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Momentum for Change


Project Background

 

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Location,  Sub Saharan Africa & SIDS, Seychelles

Date project established: January 2010

The republic of Seychelles is vulnerable to particular climate change effects and challenges which include sea level rise, increase in sea surface temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns with short periods of heavy rainfall during the rainy season and severe droughts during the dry season being a common occurrence. These effects have adverse impacts on the health and functioning of ecosystems and consequently on the wellbeing of humans as they affect the social and economic systems that are central to human existence.

 This problem of water scarcity is further compounded by the ever increasing demand for water occasioned by increased economic and social development as well as population growth. To address this, the country invested heavily in the construction of reservoirs and desalination plants, but this didn’t help but instead skyrocketed the use of fossil fuel which only helped to emit more GhGs. Increased school population and the local educational campaign to green school grounds, resulted in increased demand for water resulting in high water bills.
 
In an effort to address this and at the same time demonstrate adaptation to climate change in Schools, the UNEP/UNDP CC-DARE project with financial support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), assisted Seychelles with a timely-targeted rainwater harvesting project.

The objectives were to harvest rain water from school roofs so as to meet the needs of selected schools and to reduce the cost of water bills, educate school children on the impact of climate change on our water resources and on the methods used to adapt to climate change, raise awareness among the general public on climate change impacts on the Seychelles and on rainwater harvesting as a means of adapting to water problems caused by climate change and finally share the water harvesting experiences of the schools with other organizations.

The Environmental Education Unit in collaboration with the Environment Department, the Water Division in Public Utility cooperation, and  the  Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S), Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF)  and Sea Level Rise Foundation all  NGO partners  implemented the project helping build the capacities of citizens in the country and the CC-DARE provided the requisite technical backstopping that ensured the projects implementation progressed as per the plan and the project objectives were achieved. The project soon moved from schools to communities.



Mitigation and/or Adaptation

 

The outputs of this project enabled the school for the first time to make a saving of US$ 250 on water bills monthly registered by the schools. These savings are now been invested in the improvement of the schools such as the school environment , infrastructures and buying learning resources which are very much needed after the strong IMF economic reform. The Water harvested at the school is now being used for school gardens, clean ups and toilets as well as during the dry seasons when there is water restriction. This project has addressed MDG Goal 2, 3, 7, & 8. This project is also assisting in the capacity building of teachers on climate change.

The success of this project has created opportunities for other climate change adaptation initiatives. For instance, within the Seychelles, the Department of Environment and the Publicity Utility Cooperation (PUC) are already using this project as a means to sensitize and educate the general public on climate change. In addition, the Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S)  is using the project to promote rain water harvesting at the community level. The schools in the community are being used as models for community demonstrations.

The Ministry of Education, with the support of the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC), Sustainability for Seychelles, Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), Department of Environment and the Sea Level Rise Foundation is building on the successful CC DARE implemented project and further helping schools carry out the project. The project has been recognized by both government and the NGOs as an example of best practices for climate change adaptation by local, regional and international organizations. Following national relevance of demonstration action, government of Seychelles is encouraging rainwater harvesting as a means to climate change adaption and mainstreaming it in environment and sustainable development plans of the country. This is an indication that rainwater harvesting is a sustainable intervention against climate change to the extent that it can be incorporated into the environmental management strategies of a country. (http://www.nation.sc/index.php?art=20152).  

The prospect of rainwater harvesting being development plans of the Seychelles is an indication that this sustainable development principle will soon be integrated into a national development policy of a country and this relates to MDG 7. In addition, the project has attracted collaboration from the Ministry of education, the Environment Department, as well as a couple of NGOs including the PUC, Sustainability for Seychelles, Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), the Sea Level Rise Foundation and the Environment Trust Fund of Seychelles to implement similar projects in other schools. The project is also being extended to cover some public institutions such as district administration headquarters, clinics/hospitals and social centers in some districts to benefit communities in these districts.

This is a true testament that small but well-timed and targeted interventions can have significant impact in moving policies forward and spurring development of larger efforts- an important aspect in the transition from demonstration to policy actions.

