GABORONE, Botswana, August 15, 2019 – Wilderness Safaris’ non-profit partner, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) has enhanced its Eco-Club programme by introducing an exciting new curriculum to be implemented at more than 65 Eco-Clubs across the seven countries in which CITW operates. While the Eco-Clubs in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe are already using the course work, in January 2020 all regions will officially start with the curriculum.
“We are proud to have refreshed our Eco-Club programme to be more user-friendly for our teachers, while at the same time inspiring over 3 000 children who attend our Eco-Clubs throughout the year – our future conservation leaders! In addition to redesigning the course work to be more impactful, focusing on a range of environmental and life-skill topics, we also streamlined our lessons to ensure a good balance of both theoretical and practical tasks”, says Lisa Witherden, CITW Environmental Education Resource Developer.
The refined module consists of three Resource Books per year with well-structured content that builds on the previous year’s learnings. It runs over three years, catering for grades five to seven. During each term the lessons focus on environmental and life-skills topics, as well as an environmentally themed project for the club. In addition, learners participate in conservation debates where they will be encouraged to voice their opinions, concerns and solutions to conservation issues.
“Looking at the schools we started with, the new curriculum has been well-received by all of our Eco-Mentors who are really excited about sharing the module with the teachers and children, as well as helping us to fine-tune the course work before we roll it out to all of our regions. Our aim with the updated and revised Resource Books is to ensure that the Eco-Clubs across all regions are on par with each other so we can monitor and measure performance more effectively,” adds Lisa.
Since launching its innovative Eco-Club programme in 2001, CITW has focused on reaching more children, and now proudly runs 67 Eco-Clubs across seven African countries: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition to hosting 3 300 children at Eco-Clubs throughout the year, CITW has hosted 7 000 children and 402 teachers at 207 annual Eco-Club Camps over the past 17 years, greatly amplifying its reach in environmental and life-skills educational programmes.
“If we are to ensure that Africa’s pristine wilderness areas continue to exist, we need its children to understand the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives. Our goal is to continue growing our Eco-Clubs to reach more learners, more often, in more areas; to make the programme as inspiring and relevant as possible; and to continue supporting the children into the future by offering scholarship opportunities and exposure to potential career options once they complete school. A number of the alumni are now Eco-Mentors themselves or working within the African tourism and conservation industry,” Lisa concludes.