Agents of Change or Not? A Case Study of Earthchild Project in South Africa.
Abstract: This present case study is exploring whether an Education for Sustainable Development initiative, as exemplified by the South African Earthchild Project (ECP), which is focused on yoga, environmental education and hiking, can empower children and enhance their agency to become agents of change for Sustainable Development. With empowerment and agency theories as a backdrop, a quasi-experimental design is adopted. A drawing method is used in combination with follow-up interviews with an experimental group (children exposed to ECP) and a control group (children not exposed to ECP). Additional data were collected by a focus group session, semi-structured interviews and participant observation. These additional sources are youth who have been members of ECP for numerous years. The findings of this research suggest that that children and youth who are exposed to ECP’s activities are more empowered and have more agency in terms of Sustainable Development than those who are not exposed. Taking into account the study’s limitations and imperfections, it can be concluded that ECP, using an ESD-inspired approach, is meeting its intended objectives.
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