Groupe Scolaire Kibungo embraced the Green Learning Zone, a new ARCOS Initiative towards education for sustainable Development starting from 2021

Groupe Scolaire Kibungo is a school located in the Ntarama sector, Eastern province, barely 30 Km from the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Groupe Scolaire Kibungo is among the ten partner schools implementing the Eco-Schools Programme in Rwanda. Established in 1978 as a primary school and then upgraded to secondary school in 2020. As of today, the school has 1818 students from the nursery, primary to secondary.  

After joining the Eco-Schools Programme back in 2020, Groupe Scolaire Kibungo has been setting up targets and plans aiming at greening their school and translating the principles of education for sustainable development. The Eco-Schools Programme has been playing a vital role in helping this school apropos of the mentioned above end. A significant impact can be testified by different aspects including how the school has been trying to invest efforts to become greener, the performance of students and their engagement in the community.

Every year, the Groupe Scolaire Kibungo, just like other partner schools, conducts the Environmental Review and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The aim of conducting a such activity is to help the wider school community understand their school's current environmental situation. Since 2020, the conclusions of these reviews have been providing a point of departure to form a participatory action plan to deal with the identified mitigation and adaptation suggested measures. 

In the beginning of 2021, the school came up with a plan outlining action needed to reach their respective goals towards greening their schools. Some priorities were sustainable water management, creating kitchen garden for school feeding and waste management. Of course, some of its targets were met as the year was down turning.

In the mid-year of 2021, a new initiative titled “The Green Learning Zone Initiative” was introduced by the Eco-Schools Programme in ten partner schools to oil the wheel of the mentioned above targets. 

It is important to recall that this initiative was set in action as lending support to the existing environmental solutions at the school and community level. All partner schools, including GS Kibungo, have embraced this new initiative as a lending hand to achieve education for sustainable development. “It can be noted that the Green Learning Zone Initiative came into existence to help green demo-projects which will enhance pupils and students understanding regarding the linkage between biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, water management and climate change,” said Diane Uwimpaye, Eco-Schools Programme Coordinator. Diane added that already within this short of time after the initiation of this initiative, some fruits have been already being harvested which is the case of Groupe Scolaire Kibungo. 

Just by touring the compound of the school, it is easy to notice a selected area with young growing trees planted in the past few months ago on a small farm of bananas. In a few meters, two well-managed vegetable gardens can’t escape visitors’ sight. With three to four meters of diameters, a variety of vegetables are grown in a shape and format that allows for the best use of water, aeration, and sunlight. 

In the context of school feeding, the importance of kitchen gardens continues to skyrocket as Groupe Scolaire Kibungo is no longer buying vegetables from the market. The tour of the compound couldn’t be concluded without remarking two big water tanks for water harvesting for the sake of irrigating their plants. 

“It has been a pleasure that our school joined the Eco-Schools Programme. Undoubtably, due to this new initiative our students are more contributing to the ongoing movement of restoring our mother planet starting from where they study and we look forward so they can replicate it in their families.” said David Muhawenimana, Head Teacher at Groupe Scolaire Kibungo.  

Back in 2021 the school was involved in community tree planting event. This activity brought together pupils, students, teachers and community members living in the congruent of Nyabarongo and Akanyaru rivers —both tributaries of the famous Nil River— where 1000 trees were planted. 

“I have learnt a lot from this programme and thus far, I have been implementing some skills at home. For instance; I always distinguish degradable and nondegradable waste.” Stressed Kanyana Denise a student at Groupe Scolaire Kibungo. 

Pupils/students and teachers acknowledge both the material and technical support that the Green Learning Zone Initiative brought to existing solutions that they have been using towards sustainable education in a greener school.