On Thursday this week, Nelson Primary School in London hosted an event focused on tackling climate change with a focus on the oncoming COP26, the 26th United Nations’ Climate Change Conference to be held on 31st October 2021 at Glasgow. 

The school team showcased great work the school children had done focused on creating more awareness on climate change. The event was organized by Fiona Cullen, Head Teacher Nelson Primary School and Mr Daniel Okiya, Y4 Teacher & Connecting Classrooms Through Global Learning Project Lead. 

The event was graced by Minister Hon Wendy Morton, Minister FCDO, Amrita Ahmed, Assistant Private Secretary, Amy Ballard FCDO, Emma Spencer FCDO, Amb. Joakim Kamere, Kenya’s Deputy High Commissioner in the UK, Dorothy Kamwilu, Education Attache, Jane Kimemia, Kenya High Commission, Mark Herbert, Director Schools, TVET & Non-Formal Education, British Council, Thomas Nissen, Senior Consultant, British Council, Shahed Ahmed, CEO New Vision Trust and many more guests. 

Kenya's Deputy High Commissioner in the UK Amb. Joakim Kamere and CS Education Prof George Magoha acknowledged and praised the great partnership between the UK and Kenya in education. 

Speaking at the event, Minister Wendy Morton said: 

“Millions of girls around the world are prevented from getting a full education due to extreme weather, which destroys schools and livelihoods, and forces people to flee their homes. Many are unable to go back and end up having to look after their families."

“The UK is committed to enabling more girls to stay in school and get at least 12 years of quality education, empowering them to lead change in their countries and communities.”

Regarding the impact of climate change on girls’ education, the Minister shared three key important points. She said, Girls are suffering from the worst long-term impacts of climate change, including to their education. Resources are used to survive instead of learn, trapping them in existing conditions of poverty, marginalisation, and vulnerability.

She added Flooding destroys schools, severe storms force people to flee their homes and the financial impacts of droughts mean families cannot afford to send girls to school. Girls’ risk of early marriage and pregnancy also increases in times of crisis as families and individuals use negative coping mechanisms to survive.

The Minister also said Climate-related forced displacement can cause disruption to girls’ education or result in them dropping out of school altogether. For example, after the 2010 Pakistan floods, 24% of girls in Grade 6 dropped out of school compared to 6% of boys.

The Minister said the UK Government had made huge strides in achieving its ambition for the right of every girl to access 12 years of quality education. Between 2015 and 2020, the UK has helped over 8 million girls into education. In 2021, the UK co-hosted the Global Education Summit co-hosted with Kenya and raised over $4bn in donor pledges to the Global Partnership for Education - which is now firmly on the path to raise US$5 billion by 2025, to enable up to 175 million children to learn and help get 88 million more girls and boys in school. 

She added, In Kenya, the UK is investing nearly £100 million between 2017 and 2023 to support over 330,000 girls, through the Girls’ Education Challenge programme. This includes the use of technology to support teaching and learning; teacher development activities; distance learning and catch-up classes; and clubs to build girls’ confidence and agency. 

During the event, Minister Wendy Morton with pupils and teachers from Nelson Primary School in London were joined virtually with students in Kenya with the Education CS Prof George Magoha and students for an exchange of Questions and answers. The UK’s Connecting Classrooms programme aims to help pupils understand the big issues that shape our world and equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make a positive contribution. 

Since 2018, it has reached over 15,200 schools in 29 countries, including over 2,700 in the UK. It has also helped train over 63,000 teachers and school leaders across the globe. In Kenya, it is supporting over 400 schools and has trained over 800 teachers.