Over 2,500 children are reached by CLZ’s Education Programme per year
Established in 2004, CLZ’s Nzou Environmental Education Programme reaches out to school children and teachers from the ‘Chongololo’ conservation clubs from communities that surround the Lower Zambezi National Park. Through educational lessons and activities on school visits to CLZ’s education centre and on outreach visits to the schools, CLZ aims to raise awareness and to build a generation of local community members that take pride in Zambia’s natural heritage and feel responsible for its protection.
Living merely a stone’s throw away from the park, the majority of children have never experienced its splendour. Instead, many are exposed only to the potential threat or nuisance of wildlife as, for example, crop-raiding elephants. Furthermore, poaching (both subsistence and commercial) and natural resource exploitation are rife in many of the communities surrounding the park. By increasing knowledge and engaging the younger generation in conservation topics, CLZ hopes to improve attitudes towards wildlife and natural resources. Established in 2004, CLZ’s education programme now annually reaches over 2,500 school children from 56 schools in five project areas – Chiawa, Chongwe, Chinyunyu, Rufunsa and Luangwa.
CLZ hosts six school visits a year where 24 children and 4 teachers from each project area are invited to spend three nights and two days at CLZ’s Environmental Education Centre based just outside the National Park. During the visit children engage in various lessons and activities, which revolve around a number of conservation topics, including sustainable fishing methods, HIV/AIDS and wildlife trafficking. In addition, children and teachers are taken into the Lower Zambezi National Park on game drives and boat cruises to interact and learn about wildlife on a more personal and positive level.
CLZ’s environmental educator, Besa Kaoma, carries out five outreaches a year, one outreach per project area. He travels to each project area and visits each school that CLZ works with to distribute the Nzou Environmental Education Teachers Curriculum, Student Activity books and HIV/AIDS Health Curriculum to each Conservation Club. In addition, he will conduct a lesson with each Conservation Club visited, and showcase a wildlife documentary to encourage and engage the clubs in conservation topics and discussions before leaving them to run the clubs for the remainder of the year.
Each year, CLZ chooses one of its five project areas and invites 24 teachers from the Conservation Clubs to attend a three night and two day teacher training workshop at CLZ’s Environmental Education Centre. This is a vital part of the environmental education program, as it ensures that teachers are trained to teach their clubs on conservation issues and that they too have a strong connection and understanding of the topics. They engage in conservation lessons, discussions and debates as well as also going out into the park on game drives and boat cruises.