Children in the Wilderness (CITW) recently launched its innovative Eco-Club programme in three new villages in Bobirwa sub-district, Botswana, at Gobojango, Mabolwe and Semolale Primary Schools. The first two-day Eco-Mentor training sessions were held at Semolale Community Hall.
“We trained an enthusiastic group of local teachers and community members who volunteered to help with teaching our learners in the three new Eco-Clubs. We had an overwhelming response from community members including the elderly, nurses, the Botswana police force and the Chief of the Semolale village. It was remarkable how everyone came together to serve the interests of the children – the future custodians of these areas”, observed Janet Wilkinson, CITW Regional Programme Manager.
The training focused on adequately teaching all participants the intricate details of CITW’s Eco-Club programme, what it means to be an Eco-Mentor and a role model to the learners. It also included practical examples of environmental lessons outlined in the Eco-Club Resource Book 1, including a Tippy Tap demonstration that encourages good hygiene and water conservation (Tippy Tap is a hands-free way to wash hands utilising a 5-litre plastic container, ideal for rural areas where there is no running water).
The new schools will be joining Mathathane, Mothlabaneng and Lentswe-Le-Moriti Primary Schools in the Tuli Block; the latter schools have been participating in CITW programmes for the past eight years. Each of the new schools has started off with 30 children in its Eco-Club programme. Once the members have completed the Eco-Clubs offered at primary school, CITW then introduces them to its Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) programme – a course designed for young adults with a greater focus on career guidance, leadership, team building, communication and further environmental education.
“We are excited to launch Eco-Clubs into these schools as they are also located within the Tuli area where our main sponsor, the Nedbank Tour de Tuli, hosts its annual mountain bike adventure. We are now present in six schools within this area, which forms part of our objective to expand and reach more children within the rural areas in order to have an even bigger positive impact”, added Janet.
Since the inception of the programme in Botswana in 2001, CITW has positively impacted 1 851 children through its annual Eco-Club Camps while 180 young adults have participated in its YES Club Camps. CITW Botswana also has 570 children currently participating in its Eco-Club programme across the country. More recently, two ex-campers and now CITW coordinators, Gaogope Monnafela and Kemelo Kopano, acquired their driver’s licences and are currently enrolled on a professional guiding course.