PARAMARIBO – Primary schools in Suriname have the opportunity to submit a project proposal for the environment to the Eco-school, which is organized by the Sustainable Lifestyle and Education Program. Coordination in Suriname is in the hands of Suwama and the environmental branch of the President’s office.

It is a project of the United Nations Environment Program. The schools must formulate a vision in the field of sustainability, which must show that the school as a whole is involved. It must be based on education and learning.

In 2012 there was a conference in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, where the member states indicated that they were implementing a ten-year work plan. This plan consists of six parts and runs until 2022. The Surinamese project revolves around sustainable primary schools in Suriname that work out project proposals themselves. The method used must be incorporated into education.

Ten schools are selected from all submissions and proposals will be implemented. It will be a kind of competition in which one school per district will be chosen. “The schools have until 22 November to express their wish to participate,” says Suwama representative Humphrey Bergraaf.

The project proposal can be downloaded via the website and must be submitted with a budget. The projects are then tested for sustainability. The immediate environment of the school must be involved. For example, creating a vegetable garden and selling it to the neighborhood, so that the school can be self-sufficient.

“The schools also receive guidance for the preparation of the project. We go to the school leaders. There will also be a roadshow for the schools,” says Bergraaf. After the presentations for the schools, the project proposal may be updated. “We are going to invite school leaders to come together in central places.”

The schools that are selected must enter the proposal at their school. The project runs until the new school year, but must then be continued by the school. “We also look at lesson integration in the project. It can also be used during the lessons in nature education.”

It is a national project with a donation of 130,000 US dollars. Depending on the project that a school submits, money is made available. The ten selected schools will be announced mid-December. The schools in the interior will be extra stimulated to prevent them from falling out.