Around the Green School campus, in the Green School newsletter and on the Green School Facebook page the abbreviation ‘MEI’ seems to pop up at an increasing rate these days: there’s a MEI kids club and a MEI Eco-market and MEI workshops are occasionally given. But, WHAT does MEI even stand for?
Multi-species Education International (MEI) was set up by Green School’s teachers Ibu Muria and Pak Yoga back in 2009. This week I visited them at the MEI Eco-market, right across the street from the Green School campus, to report on the goals and progress of MEI.
‘MEI supports communities to live with biodiversity’, they first explained to me. It is a small but holistic framework that can be used to teach different age-groups about the inevitable significance of living together with animals and plants. Basically, this framework looks something like this (I constructed this ‘table’ from a sketch that Ibu Muria made me):
Here at Green School the MEI community tends to mainly focus on ‘Animal Biodiversity’ and ‘Waste’. The MEI Kids-club, which is an after-school activity program for students age 4-12, will therefore carry out environmental action and investigate typically on those two aspects of the framework.
Reason for this specialization is that professionals in this area are especially present and these topics are especially relevant in this area.
The uses of the MEI Eco-Market (see photo) are to educate and stimulate students, parents and locals to use eco-products and provide them. And it functions as a source of income for employees of MEI.
‘But why, MEI?’ I asked. ‘What drives you to spent so much time and effort on this organization?’ Ibu Muria had no difficulty answering that question, it was simply because they are ‘concerned about the loss of biodiversity of species. The understanding of relationships with animals and plants has weakened: people see them as human resources. But we see them as more than that. People just cannot survive without animals and plants on this planet.’
‘Education is necessary to bridge a healthy connection between people and animals and plants. And that’s why we offer it,’ Pak Yoga told me. MEI proceeds like this: first they map the community that they’ll be operating in. They then collect the data and determine the topics of the framework that they’ll be focussing on in that specific community.
Finally they plan the projects that should take place and work them into a 12-month plan. And that is basically where all of us, community members, start seeing advertisements and hear stories from all the teachings and action that MEI has carried out. I hope that you now understand the origin of Multi-species Education International a little better and are motivated to contribute!
Please visit their website to stay updated on these projects: http://www.supportmei.org
All photo’s are property of MEI