how vulnerable their natural surroundings are and how youth can make a difference. Viet Nam’s children dream of a more beautiful planet and all us need to help these dreams come true.”

Referring to the water crisis in the Central Highlands and its severe impacts on people especially children, Mr. Ryan said the UN and UNDP are helping the Government to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water. With a remarkable increase of 13 per cent in the overall rate of access to safe water over the period of 1998 – 2000, Viet Nam is likely to achieve the MDG target. But those gains have somewhat been offset by population growth, pollution and over-consumption.

But Mr. Ryan said simple and cheap solutions, for example rainwater harvesting, saving by using the amount needed, recycling water or keeping lakes and rivers by not throwing garbage to their bodies, would go a long way towards easing the crisis. “I hope environment loving children can help bring about a change in the mindset of their family and communities,” he noted.

Environmental education was boosted with the endorsement last year by Ministry of Education and Training of the national Policy and Action Plan on Environmental Education. Supported by UNDP and Denmark, the strategy aims to promote greater environmental protection in Viet Nam by helping children in primary and secondary schools to understand and cherish Viet Nam’s natural habitat.

Winning painting, photographs, video and stories are on display at 29 Hang Bai Street, Ha Noi, from 5 to 12 June 2003.

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