Environmental education catalyzed by tourism: Ecoliteracy initiatives on the coast of Kenya

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The Diani-Ukunda area on the Kenyan coast is one of the main tourism centers of the country. Over time, individuals who originally visited the area as tourists have started sustainability initiatives that are in part funded through donor networks from abroad (drawing on individuals who visited the country initially as tourists). This essay explores select German initiatives in the educational sector that have emerged in the context of the area’s tourism industry. Diani Maendeleo Academy (a secondary school for girls) and the six primary and secondary schools known as Mekaela Academies collectively serve a significant portion of the population of the larger DianiUkunda area, including the hinterland extending widely into Kwale County. The study was designed to assess the schools’ approach toward sustainability and ecoliteracy, and centered on the following questions: 1. What kinds of sustainable practices are promoted in the select schools? 2. In what ways do students who attend these schools display environmental literacy? 3. Do these initiatives address UN SDGs, known as Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)? The study follows an interdisciplinary mixed method approach and is based on interviews, survey instruments, research on ecoliteracy and educational policy, and fieldwork data from previous stays. Findings reveal a lesser-known dimension of tourism: namely, the successful pursuit of ESD in schools thriving in the context of tourism through an integrated approach towards teaching ecoliteracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8501
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • Citizen aid
  • Ecoliteracy
  • Education for sustainable development
  • Germany
  • Humanitarianism
  • Kenya
  • Kwale county
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Sustainable tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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