Children in the Wilderness Malawi’s camp programme saw its tenth year in 2012, hosting 90 children at three one-week camps at Mvuu Lodge. The children came from the Balaka District, adjacent to Liwonde National Park. This area experiences a large amount of human-wildlife conflict and it is, therefore, important that the children are made aware of the benefits of conservation and have an understanding of ecotourism and the benefits to be derived from it.
Our Follow-up Programmes are incredibly successful and take place in four centres – namely in four primary schools. In each centre, four activities of two hours each take place on a monthly basis, with about 80 to 150 children participating. Primary school teachers, CITW mentors and some local professionals volunteer to run activities and small-scale projects that assist the children in practising the knowledge and skills gained from their camp programmes. The following topics are dealt with: Research, conservation, permaculture/sustainable agriculture, human/child’s rights, HIV/AIDS/health, art and craft/culture/social connections skills. Micro-projects include: Recycling, making products for income generating activity (IGA) groups and general conservation and reforestation. Another excellent concept is that of “refreshers” – where groups of 30 children at a time from all four centres return to where they had their camp for a one-day refresher camp. No less than 450 children experience this refresher, the aim of which of course is to keep their memories and inspiration alive. A number of camp activities are run, and discussions are had of the challenges being experienced in day-to-day life and in implementing new strategies and conservation ideas.
CITW Malawi has run a scholarship programme for disadvantaged children, with sponsorship from well-wishers and supporters, for seven years now. So far, the programme has helped 130 needy children to access higher education, something that they would have not been able to do without a scholarship. Aside from coordinating the sponsors’ funding, CITW also organises the feedback process between the child and his/her sponsor. Currently 81 children are being sponsored in various secondary schools. From among those who have finished their secondary schooling, four have found jobs, while two others are studying in Teachers’ Training Colleges.
Chintheche Tree Planting
In 2011, CITW Malawi became involved in the Chintheche Inn Reforestation Project, the children subsequently taking part in the process of tubbing, seeding, distributing and planting. In 2011, project director Master Banda and the children propagated over 25 000 trees of a variety of different species, which were in turn distributed to over 50 community clubs and schools. This project is growing from strength to strength and thousands of tree were again distributed in 2013.
Three other projects that CITW Malawi runs are: Recycling and making products for IGA, Liwonde National Park fence maintenance and protection, and teaching permaculture and nutrition security.
Plans for 2014
CITW Malawi will be running three camps at Chinthethe Inn on the shores of Lake Malawi in December 2013, hosting 68 children. The Follow-up Programme is continuous and will be running its weekly meetings and conservation projects throughout the year. In addition, another Reforestation Project is currently being established, this time at Nanthomba Primary School, on the outskirts of Liwonde National Park. The project is expected to grow 15 000 seedlings of different species of trees. This idea has come from the CITW children themselves who live in the area, and is being supported by Mvuu Camp and forestry officers from the local community.