The International Fund
for Houbara Conservation, IFHC, the global leader in pre-emptive species
conservation, has held an inaugural ‘Conservation Education: The Houbara Model’
awards ceremony to mark the innovative education programme’s stellar first full
year in the UAE national curriculum.
Designed to celebrate
the education programme’s major milestones and recognise the efforts of
schools, educators and students, the ceremony was attended by Abdulrahman Al
Hammadi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Education. He handed out accolades
in five categories: Houbara Conservation Champions, Curriculum Integration,
Houbara Action Project, Community Outreach and Programme Sustainability.
Since piloting its
education programme in late 2017 across seven schools, IFHC’s ‘Conservation
Education: the Houbara Model’ has educated students on the importance of the
Houbara, its natural habit and the importance of a protected and balanced
ecosystem in the UAE’s cultural heritage.
Integrated into the UAE
national school curriculum in October 2018, in partnership with the Ministry of
Education and the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, ADEK, IFHC’s
education programme is now taught in 40 schools across all seven Emirates, with
IFHC engaging 36,000 students and more than 350 teachers on Houbara-themed
education across all subjects.
"Today is a landmark moment in our efforts to create the
conservation leaders of tomorrow and we celebrate the future game changers and
decision-makers who can really make a lasting difference in the future for
Houbara and other vulnerable species," said Majid Al Mansouri, Managing
Director, IFHC. "In the 12 short months since our conservation-themed
education programme was implemented into the national school curriculum, we
have recorded significant milestones – but our journey is only beginning."
"As we continue one of the world’s largest species
conservation efforts and international stakeholder outreach, we recognise the
future is in the hands of our children. The commitment and hard work of
everyone involved in the programme reaffirm our intent to evolve the programme
and adapt it to suit the needs of countries and education regulators across all
of the Houbara’s range countries," added Al Mansouri.
Ayesha Jammal, and Arwa
Yaslam, from City of Baniyas School, Abu Dhabi, went on stage to collect one of
two Houbara Conservation Champions Awards, with Falaj Al Mualla Girls School in
Umm Al Qaiwain collecting the second.
"We have learnt of the importance of the Houbara in our
lives and the lives of our grandfathers," said Ayesha. "We must do
everything we can to protect and preserve the delicate environment which we
call home – this is the duty of all Emiratis and UAE residents."
As it strives to enrol
more schools in the ‘Conservation Education: The Houbara Model’, IFHC will
continue developing and adapting curriculum content in partnership with the
Ministry of Education. The Fund has also committed to continue training and
developing teachers on how to adapt the programme across various subjects in
schools, while continuing to introduce innovative educational tools to better
engage students in the digital education age.
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