This paper describes how The Mazingira Institute in Nairobi created and used a series of illustrated learning packages on environmental issues to stimulate responses from school children. Annual competitions invited children to answer questions and submit essays and drawings on a variety of topics. The children's responses proved a valuable source of information on their perceptions of environmental issues, and traditional knowledge and action in their communities. The "information exchange with children" project helped children to link what they learned in school with what they heard from the elders in their community, and with what they could see and do themselves. The authors conclude that the distributed learning packages and responses gathered from children combine mass media with the education system, allowing the youth to address environment and development problems, and potentially linking with policy making.
This article may be of interest to fieldworkers, practioners, NGOs, anthropologists and social workers. It may be of use to policy makers and planners.