Engaging young people with conservation - particularly in areas where wildlife is threatened by wildlife-community conflict - is increasingly important. As such, we are happy to announce a donation of £500 to Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust in Zambia.
The Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust runs conservation education programmes for local children in wildlife-community conflict areas in Zambia. It was set up in 1998 by Steve and Anna Tolan from Oxford, its mission being to "teach Zambian children the value of wildlife and their environment so they may be conserved for present and future generations". Its name is derived from the local or Chinyanja name for rhino - an animal we all know is under threat from poachers.
In 2001, the Trust set up an education centre from where the education outreach currently operates. Over 900 children at 31 schools are covered by the mobile outreach educational programme. Activities in which the youngsters get involved include:
- field excursions into the National Park for research or game viewing
- tree planting
- computer training
- a Chipembele Rangers Scheme, with badges awarded for Junior and Senior Ranger status
- an annual inter-schools Wildlife Quiz and Pupil of the Year awards.
At the centre, youngsters are also able to access to the Chipembele Student Resource Office with laptops, satellite internet, a widescreen TV and DVD player and a range of wildlife and conservation books, films and magazines for them to watch or read at their leisure.
The Trust hopes that its educational programmes will "encourage the young people of the area to be active conservationists and empower them to make the changes that are necessary to sustain livelihoods, conserve wildlife and protect the natural environment long into the future."
Our donation will be used to fund three of Chipembele's mobile education unit visits to remote communities. In this, three of their staff (two Conservation Educators and a driver/logistics officer) drive to very remote rural communities and deliver conservation education sessions in schools and community groups over a period of three days. The funds are used for fuel, food, educational materials and staff overnight allowances. (The staff camp out.)
On learning of our donation Anna, who is Executive Director, wrote: "Thank you so much for the kind donation. It is hugely appreciated." She added: "We are warmly received everywhere [we] go. These people [served by the outreach programmes] rarely receive outside help." The vehicle (a Land Rover) they use is an ex-army ambulance that has been converted to carry camping equipment, educational resources and a small library in the back. Anna tells us "It still has the 'nee-nah' siren on it, so attracts children from all over whenever it arrives in a village!"
The local Inner Wheel is supporting Chipembele's Night Nature programme, which our donation will complement. Anna came to talk to them recently and it was through Rtns Bob Anderson and Gill Dixon, who attended the talk, that we learned of Chimpembele's inspirational and important work.
Chipembele is a registered Zambian charitable trust. To find out more about what they do, visit their website.
Watch a youtube video about their work here.
Picture: Youngsters pictured with the community outreach vehicle. Picture credit: Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, Zambia (reproduced with permission).