Environmental Education: What is a Cluster Competition?

Cluster Competitions are one of the three defining pillars of AWCF’s Environmental Education (EE) programme and are significant in its success and effectiveness. The competitions are held every term of the school year, each with a different theme. In 2022 these themes were The World Around Us; Flora and Fauna; Us and Our Environment.

Children and community members gather together for an informative, fun and entertaining day where teams of primary students compete in drama, poetry, model making and poster making to prove their knowledge of environmentalism. The final round is a head-to-head, nail biting quiz.

In 2022, 63 schools took part in the initiative. 630 students participated in the competitions with support from 189 teachers and 1131 members of the community.

The day starts with entertainment provided by the host school – singing, dancing, gymnastics are popular skills to share – followed by a recital of the Zimbabwean national anthem. Once the schoolteachers, headteachers, special attendees and dignitaries have been formally introduced, its onto the main event!

Schools enter a team into each category to compete for a maximum of 100 points. Points are awarded for proper presentation and articulation of conservation facts, relevance and delivery of the take home message, creativity and confidence and finally for voice projection and eloquence. Drama presentations are always a hit, drawing rapturous applause and laughter from the audiences. pupils play the parts of park rangers, community leaders, poachers, police officers, endangered animals, writing their own scripts and creating costumes to communicate environmental messaging.

As with any competition, prizes are up for grabs. Each participant receives stationary for the school year ahead and teachers are awarded with textbooks for their schools. Winning teams receive the additional prize of day trips into wildlife areas to see animals up close and learn from experienced rangers. Lunch and refreshments are provided for all attendees courtesy of AWCF.

Cluster competitions are so effective because they draw crowds from different walks of life – all age groups are represented on the day from babies to the elderly who all receive the same messages. The audience is always made up of teachers, learners, government officials and often representatives from the Ministry of Education, the police force, the Ministry of Health, and traditional leaders. Senior community members are regarded as the custodians of cultural knowledge and traditional ways of life. Their presence is a great example of the unity of purpose needed to conserve wildlife and the environment.

AWCF is committed to delivering a high quality Environmental Education programme and we now reach communities surrounding 108 primary schools in Zimbabwe. We couldn’t deliver them without the support of donors and funders who believe in our work.

To find out how you can support children and communities to enhance their livelihoods through environmental education get in touch with us at info@africanwildlifeconservationfund.org or make a donation today by following the DONATE button at the top of this page.

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