Specifically focusing on the UAE environment, the Be’ati Watani has been transformed since 2007, from printed materials into a highly engaging interactive experience delivered via the internet www.beatiwatani.com and CD.
A first of its kind for UAE schools, the programme has the endorsement of the UAE Ministry of Education and is promoted as a highly recommended extracurricular activity by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority.
It covers the country’s fauna, flora and natural habitats, provides tips on ‘simple to do’ conservation actions in schools and homes that should form a part of children’s daily lives, and introduces vital global issues such as climate change and what we can do about it. There are games, quizzes and activities in the courses to further engage children.
On the serious side, there are tests to be written, grades obtained and certificates as well as gifts to be won. Courses are read in succession year after year, with a child aged less than 7 years who has studied ‘waste’ one year moving on to read ‘Wildlife of the UAE’ in the next year at age 7+.
ObjectivesThe vision is to entrust the future of the UAE’s natural heritage to citizens who understand and respect its value. The goal of the programme is to sensitise children, their families and teachers to nature.
This is done by:
- Providing children knowledge about the UAE’s distinctive biodiversity that needs to be cared for and protected;
- Facilitating understanding of connections between human consumption patterns and nature;
- Supplying teacher resources to ease classroom discussions on environmental subjects;
- Improving environmental (and general) vocabulary in Arabic and English; and
- Providing opportunities for families to learn with their young.
With Be’ati Watani, the first regular environmental course devoted to the UAE environment in schools across the country was introduced. Alongside this a nationwide partnership between EWS-WWF and environmental institutions in all Emirates to carry this and other programmes forward was established.
Since 2002, thousands of children have benefited from Be’ati Watani and from when the website became active in September 2008, it has recorded in excess of 900,000 hits from the UAE alone (Sept 2008 - Aug 2009).
Another major achievement is the transformation of the programme from an offline, paper–based one to an interactive web-based one that will progress into a completely online educational resource.
Endorsement of the Interactive Be’ati Watani by Dubai Government’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority as a highly recommended school activity has been a major boost.
FutureFuture plans include converting the interactive programme into an entirely online version. Other future plans include adding another course to the existing eight courses on the Ecological Footprint and eventually making it a regional, GCC-wide programme.
*Previously known as Interactive Enviro-Spellathon
Education and Awareness Officer
WWF United Arab Emirates Project Office,