The Development Reality Institute (DRI), a youth based organisation, has designed the first virtual school on climate change in Southern Africa run and managed by youths for youths. The interactive online course aims to raise awareness on the effects of climate change to development in Southern Africa. The online school is supported by mobile technology through sms to communicate with participants. All the learning materials and interactions are online. since March 2010 the course has enrolled more than 350 participants from ten (10) countries. The project has an interactive forum component and virtual library and strategic contacts page that gives participants all the necessary resources in climate change programming all in one package. The project won the World Summit Youth Award 2010 as the best innovative and creative e-content addressing the MDGs.
the Climate change virtual school aims at build the capacity of young development partners to interpret, comprehend and mainstream of climate change in development issues within their communities.
* - To educate participants on the danger posed by climate change and its implications that call for action. * - To spearhead discussions on adaptation strategies to climate change in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. * - To allow participants to share experiences on climate change, environment and development and the politics of global climate change. * - To raise awareness on the climate proofing and mainstreaming tools that have been developed for mitigation and adaptation strategies.
ICT is the medium of communication and interaction with the target group. The information is also gathered and disseminated through the use of ICT. The project use a combination of internet based technology and mobile telephone, the participants interact using short message service (sms) and an online forum to discuss the assignments and other advocacy issues on climate change. The ICT tools used are cost effective and very cheap for participants to use. ICT in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa is on the rise and access has increased significantly over the past few years as a medium of communication development issues. The participants also have an opportunity to integrate Skye in their discussion for those with high bandwidth
The project primarily targets youths simple because they are likely to face the greatest impact of climate change. the younger generations also need pioneer the initiatives to mitigate and adapt to climate change because they will inherit the world. In Zimbabwe particularly the youths have been politicized and the project aims to divert their attention to real development challenges. The project uses a number of youth networks to target young people such as Zimbabwe Youth Network, Youth Working Group, Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust, Universities and colleges and high schools.
The project was selected winner of the World Summit Youth Award 2010 as the best innovative and creative e-content addressing the MDGs in the Go Green Category.
The Project has received a grant of US$ 50, 000 from Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
The project has been endorsed by three Government Ministries in Zimbabwe and MOU have been signed with The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, The Ministry of Information Communication and Technology and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources management
The climate change virtual school has also signed MOU with the United Nations Volunteer Programme and ZERO Regional Environment Organisation, who have become technical partners in the project