WMTR Program Launches Second Season of Eco-Camps

Aiming to increase awareness among the young generation of environmental issues, in particular on sustainable waste management topics, the Waste Management Technologies in the Regions (WMTR) Program has started its second season of eco-camps for Adjara and Kakheti school students. A total of 70 students, winners ofWaste to Craft competitions, participated in 10-day eco-camps held in CENN Bulachauri Green Center betweenJuly 29 and August 27.

The WMTR Program, implemented by the International City/Country Management Association (ICMA) and the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) and financed by the USAgency for International Development (USAID), assists central and local governments, local businesses, communities and municipalities in developing integrated waste management systems for its targeted regions - Kakheti and Adjara.

In order to create interest, the program was designed with a very attractive, diverse and interactive agenda full of informational lectures, team building exercises, crafting and a hiking trip to various parts of Georgia. Before going on the hike, students were informed of safety measures during camping and traveling in the outdoors, and were also taught how to put up a tent.

The camp included lectures on Georgia’s waste management strategy and legislation, landfill management, environmental education on mineral recourses, climate change, composting, civil society and the importance of self-governance in schools. According to the evaluation forms, students indicated that composting, waste management, climate change, energy efficiency and the Aarhus Convention were the most memorable and interesting topics.

Additionally, students unanimously stated that the team building exercises hadbeen very exciting and life changing, while the knowledge and experience acquired will give them the opportunity to share the information withtheir peers. Giorgi Orkodashvili from Kakheti stated that the entire 10 days were quite significant, especially the games designed to educate youth.

During the first hiking trip to Khada Valley, students looked for pieces of waste, collected themand later oncreated short stories about their livesinto the wild. The most interesting and unique stories were voted for and five authors were asked to write a play, while the second group crafted puppets and the third staged a play.

“The most memorable thing for me would be the smiley faces of those 24 students,” noted Lela Sharadze from Adjara adding that the camp was very different from those which she hadattended before,especially in terms of gaining knowledge via a new method – games. “Generally, I thought I was helping the environment with small steps, however after listening to the experts I was embarrassed of my littering habits, like throwing chewing gum on the ground for instance. The camp motivated me enough to share my knowledge and plan some activities in Batumi when I get back,” she continued.

Baia Dzagnidze

27 August 2015 21:30