From 2008-2014, 103 primary and secondary schools have been established as Waterschools in 4 key river basins across China.
Impact on People
To date, over 197,000 students and more than 300,000 community members have participated in the project. Over 1,100 interactive and innovative water education activities have been carried out, involving a broad range of stakeholders with many activities winning awards at both national and provincial levels. Experiences from the project have been disseminated at a broader level with over 200 media outlets reporting on Waterschool activities.
Impact on Nature
Through the many activities that have been implemented, the relationship between students and communities with their surrounding environment has been strengthened. Each of the 103 schools choose a local river to focus their efforts to implement sustainable water resource management, and some large-scale watershed investigations have also been implemented. Through the project, some of the participants also link up with local nature reserves, take part in organic farming, habitat protection for endangered species, ecoskills development and biodiversity education. These activities are integral for the effective protection of nature resources.
China’s development over recent decades has helped to lift some 600 million people out of poverty. However, the rapid economic growth and intensive agricultural practices that have taken place have resulted in the degradation of water quality, putting the country’s natural resources under threat. While domestic in nature, China’s significant environmental, social and cultural challenges are already shaping the global struggle to protect the environment, with major impacts on global climate change, regional water shortages and pressures on globally threatened biodiversity and natural resources. The future of the global community is tied to the success of China’s sustainable development, and as such, effective assistance to its communities is a matter of great urgency.
Following the Chinese government’s 18th Party Congress in November 2012, the importance of improving ecological protection has been at the forefront of discussions in China, making environmental issues more of a priority than ever before. Waterschool China, which has developed extensive partnership with schools and communities and accumulated rich experiences in water education, is well positioned to engage communities in a movement towards sustainable water resource management in river basins across the country.
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