Focus 2023

Paraguay - PAR26-10-2023

A Salesian environmental education project aims to reach over 11,000 students in various parts of the country.

The Salesian Province "Mary Most of Holy Assumption" of Paraguay (PAR) has launched the project "Practical Implementation of Strategic Environmental Guidelines in Paraguayan Schools", which aims to reach 11,000 students in 18 schools, (of whom two of them are public schools). The aim is to ensure that this environmental education should have a greater impact on the society through evolvement of good practices in the country's public and private schools.

Reforestation in various areas of the country, the installation of a photovoltaic solar plant, developing the school gardens, the construction of water basins to facilitate recycling of water, and the installation of differentiated containers for segregated waste management in schools are part of the project. These are the results of the pilot project implemented by the Salesians between 2021 and 2022 which involved 4,774 students in the Central Department and in the cities of Asunción and Coronel Oviedo. To ensure continuity of this project, newer initiatives proposed were explained in detail during the presentation of the project, held on Thursday 12 October 2023.

The overall goal of the project is to reach 11,000 students, aged between 5 and 18, from 18 public and private educational institutions in Paraguay. These schools have been selected according to the project criteria. 16 Salesian institutions have already been selected, while the two public institutions are now being identified.

"After the successful experiences and lessons learnt in the implementation of the environmental education pilot project within Salesian educational institutions, we have decided to continue on this path of ecological conversion, forming good Christians and honest citizens committed to caring for our Common Home," said the Environmental Engineer María José Llamosas, who is the also the project coordinator.

"Our intention is to be able to have a real and profound impact on the local communities in which each of these educational institutions operates," he added.

The project presentation event was attended by representatives from the five schools that benefited from the first phase of the programme - and will continue to do so in this second phase - as well as authorities from the partner institutions of the initiative. Representing the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES, in Spanish) were Hugo Piccinini, Director of Interinstitutional Relations, Mirian Romero, Director of Environmental Education. Sandra Aranda, Head of the Environmental Education Department (MADES), emphasized the importance of pupils' involvement in this project: "The students are personally engaged with the local reality. We cannot take care of the environment if we do not know where we are going", she said.

Nancy Benitez, the Director General of Educational Development, and Ana Gloria Lenguaza, the Supervisor of Educational Area 007 of the Ministry of Education and Science (MEC); Carmen Recalde and Francisco Rolón, from the 'Moises Bertoni' Foundation were also present at the occation.

"Within the institute we have a cattle production unit that produces organic waste in large quantities. We treat this organic matter to reduce the negative impact it can have on the environment, and then we use it in for other extensive productions, in the nursery for re-forestation and in the production of various articles," explained David Núñez, a third-year agricultural student at the Salesian Institute 'Carlos Pfannl' of Coronel Oviedo.

The initiative is implemented by the Salesian Province of Paraguay and the 'Antonia Ruut' Foundation of Germany, with the support of 'Global Engagement' (Service for Development Initiatives) and funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).