LWR Supports Environmental and Disaster Education in Indonesia

Mr. Kairan, a fifth grade teacher in Indonesia, is always looking for new ways to engage his students. He wants them to know about issues that impact their lives and believes in teaching practical lessons outside of the classroom. He enjoys educating his community’s future leaders, opening students’ minds to the wonders of scientific learning.

Recently, Mr. Kairan attended a workshop supported by LWR with other leaders from his community to learn more about environmental and disaster education. During the course, Mr. Kairan learned about the nearby coastal habitat, particularly the importance of natural barriers along the coast, such as mangroves, which help to protect communities along the water from the impacts of storm surges and tsunamis.  Without these barriers, people living near the ocean face a higher risk of being affected by disasters.

Mr. Kairan returned to his school with a better understanding of his local environment, including how he and his students could help reduce the impacts of natural disasters. He developed a lesson plan on the importance of mangroves in his community and made it a part of his curriculum. With support and approval from his school, Mr. Kairan piloted a new environmental education program with his fifth grade class.

Mr. Kairan took his students on a field trip to a nearby mangrove forest to explore the coastal habitat and learn about its importance in the ecosystem. The students were able to act as mini-scientists – recording their observations, sketching plant and animal life and completing activity sheets. Afterwards, Mr. Kairan and his students reviewed the anatomy of mangrove trees and compared their observations of the coastal habitat. They also brainstormed ways to protect their environment and community from natural disasters. Mr. Kairan told us, “The students love the mangrove forest. They are tireless! They were very excited. Very excited. As their teacher, I felt energized.”

Mr. Kairan not only inspired his students, but he also encouraged his colleagues to teach more about the environment and disaster prevention. Through field trips and other learning activities, teachers are utilizing the environment as a source of information. Students are learning from firsthand experiences rather than solely through textbooks.

In the coming months, this LWR project will continue to guide teachers in multiple communities. Integrating environmental and disaster education into schools not only provides a more well-rounded education for students, but also prepares them to be leaders in reducing the risks of future disasters.

The workshop that Mr. Kairan attended is part of the Climate Adaptation and Disaster Resilience (CADRE) program, which is funded by USAID. The CADRE program aims to efficiently, effectively and sustainably address the need for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation among vulnerable populations in Indonesia.

This post was written by Puspa Jartika Wijayanti, Marie Anne Sliwinski and Loren Hyatt, Lutheran World Relief staff in Asia & the Middle East.