Isidora Ciric (ABU DHABI)
In the heart of Abu Dhabi, a school stands as a beacon of hope for a sustainable future. As global leaders are preparing to grapple with the most pressing environmental challenges of our time at COP28, Mamoura British Academy is making waves of its own.
As one of the top three contenders nominated for the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action, Mamoura is not only setting benchmarks in education, but is also sending a powerful message: every institution, big or small, can play a pivotal role in shaping our planet’s future.
In an interview with Aletihad, Sarah Weaver, the school’s principal, explained that the students are at the forefront of the sustainable revolution.
“It has been very student driven”, Weaver said, explaining that the students themselves were largely pushing the school’s sustainability programmes forward with their ideas.
“We have been shaping the school around the students’ passion and their desire to drive sustainability. And now, sustainability permeates everything we do.”
Such initiatives are not mere displays. They represent the students’ deep-rooted commitment to sustainability. Mamoura has managed to seamlessly weave this ethos into the fabric of their educational structure. Collaboration with the COP28 Youth Advisory Panel and gaining the opportunity to put forth their ideas for COP28, has further cemented Mamoura’s position as a promoter of environmental consciousness among youth.
Incorporating sustainable practices in day-to-day education is another hallmark of the school.
“From nursery to year nine, students work with at least one sustainable business partner,” Weaver revealed.
The sustainability curriculum is not simply a matter of learning; Mamoura is all about practical application. Efforts such as net-zero plastics, growing produce in aeroponic gardens for the school cafe, or designing corridors that double as green spaces, all feature students at the helm, Weaver said.
The school also offers commendable engagement with the broader UAE community. From supporting turtle rehabilitation at the National Aquarium to planting mangroves with local organisations, Mamoura students are learning to be active environmental stewards.
The drive towards sustainability and action is not confined to Abu Dhabi, or even the UAE. Weaver mentioned collaborations not only with other UAE schools, but also international institutions, enabling students to come together on a global scale.
These innovative approaches to education are also inspiring students to seek career paths related to sustainability and environmental conservation.
“One of the girls I recently spoke to said that, as a result of all the school’s activities, she is now actually looking at degrees linked to sustainability,” Weaver said.
The importance of such initiatives, particularly in the UAE, cannot be understated. With the nation dedicating this year to sustainability, the drive for green initiatives has never been more prominent.
“It is essential to teach the students to be passionate about change, drive it, and understand why it is important,” Weaver said.
As COP28 pushes for global reform, Abu Dhabi’s Mamoura British Academy demonstrates a glimpse of what is achievable at the grassroots level, with youth at the forefront, leading the march towards a sustainable tomorrow.
“We want them to go out there and do it, not just talk about it. They should make the change, make the difference, and understand that small actions can really play a big part in big change,” Weaver added.