The Child to Child Teaching Approach – Sharmarke’s Journey
Sharmarke discusses lessons with his classmate
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” –Benjamin Franklin
As Mr. Franklin so adequately put it, ‘involve me and I learn” which is exactly what Adeso’s child to child teaching approach sets out to do.
“I realized at a very young age that the state of the environment directly affected my personal life, and I could see how it was affecting those around me I knew something had to be done to change it for the better,” said Sharmarke Said Mohamed, an 18 year old beneficiary of the “Your Environment is Your Life” project that is currently being implemented in 6 regions – one of which is the Mudug region where Sharmarke and his family live.
Over the years, Sharmarke and his family have faced many challenges as a result of the dwindling natural resources and the limited economic opportunities in his region. Sharmarke realized that the environment didn’t only affect pastoralists, which is a major myth in the urban communities, but that the source of livelihoods in cities was directly connected to the pastoral way of life. This generated a sense of ownership of his environment, which was reflected in his zeal to learn about the causes of land degradation and what was happening around him.
His passion outgrew his personal concerns, and he became committed to helping to strengthen his community’s ability to conserve the natural resources on which they depend – making Sharmarke a perfect candidate for the project’s Child-to-Child program. The Child-to-Child approach establishes closer links between what is learned in school and how it is applied in the community, allowing for students to teach and learn from one another. The goal of Child-to-Child activities is to integrate environmental education into primary and secondary school curricula so that environmental education becomes an approved subject that can be taught in schools across Puntland.
Before the intervention, Sharmarke found himself in a difficult situation. He was extremely passionate about learning, becoming a leader in his community and equipping himself with the tools to resolve problems, but he knew he didn’t have the proper training to become that person he always wanted to be,
“I used to ask friends, and fellow classmates for ideas or suggestions that might help me. I always felt lost,” Sharmarke said. When Sharmarke found out that he was amongst the chosen students for the Child-to-Child program, he was ecstatic, “This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for,” he said. “I was always looking for something to help me upgrade my skills.” With the help of this project, Sharmarke was able to receive training to promote his environmental education, leadership and conflict resolution skills. “After my first training, I realized the great opportunity I was presented with. I would finally have the ability to deal, not only with my problems, but my communities problems as well,” he said.
Sharmarke is now the chairman of the Student Environmental Club and he plans to continue to learn as much as he can, to help others and to be an actor in the changes taking place around him.
“Without Adeso’s help in building upon our skills and knowledge, I would be left with passion and no way of making use of it,” he said.
Author: Mohamed Egal