Education and Outreach
The African Wildlife Conservation Fund takes several different approaches to education and outreach of communities neighboring wildlife areas.
Primary School Education Project
In collaboration with the Lowveld Rhino Trust and Frankfurt Zoological Society, we are establishing long term, sustainable conservation education programs in all primary schools within a 10km radius of the key protected areas in the Lowveld. In total we work with close to 120 schools in the area.
Phase 1 of this project aims to provide relevant materials to Grades 5 and 6 teachers along with training workshops. Through phase 1 we aim to maximize the effectiveness of the use of the resources, and to motivate and provide support for the teachers.
The program is designed around the Zimbabwean system of cluster schools. Schools within each cluster will meet at each cluster head school, where training, competitions and meetings will be held. In this way, we are potentially able to reach many, many more children than we would be if we were working with children directly.
Nonetheless, there is enormous value in investing in children directly as well, and phase 2 of this project aims to establish a bush school to which groups of school children can be taken on field trips and leadership training workshops. A bus will be required for this as well.
Secondary School Scholarships
Although we target our school-based education projects at primary schools, we follow through with the most promising and needy of our primary school children by supporting them through secondary school with funds for fees, uniforms and books.
Mobile Education Units
Mobile education units are effectively travelling libraries, which travel round the villages and base in a community for a week at a time. Whilst there, trained educators show wildlife or conservation themed DVDs morning and evening – open for anyone to attend and followed by an informal question and answer session. The library also contains books, puzzles and leaflets for all ages, many in the local vernacular, which can be loaned out for the period the library is based in the village. The educator is available to host discussion sessions and generally spread the conservation message. In this way, we are able to reach a wide range of people of both sexes and all ages, and let them into some of the secrets of this amazing world we live in. These units are currently being set up for Savé Valley Conservancy and Gonarezhou NP.
Conflict mitigation workshops
These workshops are held several times a year with the specific aim of advising and assisting farmers in predator-friendly livestock management techniques, in order to reduce conflict with lions and other large carnivores, and increase tolerance.