Dipolog establishes pilot Model Green Schools and Public Learning Centre
Under ASEAN ESC Model Cities Year 3, Dipolog City’s first pilot Eco-Learning Centre funded by Model Cities Year 3 seed funds is under construction (with 70% funding contributed by the city), while the adjacent public urban garden was established three weeks ago. The Learning Centre will be one of the prominent tourism landmarks along the Boulevard and will serve as a community space to educate citizens about the food-environment-health nexus, showcase green technologies and promote the city’s sustainable cities programmes. The city leadership has managed to convince McDonald’s to sponsor a hydroponics system in the garden which will be able to supply produce to the restaurant eventually. The estimated completion date is around July 2017.
In addition, Dipolog City also designated two schools as ‘Model Schools’ – (i) Dipolog city National High-School (with around 1,000 students – 781 Junior High School and 111 Senior High); and (ii) a primary school (next door to the National High School). In the next phase, 15 more schools will join the national Model Schools programme.
The city trained teachers and students on solid waste management, composting, energy efficiency biodiversity conservation and organic farming. In both schools, the city agricultural office helped to establish vegetable and flower garden where compost (including vermin-composting) was applied. Discarded plastic containers, rubber tyres and bottles were re-purposed as planter pots. In the High School, the plots of gardens were organised by Grades 7 – 11 (one garden per Grade).
In the primary school, vegetables grown are used as ingredients for the national School Lunch programme, The programme provided meals for undernourished children from poor households. This initiative demonstrates the ‘farm to table’ approach as well as showing the links among SDG- SDG-2 (Zero Hunger), SDG-3 (Good Health and Well-being) and SDG-4 (Quality Education). In exchange, parents from these households also contributed their labour and resources to manage the garden.
Dipolog city’s management demonstrates creative and visionary leadership, sound fiscal management, prudent infrastructure planning and it has staff which has above average capacity in communications/PR. The city’s small size enables it to respond to trends and ideas quickly. It has high potential in scaling up the pilot initiatives, improve data collection and map its local policies/indicators to the 17 SDGs in a comprehensive manner.