Welcome to Sustainable Societies – Africa!

Image of ElephantsPurpose and Audience

Welcome to Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development!

Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development is a different kind of approach to sustainability education. Its purpose is to integrate environmental, social, and economic sustainable development issues into university curricula and empower students to be agents of positive change in their communities.

Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development is different because it explores the broad range of the most critical social, economic, and environmental challenges in Africa and develops students’ abilities to develop ways to overcome them.

The course uses a four step process to do this. First, the concept of sustainability is made personal to the students as they share which sustainability issues affect them and their communities. Next, students examine these sustainability problems and examples of strategies being used to address them. Then, students learn how practical, integrated strategies are developed. Finally, the students design strategies for sustainability problems in their communities.

This changes students’ view of their individual fields of study as they come to understand sustainable development as a collaborative process. They also discover ways their personal field of study, whether it be in a faculty of social sciences, natural sciences, agriculture, engineering, health, business or law, can not only be channeled into a successful career but can also serve as a means to help address community sustainability challenges.

Students who complete the course will:

      • Understand sustainable development issues in Africa
      • Understand the interdependencies among the issues
      • Know strategies which can be used to tackle sustainability issues
      • Know how to analyze the practicality of proposed strategies
      • Know how to build sustainable strategies themselves

For industry, government, community-based organizations (CBOs), and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development provides examples of successful sustainable business practices, effective governance and management approaches, and replicable project strategies.

Sustainability strategies designed by students during the course can benefit the economic sector, for example, by demonstrating how changes to more sustainable agricultural practices can improve crop yield or how existing government subsidies or external funding can be used for higher return. Other strategies can demonstrate how to increase school attendance and performance by showing ways to improve child nutrition locally. Environmentalists may see substantially more environmental appreciation and awareness on university campuses and students likely to carry these attitudes into their future workplaces. Businesses and governments may find a growing pool of more creative citizens whom they can tap for innovative ideas.

For universities, Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development revolutionizes integrated learning because it is relevant to students and instructors from all faculties and disciplines. It demonstrates ways in which their interests and concerns interact and provides them with a methodology for collaboratively developing solutions to social, economic, and environmental problems.

Because one practical outcome of the course is the development of sustainability strategies for local communities, the course provides opportunity for university-community partnerships. In this way, universities can work directly with their communities for the dissemination of education for sustainable development into society.

The course also serves as a means to disseminate and share materials and knowledge throughout and beyond Africa, strengthening African development by fostering collaboration in education and research.

Local communities play an important role in Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development. The course design encourages and facilitates the addition of local material to add immediacy and relevance to the course and focuses on local sustainability issues and the development of practical strategies to solve them. This provides communities with the opportunity to work closely with the universities on issues of local importance.

The name of the course comes from the idea it seeks to promote–sustainable societies—where all people live in a healthy environment that is respected and where human rights and human development are enshrined.