The organization: Live & Learn, Hanoi, Vietnam
The impact: Clearing the air for children
Often, the air pollution issue hangs heavy over Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other industrial cities in Vietnam, posing a serious health threat to the people – especially children – in those cities.
Despite the problem, awareness of how to respond has been low. Case in point: only a small number of international schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City take preventive measures when air quality is unhealthy.
According to Minh Anh Mai, Environmental Education Assistant at Live & Learn, one of the few nonprofit organizations in Vietnam working on air pollution issues, “The education system in Vietnam needs to do a better job on this.”
Live & Learn was awarded a three-year grant in 2017 to raise awareness about air quality issues and their impact on health; facilitate actions; and advocate for better management of air quality and associated health risks.
One of the key goals of this program was to develop a series of educational materials and activities, including engaging scientific experiments, to raise public awareness about air pollution.
Which is where the 3M Impact team of Zeba Parkar (U.S.), Andrew Rabins (U.S.) and Mihee Lee (Korea) came in, when they arrived in Hanoi in September 2017. In just 10 days, these three worked with Live & Learn staff to design a learning module about air pollution, including a number of entertaining and educational science experiments that reinforced important points about the issue. They then tested this module with more than 1,000 students at two Hanoi middle schools. And after school hours, they developed materials that “trained the trainers” at Live & Learn.
According to Live & Learn, the contributions of the 3M Impact team will enhance stronger relationships with local schools and students, increase their knowledge and awareness of air quality issues, and expand the influence of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in Vietnam.
Says Minh Anh, “They created a really positive impact – at Live & Learn and at schools. Beyond the educational materials, lessons and other knowledge sharing, everyone appreciated their enthusiasm and ‘pioneer’ attitude. They were willing to support the community by any means.”