The Daim Zainuddin Environmental Education Programme

Climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation disproportionately impact rural communities that often depend on forests and smallholder agriculture. Although there is an abundance of scientific research in these fields, including a large body of Malaysia-specific science carried out through SEARRP, this body of evidence is almost completely inaccessible to people from forest-dependent, rural communities. With support from Yayasan Haji Zainuddin, we are working in partnership with Swansea University Science for School Scheme, Sabah Environmental Education Network and Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) Trust to co-develop Environmental Education (EE) modules and deliver capacity building to local EE practitioners and educators in rural communities across Sabah.

This one-year project will bring together scientists, EE and community specialists to;

  1. To develop an EE tool kit that consists of modules, materials, handbooks and hands-on activities that target key areas that are relevant to rural communities: agricultural sustainability; riparian reserves and water quality; and maintaining biodiversity.
  2. To train and empower EE practitioners and educators in delivering the EE toolkit through a series of “train-the-trainers” programme.
  3. To provide a foundation for a wider EE programme in the future.
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This initial phase of the programme will target three key areas that have particular relevance to rural communities

1. Agricultural Sustainability 2. Riparian Sustainability and Water Quality 3. Maintaining Biodiversity

SEARRP science is especially strong in these fields – with research findings from our 30+ year programme directly relevant to the local context. SEARRP will continue to engage with the project partners to ensure that the materials are of relevance and interest to local communities.

Project Focal Areas

Engage project partners and identify EE priorities

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We have engaged through online platforms with our direct project partners as well as other local stakeholders to introduce the project, outline the EE programme and invite them to participate in the ‘train-the-trainers’ series which will be conducted towards end of 2021.

Develop EE toolkit including modules, content, materials and handbooks

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We will utilise SEARRP research findings to develop EE modules and content in the three key areas and design materials specifically for EE delivery and outreach to rural communities and local schools.

Train local EE practitioners and educators

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Towards the end of 2021, we will pilot a ‘train-the-trainers’ programme that will introduce the EE content, modules and materials to our project partners, EE practitioners and educators. We will conduct these through several classroom and field-based training courses on the science underlying the three focal areas, the use of the Forest Integrity Assessment – a handphone app which will be launched soon that enables rapid assessment of forest quality and monitoring by non-experts – as well as a course on the delivery and science storytelling of EE modules.

Foundations for a wider EE programme

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Building on this one-year collaboration and EE foundation, we will develop plans to expand our EE, outreach and awareness programme across targeted communities in Sabah and in Peninsular Malaysia.

For more information please contact SEARRP’s

Environmental Education and Outreach Manager Imelda Geoffrey.