As one of the FutureLife-Now! Phase 1 pilot schools, Fobane High School bears witness to the positive impact the programme is having on its learners. This is true for climate change, with many learners demonstrating improved awareness of climate issues, and importantly, now engaging actively to address some of the challenges. There is even evidence of positive behaviour change not directly related to their schooling.

Nkuebe Moshoeshoe, the FutureLife-Now! focal point teacher at the school, provides some background. The community where the school is situated has only recently (2019) been supplied with electricity: before that, the population was dependent on having to cut down trees to supply firewood for cooking and heating. This resulted in severe de-forestation: unfortunately, the cut-one, plant-two rule was unknown in these parts. The school faced the same challenges as the community: with trees gone, it was difficult to find firewood for cooking the daily meal provided to learners. Furthermore, it had to buy the produce, such as cabbage, to be cooked.

Learners at Fobane High tending “their patch”

In Phase 1, FutureLife-Now! ran youth climate change dialogues and training on the Blue School Toolkit. This galvanised learners. Together with teachers, they embarked on a massive tree-planting exercise, aiming to plant about 1 100 trees in one year on the school campus and in the surrounding area. Then putting the skills learnt in their Agriculture lessons, the learners established a school garden as part of FutureLife-Now!’s One School, One Garden initiative. The youth facilitator, Molelekeng Monyake, acknowledged and thanked FutureLife-Now! for its assistance in providing the tools and the shade-netting that helped make the garden a reality. FutureLife-Now! also provided two water storage tanks, crucial components for the food garden and for learner wellbeing.

Our school had shortage of water which prevented the learners from practising good sanitation and hygiene … [Now] water stored is used to water the crops, wash the tools and we comfortably practice good hygiene. – Nkuebe Moshoeshoe (FutureLife-Now! focal point teacher)

With the guidance of the focal point teacher, the learners achieved their goal of planting 1 100 trees; this is their way of “paying forward” as the effects will be felt long into the future—as acknowledged by a member of the community: “These trees will be of great use in the coming future and the Chief must impose heavy penalties on those who destroy them.”

Learners with “their” trees

Learners now focus on tending the gardens, with each learner caring for a small plot. The produce helps sustain the school’s feeding scheme, which assists the school financially, as is acknowledged by the principal, Sello Mofammere. With grass being planted, the feeling is that the school is turning into a complete “Blue-School”. On a recent visit, former pupils were astounded:

Our school is turning into a model school. Look at those grass gardens! When were they made? Wow! Beautiful!

What the learners have learnt has had an impact even outside of school. Many learners are “herd boys” who spend much of their weekends in the veld looking after cattle, often in ways that damage the environment, particularly trees. But now one reports:

I used to take my animals to graze in the forest even when told that we should not take them there. But now that has changed because I realize how they can damage small trees and promote soil erosion. – Masupe Mohau (learner and herd boy)

The learners’ increasing environmental awareness impresses even their parents, with some observing that their children now assist in the gardens at home and make sure the fruit trees are taken care of and are properly pruned.

A learner at one of the water-harvesting tanks

But let’s hear again from Masupe Mohau, who is now an environmental champion:

Perpetual salute to us growing our own crops and to afforestation. Massive respect to FutureLife-Now!

Learners tending the shaded garden




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Putting climate education into climate action | Planting and growing trees at Fobane High School in Lesotho