They are built on the belief that regardless of gender, race and cultural situation, young people have the power to make—and have repeatedly made—a difference in their local communities and in the world.
In China rapid economic growth and intensive agricultural practices have resulted in a serious degradation of water quality, and put the country’s natural resources under threat. Effective assistance at community level is a matter of great urgency. Swarovski Waterschool programs in China seek to educate school children throughout the Yangtze River basin, as well as to pilot Waterschool locations in other river basins across the country.
Working in ways that enable students to become active participants in sustainable water management, this new way of learning in China is engaging schools and communities through creative and scientific activities to take better care of the environment and become agents of positive change.
This is critical on the Yangtze, which accounts for 60 percent of China’s pollution and is the single largest source of pollution in the Pacific Ocean.
Since the program began in 2008, it has pioneered a new way of teaching and learning about water in Chinese schools, engaged the broad participation of community members, and successfully improved local stewardship of the environment. To date, more than 173,000 children in 101 schools have participated in the program, around 3,500 teachers have been trained, and more than 280,000 community members have joined in Waterschool activities. These numbers are constantly rising, moving us toward the goal of the people of China–and the world as a whole–living in harmony with nature.
The Shangri-La Institute for Sustainable Communities, Swarovski Waterschool’s partner in China, has successfully engaged participants through the core curriculum of schools involved in the program, where one hour per week is dedicated to water education.
Strong partnerships between the Waterschool China team, pilot schools and local communities are a key element in implementing social learning activities that are based on local, natural and cultural characteristics. Through community projects, many local stakeholders and community members have participated in activities to raise public awareness and to protect the environment, in turn engaging broader communities including local media and government.