This post was written by Genny Ndayisenga, member of the 350 Burundi team on her experience in the climate education programme within secondary schools. 

This has been exactly eight months since I got involved as a volunteer in 350 Burundi Network on Climate Change. I have already participated in several activities organized by the 350 Burundi team but never at an educational session on climate change in the secondary school environment clubs. A great experience I’ve wished to have.

There is no longer a doubt: climate change negative impacts are showing up everywhere. Droughts, famines, floods and other disasters are all phenomena on which we are confronted daily without knowing how to cope with them.

Amongst its objectives, the 350BNCC aim to inform, raise awareness and educate Burundians about environmental issues, particularly those related to climate change and how to address them. Visits are organized in secondary schools to share with high school students the basic knowledge on climate change, from causes to consequences and applicable solutions at different levels.

Thus, when I was asked to be part of the team that will educate young students of «Lycée du Saint Esprit», I did not think twice. In fact I was curious to see how the 350 team performs but also the reactions of students.

And definitely comes the big day, Friday, February the 10th. Since the morning, I was scrutinizing my watch, counting the hours and minutes before the time we must leave.

So many questions swirled in my mind: How will go the session? Will the students appreciate? Are we going to meet their expectations and achieve our goal? Humm humm…

It was around 2:00 p.m when we arrived at Lycée du Saint Esprit. Can’t tell you how sunny and hot it was there! As we got there, 40 students from Lycée Gikungu joined us. They have come to attend the education session on the climate with their fellow students of Lycée du Saint Esprit. I will never forget the warm welcoming from the environmental coach of LSE.

Students were busy arranging the hall where we were about to install the hardware. Most of them have not gone for lunch. They resigned themselves to follow the session with an empty stomach and dry throat. I got touched by so much courage from them. It’s with high attention and curiosity that they followed the presentation of the day; they discovered the impacts of climate change and possible solutions at different levels to stop the biggest challenge of the century.

Great attention and curiosity could be read on pupils's faces during the presentation

Thirty minutes later, a documentary that intended to illustrate the content of the presentation was screen played. And one could read on the faces of students great interest and compassion when seeing in the meager corn or very sick people affected by malaria, some of the impacts seen in the documentary.

The descent was closed with a flourish at the canteen of the school where the 350BNCC team shared refreshment they had brought with students and their teachers. The coaches and representatives of both clubs schools warmly welcomed the initiative and expressed their wish to participate in future activities organized by the 350 network.

That day, I got back home happy to have helped raise my brothers and sisters on the threat posed by climate change. For I am convinced that it is a conscious generation that has been educated that will bring the long awaited change to the level of decision making.