Changing the Lens on Conservation is a Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Malawi project that aims to increase environmental knowledge, and create a positive attitude and behaviour towards conservation among its participants through in-depth learning about locally identified environmental issues; developing stories and capturing photos of these issues; and publishing content about these issues.
The project provides a special opportunity to participants (children and youth), to practice and develop skills in:
- Identifying environmental issues in their localities
- Discussing the issues with local stakeholders
- Challenging those stakeholders to assume roles in mitigating the noted issues
- Practicing photography and media production (communication posters)
- Organising community awareness events
- Public speaking
CITW believes that this project will create an important platform for CITW youth, whose mission is to communicate their message about the conservation of wildlife and other natural resources to the local public and national stakeholders.
In preparing the schools and teachers who will be supervising the project activities at school level, CITW organised a teachers’ orientation for story writing and photography
Liwonde Zone Teachers’ Training – Mvuu Camp
The project targets 300 children, aged between 12 and 13 from 15 primary schools, as well as over 200 adults from around Liwonde National Park and the Chintheche community. The project, which is for a period of 12 months, was launched in June this year. One of its primary outputs has been training teachers in story writing and photography. Twenty-two teachers from 10 primary schools were trained and prepared to start project activities at their local schools. Orientating the teachers to the required special skills and tasks around story writing and photography was of paramount importance to make sure that the project is run in line with its objectives.
COVID-19 preventative measures were observed throughout the training period of two days
The teachers’ training will be followed by the orientation of participants to handle digital cameras. Thereafter, the children will start working on their chosen stories. The first round of exhibiting the developed stories and media will be at community level by end November 2021. The final, national-level exhibition of stories and media will be held in April 2022. Thereafter, the 15 top stories and photos will be published in a book that will be shared with various stakeholders, to appeal for positive change in the lens on conservation in Malawi.
Our thanks go to Central African Wilderness Safaris, whose generosity made it possible for the training to take place at Mvuu Camp in Liwonde National Park. Thanks also to African Parks – Liwonde for permitting entry into the park, and sending their representative to the training. Finally, our great thanks to the National Geographic Society for funding the project.
Report by Symon Chibaka, CITW Malawi Programme Co-ordinator