The ECO-Schools Programme was launched along with its website www.ecoschools.com.qa in March 2011. The programme, soon after, commenced a nationwide awareness campaign and logo competition working with schools in Qatar. A large number of entries were received from schools all around Qatar which made the programme an instant success.
ECO-Schools is an award programme that guides schools on sustainability initiatives and provides substantial opportunities for them to explore various environmental concepts that can be implemented, improved, developed or retrofitted at their respective premises. Joining the ECO-Schools programme is absolutely free-of-charge, thus encouraging more schools’ involvement and participation.
The programme awards the leading ECO-Schools with the ECO-Star Trophy in a number of categories. In 2012, ECO-Star Trophies for the “Water Management” category went to Bhavan’s Public School for their Waste Water Management project, to M.E.S. Indian School for the Water Management project and to Pakistan Education Centre for the Water Conservation project.
In the “Environmental Health” category, Bhavan’s Public School received a trophy for developing a vegetable garden in their school. In the “Energy Saving” category, M.E.S. Indian School won the award for a project that works to conserve energy today for tomorrow. Certificates made from recycled paper were also distributed to the participating students and teachers who worked on the school projects.
As part of the programme, schools work towards gaining ECO-Star awards for projects executed in 4 different categories - Environmental Health (Green ECO-Star), Energy Saving (Yellow ECO-Star), Water Management (Blue ECO-Star) and Waste Management (Red ECO-Star) projects. The 1st ECO-Star Award, a White ECO-Star is self-accredited through the ECO-Schools website upon successful registration. From the 2nd ECO-Star onwards, projects require documentation and evidence showcasing the effort.
There is also an ECO-Shooting Star Award which symbolizes excellence in the field of environmental activity. To qualify for this award, a school should complete at least one project from each category in addition to having successfully collaborated and completed a project with an existing ECO-School or help a start-up school.
Doha Bank Group CEO, Dr. R. Seetharaman, says: “Doha Bank congratulates the ECO-Schools for making a difference to the environment and to society. This sets an example for school children, staff and parents, to increase environmental awareness and encourage individuals to take the first step towards a greener path in order to reduce their carbon footprint.”
He continued: “Doha Bank is committed to provide a platform for schools and the youth in order to contribute to socio-environmental improvement and the intellectual development of society, while also encouraging the schools to reduce their carbon footprint and create a long-term impact in Qatar. The programme is planned to be rolled out in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait next year.”
Dr. G. Manulal, Principal - Bhavan’s Public School said, “In the state of Qatar, the initiative taken by Doha Bank to start the ECO-Schools Programme is valuable to inculcate the relevance of environmental preservation among the young generation. We wish this project every success in the coming years to create a green revolution in this great nation.”
Mr. A. P. Sasidharan Principal - M.E.S. Indian School explained, “The efforts of Doha Bank are laudable for protecting our fragile environment by involving school children. The ECO-Schools Programme has created a sense of responsibility amongst the youth in Qatar by encouraging more eco-related projects from schools to protect the environment.”
Mrs. Nargis Raza Otho, Principal - Pakistan Education Centre added, “The ECO-Schools Programme of Doha Bank guides schools on sustainability inventiveness which will provide substantial opportunity to all schools to explore various environmental concepts. I congratulate Doha Bank and all the schools who are taking part in this great initiative and working towards the betterment of the society.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman adds, “Through the ECO-Schools Programme, Doha Bank envisions school children in Qatar becoming young leaders in promoting environmental awareness, and the schools continuously endeavouring to become ECO-friendly advocates for a better world.”
The ECO-Schools Core Process is very simple. Schools are asked to create a framework for student action and to make a commitment to the ECO-Schools Committee. Once approved, the schools implement the action plan; review and continue the process. The Committee later monitors the progress and awards ECO-Stars to successful schools and projects.
In line with this initiative, Doha Bank has been awarded with the Golden Peacock Award for 3 consecutive years. The Bank won Golden Peacock awards for Corporate Social Responsibility in 2012 and 2011, as well as Sustainability in 2011 and 2010. Doha Bank also received awards for the Best Green Bank in 2008, Best Environmental Leadership 2010 and Best Public Awareness Campaign 2010 and 2009 from Qatar Today. The Bank also won the Green Systems Implementation of the Year - Arab Technology Awards 2010, among others accolades.
During COP18, the ECO-Schools programme will host a “Climate Change School Competition” which will include essay writing and painting competitions as well as songs and presentations of environmental projects conducted by the schools as part of the ECO-Schools programme. Presentations and competitions will take place at the Bank’s stand at the Qatar Sustainability Expo at the Doha Exhibition Centre in Dafna from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM and from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM every day.