Chulumanco Myataza from the Department of Environmental Affairs reports on our Tri-Nations Camp

We were lucky enough to have two representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) take part in our annual Tri-Nations camp in December 2017. Willeen and Chulumanco from the DEA got stuck in to our camp programme, happily giving talks, contributing to lessons, and leading group work activities throughout our four day programme. We were so grateful for their enthusiasm for our programme, and blown away by the fact that they just got involved!

Chulumanco Myataza, an Intern in the Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) department at DEA, monitors compliance within Transfrontier Conservation Areas whilst promoting socio-economic development so as to ensure that local communities situated in those TFCA’s benefit from the natural resources they provide. He was known as ‘Uncle Chulu’ during camp, and without being asked, happily took on the role of an Eco-Mentor and team leader. And he was an absolute natural. He lead and supported his group of children with his gentle kindness, and kept the children laughing and smiling throughout camp.

Our Eco-Mentors for Tri-Nations 2017. Uncle Chulu is far right, wearing his green CITW hat

He wrote a report on his time at camp, which was published in DEA’s Environment Quarterly publication. It’s lovely to see someone else’s take on our camp. Read his report below:

Children in the Wilderness (CITW) is a non- profit organisation that has been in existence since 2001. Due to the fact that it’s a non-profit organisation consistent fundraising is always going to be a key factor in ensuring the sustainability of the programme among African communities.

The annual Tri-nations Camp was held at the Mapungubwe National Park Auditorium and Confluence Viewpoint in the Limpopo Province. The National Department of Environmental Affairs facilitates the cross border events such as Tour de Tuli and Tri-Nations in conjunction with Children in the Wilderness organisers.

CITW organised the camp with the aim to create a network of learning centres that uplift children in rural areas through educational programs that put conservation at the forefront, so as to develop environmental leaders/ambassadors who are inspired to care for their heritage and environment to ensure they become custodians of their area in the future. Furthermore the Tri-Nations Camp exposes children to their wildlife heritage, builds and strengthens their capabilities to cope with life challenges and educates them with the life skills necessary to actualise their greatest potential.

The children hosted at the camp are rural children that live adjacent to the GMTFCA and on an annual basis the camp hosts twenty-four children and eight teachers from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively.

The camp consisted of 18 children and 12 Eco-Mentors, who facilitated the activities and educated the pupils throughout the four day course. Lessons on Biodiversity, the food chain, Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) and a lesson on how to build and operate a Tippy Tappy (a device which conserves water and ensures children are aware of personal hygiene) were provided throughout the four day course. Besides the activities the children were also granted the opportunity to go on a game drive and to visit the Mapungubwe museum were they learnt about the great history of the Mapungubwe area and its people.

Not only did the camp educate the pupils about conservation and a host of other careers it also gave them an opportunity to network with one another and create friendships as well as widen their scope of their view of life.

Thank you Uncle Chulu, for your lovely words!