This year, under an MoU between CLZ and UNZA, we were able to bring in an intern to assist with our Environmental Education Programme. The bright and capable Eglina Mpanga joined us from Lusaka for a month and has enthusiastically immersed herself into the camp lifestyle. Eglina is in her 3rd year of university, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education at UNZA.

Read Eglina’s blog about her background and her experience at CLZ:

Since grade one, I have been exposed to the topic of conservation as I joined the conservation clubs and stayed in it until I completed secondary school. I grew up in a Game Management Area, that also influenced my passion towards conservation. While growing up, I had no idea there were courses related to conservation being offered in Zambia, because environmental related programs were poorly advertised, thus I had other ambitions despite my passion for the environment.

Circumstances drew me back to my true passion in 2015, when I was given admission to study Environmental Education at the University of Zambia. Because of the knowledge I had from my experience from the conservation clubs, the course felt just right. Environmental Education is a course that looks at the environment in totality from the ecosystem, society, politics and the economy. I am interested in what I am studying because it covers so many important topics.

In November this year, I saw an advert that Conservation Lower Zambezi was looking for an intern to work with them for one month under the Department of Environmental Education. Environmental education being my passion, I applied with all faith that I would be given the internship space, and once awarded the position, I was very excited to finally visit the Lower Zambezi for the first time and put my skills and knowledge into action.

When I arrived, the thought of having no mobile network made me think that my stay would be terrible, but instead beautiful scenery awaited me. Conservation Lower Zambezi being located in the midst of the bushes means that animal encounters are not a strange story…but to me they were! One evening, I was going to the dining area from my room and I heard footsteps and thought it was a person, so I got closer and guess what I saw? A hippo! At that moment, I did not know whether to stand still or run. I waited until it went away then I exercised my athletic skills.

Up to now, I had only been into one national park in Zambia, South Luangwa National Park. Visiting the Lower Zambezi National Park for the first time was more than awesome. Including the game drive into the park, the boat cruise I went on was something I could have never imagined. Viewing the escapement from the mighty Zambezi River, got me thinking what beauty Zambia has.

I was exposed to the complexities of data analyses through my duties, which is something I was not taught in school, and it opened my eyes to the important issues I never knew about wildlife conservation. Not only has working with and learning from Besa inspired me to acquire more knowledge about wildlife, it has also given me the confidence to work extra hard and educate people on the need to conserve nature and the benefits that comes with doing so.

After completing my studies, I would like to work with organizations within Zambia whose mission is to perfect the wellbeing of the environment.