13 years of moulding and inspiring

 

CLZ has a thriving Environmental Education Programme aimed at getting communities and future generations to take interest and care about their surrounding wildlife and natural resources. The Lower Zambezi Game Management Area holds over 60 schools and the surrounding ecosystem can only thrive if the community is educated on how they can be involved.

CLZs Environmental Educator, Besa Kaoma, single handedly runs the programme. From conducting teacher training to educational outreach within each village and holding trips to CLZ’s basecamp for students to visit and get first-hand experience on what they are being taught. Mr. Kaoma has designed a multi-faceted approach to engaging with the children in various ways. 
 
Besa Kaoma, CLZ’s Education Manager
 

CLZ takes pride in its EEP because of the long-term results it produces. Here is a heart-warming story of one of our very own EEP students, Rabson Tembo, that now runs CLZ’s Law Enforcement Programme!

Rabson Tembo, CLZ’s Operations Manager

Rabson’s journey with CLZ started as a student, when he was 15 years old and visited CLZ on a school visit as part of his school’s Chongololo Club (Conservation Club) in 2005. He had very little understanding as to why we should look after the environment and while growing up, was taught that animals are dangerous, especially elephants and hippos for raiding crops. Growing up if their family meal had meat, it was bushmeat and they were always told they were not to tell anyone about it. It was only when he came to CLZ that he learnt that bushmeat was illegal and why. It was also at CLZ that he learnt the value of the environment and his role, as a person, in protecting it. The visit to CLZ was an inspirational weekend and changed how he looked at the environment.

In addition, Rabson mentions others from his Conservation Club had been impacted and many from his class chose a path committed to the protection of the environment, including many current DNPW officers, Park Rangers, Safari Guides and Environmental Educators.

Rabson expresses that the work of CLZ and its EEP in the community is critical. Environmental issues are not a one-man show and require everyone’s involvement to achieve the goal in the end.

 

CLZ had a school visit of 24 students at camp from the Chinyunyu area recently 
 
 
The children engaged in environmental lessons that were followed up with an activity to reinforce the information they learnt, such as:
The importance of sustainable fishing and a game illustrating what happens when one or more people exploit a river or lake. This game is especially fun because they get to eat the fish (popcorn) after!
Ecosystem services, animal behaviours, and food chains where they get to physically see the connections in a web.
Our education center has thought provoking images throughout it to interest the students to learn more about their surroundings and be inquisitive towards everything:
Learning who eats who in the animal world 
Understanding the ecosystem benefits of plants

The school visits also involve extracurricular activities:

Game drives around the Lower Zambezi National Park 
Boat cruises along the Zambezi River

These excursions allow the children and teachers the opportunity to see some of the animals that they learnt about, connecting them in a deeper way to their environment and it’s surrounding wildlife. 

This Chinyunyu school visit was exceptionally special because it allowed CLZ to pilot its new iSchool tablets. CLZ has been working with iSchool for months on developing a curriculum on tablets in order to engage the students in different and more technologically advanced methods. Through these interactive modules, we found that the children were very focused, enjoyed themselves and learnt a lot! The modules will now be used at every school visit and CLZ is aiming to provide student and teacher tablets to all conservation clubs in the 60 schools that are involved in the EEP.

Enthusiastic students enjoying the tablets 


Besa and a student exploring a new tablet

In order to give the children creative ways to engage with the content they learnt, the school visit closes with them writing and reciting poems. This year’s winning poem covered relevant topics on the environment, climate change and the sustainability of our future.