The planet is facing an environmental crises that is human-made: single use plastics are polluting our towns and cities, our oceans and destroying eco-systems. Petroleum based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean. Although plastic will not biodegrade, it will break down into tiny particles after many years. In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals which make their way into our food and water supply.
BOOKBRIDGE challenged the students are our learning centers to find ways to address this issue and to find ways to encourage members of their communities to reduce their use of single-use plastics. Following a Project Based Learning approach, in which students work on their own to brainstorm ideas, create and follow a plan, implement various solutions and report back on the results, the teacher acts as a facilitator or coach, guiding and supporting the students rather than directing or controlling them. Students created various campaigns in their communities to bring attention to the issue of single-use plastic waste and decrease the use of such items.
Six learnings centers took on the challenge with their students and submitted their reports. Several other centers did projects in their communities, like clean ups and awareness campaigns, but did not participate in the competition. Whether they joined officially or not, all of these learning centers have created a lot of awareness in their communities about this critical topic.
Here is a selection of some of the amazing actions taken by our students:
Sainshand Learning Center
High school aged students visited local kindergartens and did fun workshops with the children, teaching them about not using plastic bags. Children are a great way to reach families as they are likely to tell parents and others in their families what they have learnt.
Watch their video
Arvaikhere Learning Center:
Students set up a small business to sew and sell reusable cloth bags. They also built a campaign around their own created tagline: No Plastic, No Problem and then engaged everyone in their path on social media to spread their message. Another part of their project was to run workshops with children in schools, reaching over 800 little people and challenging them to challenge their parents to reduce plastic use. They were so successful that they have been approached by waste management authorities in the capital for partnership.
The students at SmiLe Academy in Siem Reap took at very thorough research approach to the project. They developed a survey together to learn more details about the use of plastic bags by vendors at the traditional markets in Siem Reap. They then designed posters and also did education campaigns in schools, reaching 1000’s of students!
Watch their video
Khovd Learning Center
Students at Khovd Learning Center were very active. They did a street cleaning project, created and distributed posters and banners, sewed reusable bags and organized a Facebook challenged to engage with parents and others in the community.
Murun Learning Center
The students in Murun decided to create educational videos to encourage children to stay away from plastic bottles. After research, they wrote and filmed several videos and spread them far and wide on Facebook. Importantly, they reached greater numbers by also contacting the local TV station and newspaper and being featured on both these platforms!
Watch their video
Selecting a Winner
During the BOOKBRIDGE Summit, we gathered a group of volunteer judges to review the teacher and student reports submitted and graded them according to the criteria. The decision was unanimous, and the winners are listed below.
Thank you to everyone for your amazing efforts! You have made a huge impact on your community and the planet thanks you!
And our winners are:
1st place: Arvaikheer
2nd place: Murun
3rd place: Smile Academy