Measurements:

  • reduction of monthly water bills of the schools by about $250 USD as direct savings on school budgets
  • availability of water  prevention of risks of waterborne diseases outbreaks among pupils and teachers
  • illustration of economic benefits of the adaptation action to the national healthcare system
  • Partnerships have been built with the Water and Sewage Division of the Public Utility Cooperation in the provision of sensitization materials on water treatment and management
  • project assisting in capacity building of teachers on climate change
  • The training and capacity building workshops involved teaching and non-teaching staff from 6-7 schools. Over 400 teachers have been trained.
  • In the participating schools, the children had the opportunity to participate in a variety of climate change activities which helped them understand the relationship between climate change and water better.
  • Build vocational skills of young people to take actions to adapt to climate change


Social Benefits

 

As a result of this projects’ success, rainwater harvesting has now been incorporated into the new national climate change strategy and is also being incorporated into the new Environment Management Plan of the Seychelles. A direct benefit of this project has been a saving of US$ 250 on water bills registered by the schools. These funds are now been invested in the improvement of the schools teaching and learning resources. By providing water in schools, the project ensures that children who go to school learn without any interference that would result from frequent water shortages. In this sense, it contributes to some extent toward the achievement of MDG 2 and 3 which relate to access to primary and secondary education. The prospect of rainwater harvesting being included sustainable development plans of Seychelles is an indication that this sustainable development principle will soon be integrated into a national development policy of a country and this relates to MDG 7.

The provision of safe water at the school means a reduction in the risk of contracting water borne diseases among the pupils, teachers and other users. This reduction constitutes an improvement in the health standards of this area to bring the residents of this area at par with those living in areas of higher social standing where water borne diseases are not prevalent. Secondly, the achievement of the project objectives addresses millennium development goals (MDGs) 2, 3, 7 & 8. MDG 2 deals with universal primary education and by providing water to the 10 target schools, this project ensures pupils learn without interferences that would otherwise result from frequent water shortages.
The project also improved climate change knowledge of the general public in the project areas who participated in the climate change exhibitions and watch a documentation of the local telvision as well as the over 400 teachers and other non-teaching staff from 7 schools who attended the training and capacity building workshops which had presentations on climate change and its impact on the water sector. This improved access to knowledge achieved by this project helped to bridge the knowledge gap that ordinarily exists because of un-equitable access to sources of information and in this respect, the project also scores on the social equity indicator.

The project also helped the schools economically. All schools which participated in the project stated that water bills have gone down. When comparing two bills in one particular school, (before and after installation), there was a difference of Rs 13,423.18.  This proves that in less than a year, schools managed to recover the installation cost due to the savings made in water bills.  Money saved is now being invested in other school projects. Apart from benefitting the schools economically trough water savings, it was also noted that is assisted in school gardening. Therefore proving its benefit to sustaining the natural ecosystem and biodiversity. Such finding also shows how rainwater harvesting can assist in irrigation to increase food production. In most secondary schools, the water was used by students studying agriculture, in order to sustain their gardens, even during the dry periods.
Water harvested was also used to assist in health and hygiene.  It was noted that students used the water to wash up after PE or recreational activities. When water is restricted, such hygienic practices are often limited, stated one of the teachers. Recently the Ministry of Health has been campaigning on the necessity to regularly wash hands in order to prevent the spread of diseases. Such back up provision can therefore assist in reducing the spread of diseases in public places, especially during the dry months.



Potential for Scaling-up and replication of project

 

The simplicity of this project also ensures that it can be upscale easily in other areas, ensuring its benefits are spread to as many school children as possible thus enhancing universal primary education and promoting social equity as children who were previously disadvantaged by poor access to water are now brought to a par with those from areas of a higher social standing hence with better access to safe water. S4S is now promoting the project at community level and it will be extended in some public buildings/infrastructures to benefit communities.

The Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S) a private sector partner is using the project to promote rain water harvesting at the community level.  The project is currently being replicated in more primary schools and the newly created university of Seychelles is replicating the model of rainwater harvesting carried out through this project in primary schools. As further testament of its replication and up scaling potential, the project has been recognized by both government and the NGOs as an example of best practices for climate change adaptation by local, regional and international organizations and can be adapted to other countries, especially small island states. It is also being recommended for replication in many climate change workshops as a means of adapting to water problems caused by climate change.

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Partners

Seychelles Environment Department (ED) and Department of Education;

The Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S);

Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) and Sea Level Rise Foundation

 
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