“Nuestra responsabilidad como ciudadanos del mundo no es
solo conservar lo que tenemos, sino también mejorarlo para los
que vienen detrás de nosotros”
“Our responsibility as global citizens isn’t only to preserve what
we have but to improve it for those coming after us” says Diego Casares,
a member of the staff of Quito’s Mosaic Project. “Although adults have
the means to make changes, kids have the spirit and driving force to
propose and develop them,” he adds.
When Ecuador hosted its first Mosaic Programme on December 2007, the
Chapter and the appointed staff were very excited. However they knew
accomplishing the objectives of a programme as long as the one we had
proposed would be a challenge. Our Mosaic has as its main objectives:
- Create an attitude of responsibility and action towards the environment
- Create an understanding of the environmental problems in Quito
- Develop skills in the participants, empowering them to educate their own community.
In recent years Quito has improved its sanitation and
environmental care, but this is primarily the work of the city officials
and the Mayor. The role of the community in accomplishing significant
changes has been amazingly small. The levels of pollution in certain
parts of the city are shocking and, since adults have become
passive towards this situation, we thought this task should then be
appointed to kids.
It wasn’t easy getting the project started, since
environmental education isn’t a topic that is being addressed in many
primary schools in Quito. We needed to find an institution that would
agree to give a group of young people the space and time to share with
and teach kids about the environment. Furthermore, it was important
to find a place for the kids to apply their acquired knowledge
about environmental protection, such as a park or a forest.
On March 2008, the “Quito Painted Green” Mosaic Project
became a reality. It came as a great surprise when the Quito Mayor’s office offered to surrender the administration of a park to our local
Junior Branch. But the great thing was that the school we needed was
right around the corner! Federico Gonzales Suarez is a public primary
school whose principal, Mrs Elizabeth Chicaiza, gave us all the support
and space to show over 50 kids the basic ideas about environmental education. At first it seemed as if this project was going
to be an impossible mountain to conquer. However, as we got more
support from our home Chapter, the Mayor’s office and the community
of Carcelén, we realised that it was possible to achieve our goals.
The project has been developed in different stages, where
different parts of the educational circle are approached by different
In the first phase kids are shown, through
conferences and games, different concepts and methods towards the
protection and conservation of the environment. Events and activities, such as Environmental Week and Bicycle Day,
were a success during this early phase where kids age 8-12 years discovered and understood the importance of being an agent of
change in their community.
The second phase is directed at applying acquired
knowledge to change the surroundings. This means that lectures on
recycling, water conservation, and reforestation were given to
parents and kids. Activities such as visiting YACU- the water museum in
Quito, are part of this phase.
The third and last phase consists in applying all
the ideas learned using adopted skills. The park that’s under the
administration of our Junior Branch will be the centre of this phase.
Planting trees, creating signs to post around the park, and inviting
friends to participate in ‘mingas’ (Quichua word meaning a group of
people getting together to achieve a common goal) will be key parts in
acquiring an attitude of commitment and responsibility to their park and
Although the project isn’t near to completion, it’s clear that the
work that’s being done will have an impact on the people we’ve
met during these past amazing months. Meeting kids and showing them ways
to develop their neighborhood is one of the best ways to create
a movement in one’s city and we hope this replicates all over
our country. As a result of this process we have learned more than
we thought possible and we keep on learning as the project unveils.