The Global Communities for Sustainability (GCS) project is a joint initiative of the Centre for Environment Education Australia (CEEA), the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) and the Centre for Environment Education India (CEE India).
This project aims to develop integrated sustainability initiatives that have local and international dimensions. It is an exciting and challenging way for school communities in Australia and India to learn more about sustainability issues that concern them locally by sharing these concerns and possible solutions with each other. It seeks to establish communication and exchange between Australian and Indian school-communities through involvement in a common learning journey. In short, it uses schools in Australia and India as the focal group to develop and share their sustainability initiatives, while also engaging community stakeholders in the process.
The GCS project established communication and exchange between up to 15 different Australian and Indian school-communities who explored sustainability issues through a guided process. Local 'teams' comprising of a teacher, students and representatives from the local council and a community organisation participated in the exchange. This facilitated sharing and learning of such aspects as:-
• Sustainability issues, actions and experiences
• Collaboration and communication
• Community building and community learning
• Ownership of problems and solutions
• Adaptation of action to diverse socio-cultural contexts
Schools were invited to participate from pilot states in both India (Gujarat) and Australia (New South Wales). Each school took up work on a Sustainable Development initiative (SDi). Schools in each country were paired with its counterpart in the other country based on related topics or on their competency and involvement. As a part of its activities, each SDi united a cluster of stakeholders in the community and identified its individual sustainability concerns, developed work plans and implemented them. The cluster representatives from the best project would visit their counterpart country to exchange experiences. On returning, they share what they have learned through youth networks, local government, events, workshops, publications, and conferences.
Discussions are on for the GCS projects with potential to include schools in more states in Australia and India