Children in the Wilderness Malawi’s camp programme saw its eleventh year in 2013, hosting 100 children at three one-week camps at Chintheche Inn in Nkhata Bay. The children came from Chintheche Community and the following Primary Schools: Chihame, Mgodi, Chintheche, MaAlpine, Malengamzoma, Chifira and Mazembe Primary Schools. Chintheche community experiences a large amount of natural forest deforestation and a decreasing number of fish in that part of Lake Malawi. Therefore, CITW consider it important that the children from the community are made aware of the deforestation and are trained to become leaders and champions of conservation of the natural forest and environment and fish.
Our Eco-Club Programmes have been incredibly successful for the past 4 years. The Eco-Club activities take place in four cluster centers – namely, Northern zone: Chihame – surrounded by two more primary Schools; MaAlpine – surrounded by three more Primary Schools. Southern Zone: Nanthomba – surrounded by three primary and a Secondary School; Ntapwa – surrounded by three more Primary Schools. Each Eco-Club (School), meet once or twice per week. Lessons, discussions and research is done following a structured curriculum. The discussions and research end in the development of conservation and social based projects. The projects could be at a local school level or at a cluster level. CITW supports such project so that children can practice leadership skills. The project outcomes usually impact individual participants or the entire local school or community. Each Eco-Club has 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 practicing the knowledge and skills gained from their CITW camp programmes and the continuing lessons, discussion and research. The following topics are dealt with: research, conservation, permaculture/sustainable agriculture, human/children’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 centers 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 held of the challenges being experienced in day-to-day life and in implementing new strategies and conservation ideas.
The Eco-Club programme also includes a continuous capacity building training for teachers in environmental education through a participatory approach. The teaching and learning processes and any other topics taught are based on the teachers training needs assessments which take place every year.
CITW Malawi has run a scholarship programme for disadvantaged children, with sponsorship from well-wishers and supporters, for eight years now. So far, the programme has helped 250 needy children to access higher education, something that they would have not been able to do without a scholarship. Ten children have so far been supported through tertiary education. Ten beneficiaries got jobs and are working. Aside from coordinating the sponsors’ funding, CITW also organizes the feedback process between the child and his/her sponsor. Currently 105 children are being sponsored in various secondary schools and tertiary schools.
In 2011, CITW Malawi became involved in the Chintheche Inn Reforestation Project, the children subsequently taking part in the process of tubing, seeding, distributing and planting. In 2013, CITW children participated in the reforestation programme managed by Root to Fruit (NGO) in Chintheche community (Northern Malawi). The project raised more than 70, 000 different kind of tree species. The trees were donated to schools and village conservation clubs. In Nanthomba community (Southern Malawi) children raised over 12, 000 different species of trees which were donated to schools and village conservation clubs.
In 2014-2015 programme year, children have aimed at propagating over 60, 000 seedlings at Nanthomba center with support from the German Embassy. At Chintheche, children are working with Root to Fruit in the continuing reforestation programme. Over 70, 000 seedlings will be propagated.
Park Fence Clearing Project:
In 2013–2014 programme year, Children from Nanthomba and Ntapwa cluster center have been participating in their large numbers to clear the bushes along the Liwonde National Park Fence. Such projects are born from weekly Eco-Club meetings and discussions and carried out in partnership with the National Park officers. Over 30 km of Park fence have been cleared to date.
Three other projects that CITW Malawi is involved in include: Recycling and making products for IGA, Liwonde National Park fence maintenance and protection, and permaculture – food and nutrition security.
Plans for 2014 – 2015
CITW Malawi will be running three camps at Mvuu Camp in Liwonde Nation Park this coming December from 5th to 16th 2014. The Camp programme will host 100 children from villages and schools around Liwonde National Park. Volunteers (young professionals) from well known professional backgrounds – NGOs and Private Public Sectors are welcomed. Those who are in the age range of 19 to 29 make great mentors to children during the camp programme. For more information on mentors’ recruitment call: +265 999 669 369 or email: email@example.com.
Teacher training will take place for four days in August 2014 where over 40 Eco-Club coordinators (Teachers) will participate in the training.
In September 2014, CITW invites the general public and all education Sectors to a launch of Kindles (e-readers) programme at Namalomba Secondary School, Balaka east, Ulongwe zone. CITW in conjunction with Rosemary Pencil Foundation and support from World Readers (USA) had made a donation of 60 mini computers – Kindles to Namalomba Secondary School. Each machine was loaded with over 110 different kinds of students’ text books, teachers’ guides and other books based on Malawi Secondary School Education syllabus. Since 2013 the programme was in its pilot project phase. After one school year of testing the computers CITW and Rosemary Pencil Foundation conducted an evaluation to check the impact of the computers, the results were positive and beyond expectation. After the September launch event, the Kindle programme will change from a pilot project to a full Kindle programme - the first of its kind in Malawi Schools.
CITW Open Day will also take place in August 2014 at Chihame in the Northern region and at Nanthomba in the Southern region. The Open Day aims to give children a platform to air their views, ideas, and concerns about the degradation of the natural environment and how their lives are affected by local social life styles. The children also find time to air their appreciation about changes in their lives from participating in the CITW programme.