Over 500 children have been reached in nine villages in Northern Botswana through our CITW Eco-Clubs. These children receive lessons on a weekly basis given by Eco-Club Coordinators. 20 teachers were trained by CITW on how to run their respective schools’ Eco-Clubs in July 2014. Through the trainings the teachers are also taught how to effectively disseminate information to the children by conducting weekly lessons. The trainings provide teachers with access to new methods of teaching and materials, as well as community project ideas. The lessons are taught in different ways including through poetry, drama, group discussions, debate and hands on projects. Projects to date include teaching children local craft making skills; vermiculture, vegetable gardens etc.
At the Annual CITW Camps at the end of 2014, which were held at Jacana and Santawani camps, hosting 120 children for three nights per group, the children were very proud to present their Eco-Club projects to the others as a way of showing off what they had learnt during the year. Photography was introduced to the curriculum of the Annual CITW Camps in Botswana for the first time in 2014, and the children were extremely excited as it was their first time to hold a camera and take a picture themselves.
CITW has also identified a gap where community elders and parents are not aware of many environmental concepts children are learning about. This has a negative effect when children return home with ideas and concepts learnt at schools and Eco-Clubs. The “Elders in the Wilderness” (EITW), or Adult Eco-Clubs, initiative will close this gap, providing better chances for successful, sustainable environmental projects. Four groups have been successfully established in Shashe, Sankoyo, Habu and Tubu with 45 members in total. The groups are doing weaving, beading, leather works, knitting and elephant dung paper projects.
2014 also included Soccer in the Wilderness clinics with school children and Wilderness Safaris staff. We hosted 90 children from different schools within Maun and Sankoyo area. This is an annual event at which CITW Ambassador Gordon Gilbert, a professional footballer, holds soccer clinics in order to motivate these young players and teach them about environmental and conservation issues through sports.