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Wednesday, 22 February 2017 01:21

Humane Education: the Building Block for a Kinder Future

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In this blog, I am delighted to introduce my personal favourite from amongst World Animal Net (WAN)’s projects! This is a Humane Education (HE) pilot project which we are carrying out in Malawi over the 2016-2017 school year, with a wide-ranging and thorough professional evaluation guided by international and Malawian experts. We are already seeing great results from this project, and look forward to the final report in mid 2017. In the meantime, we wanted to share with you this update, which was prepared for our Malawian partners - as this gives more background on the project and its progress.

IMG 0270At first glance, this project appears quite different from WAN’s usual work, but it was in fact developed to strengthen our advocacy and “Best Practice” resources. The idea behind the pilot was two-fold: Firstly to obtain evidence of the value of HE in order to advocate for the inclusion of HE in school curriculums and programmes; and secondly to influence alternative development models which measure societal success beyond economic output. These development models are currently under consideration by the United Nations (UN), and include Happiness/Well-Being (which is already introduced and measured in a number of policy arenas, including the OECD) and Harmony with Nature. Whilst we were delighted to see these promising new policy arenas being considered by the UN, we were concerned that they did not specifically mention animals and their welfare – so our follow-up advocacy will use the process of sharing our HE project and its results to stress the importance of including animals and their welfare within these.

To meet these objectives, we developed a new Teachers’ Guide, which includes lessons on relationships with animals, the environment and other people, and personal “flourishing”; together with appropriate pedagogy. The Teacher’s Guide is now being piloted and perfected with feedback from each lesson delivered.

We have worked with professional education institutes to develop tailored monitoring and evaluation systems and reports to ensure that the project is well implemented and that feedback/reporting is suitable for our purposes. We are covering aspects as diverse as: educational and class behaviour; well-being; social skills; and qualities such as harmony with nature, compassion, kindness and altruism/service.

The educational resources and results of this pilot project will be shared internationally, along with guidance on advocacy for the inclusion of HE in national curriculums.

This is very much a collaborative project, and we would like to say a big “Thank You!” to all the wonderful partners who have made this possible and, in particular:

It has truly been a wonderful experience to work alongside such dedicated, effective and delightful partners!

We are looking forward to being able to present the outcomes of the project, and our future advocacy in due course. In the meantime, please do read more about the project and HE more generally.

Photo credit: Children participating in the Humane Education curriculum in Malawi, World Animal Net.

Janice Cox

Janice is co-founder and a director of World Animal Net. She has held a variety of management and advocacy roles in the international animal welfare movement over the past 30 years. Janice focuses on WAN’s work on advocacy, development and education/training. Based in South Africa, she has assisted with regional strategic planning for animal welfare on the continent, including working with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)'s Southern African office for one year. Janice was the recipient of the Humane Society International 2014 award for “extroardinary commitment and achievement for animal protection”.


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