June 2021 – Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Botswana and the FNBB Foundation have joined hands at Parakarungu Primary School to sensitise more than 200 children to sustainable environmental conservation. Over this 3-year partnership, the FNBB Foundation has committed BWP767 473 towards the implementation of an environmental education, life skills and leadership development programme to be implemented by CITW Botswana.
A signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CITW Botswana and FNBB Foundation to officially mark the beginning of this partnership was held on the 18th of June 2021 in Parakarungu village, at the school. Also signed at the ceremony was another MoU between CITW Botswana and Parakarungu Primary School on programme activities’ implementation. The two MoUs were signed in the presence of representatives from the Chobe Regional Education Office, Chobe District Council, Parakarungu village leaders and other distinguished community stakeholders.
As part of the programme implementation, CITW Botswana will train interested or selected teachers at Parakarungu Primary School on the CITW Botswana-specific curriculum on Environmental Education (EE) to become EE Mentors. The trained teachers will then establish, run and manage an extracurricular Environmental Education Club (Eco-Club) at the school.
Learners interested in environmental conservation will be given the opportunity to sign up, meet, learn, discuss and expand their knowledge of environmental issues through the extra-curricular Eco-Club activities in the school. The children participating in the Eco-Club will also have the chance to be selected for participation in annual summer camps, which are 3-day summer camps held in Okavango Wilderness Safaris’ and partner camps during the December school break. During the camp, the children participate in various wildlife activities including game drives, nature walks and other educational activities and they attend interactive workshops on environmental management and conservation, the geography and geology of the Okavango Delta area, culture, and the importance of wilderness areas to their communities and their country. Additionally, they learn life skills and values necessary to one day become great leaders and conservationists. The annual summer camps have been running since 2001, with over 2 100 children participating to date. In addition to committing funds toward the implementation of the programme, the FNBB Foundation will present and avail its staff (including bank staff from FNBB) to participate in some of the programme activities, including, but not limited to, the annual summer camps.
“We are extremely excited to join hands with the FNBB Foundation for this initiative, taking much-needed sustainable environmental conservation education to more young hearts and minds in Botswana”, explained Moalosi Lebekwe, CITW Botswana Programme Co-ordinator. “Even beyond issues of human wildlife co-existence, we need to inculcate a culture of conservation, sustainability and environmental awareness among our youth, and the Eco-Clubs have proven incredibly successful in this regard. We are excited to welcome more children into the fold through Parakarungu Primary School and are very grateful to the FNBB Foundation, Chobe Regional Education Office, Chobe District Council, Parakarungu village leaders for their support in making this possible”.
CITW Botswana focuses on the next generation of decision-makers; inspiring them to care for their natural heritage and to become the custodians of these areas in the future. The programme adopts a multi-stakeholder approach including regional education offices/centres, teachers and school administrators, parent-teacher associations (PTAs), village authorities (Dikgosi), district authorities (district councils) and various governmental departments. The programme is fully aligned with both national interests and global agendas on sustainable development. It contributes to the National Development Plan 11 (NDP11), supports the Government of Botswana’s Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) Policy, as well as the Africa Agenda of 2063, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly the programme is aligned with Botswana’s 1994 Revised Policy on Education in addressing children’s acquisition of knowledge and problem-solving skills, as well as environmental, social, cultural, and ethical dimensions of human development in Botswana.
The FNBB Foundation has a mandate to empower communities with 6 strategic focus areas: Youth Empowerment, Environmental Sustainability, Education, Arts & Culture, Social Welfare and Sports & Recreation. The partnership with CITW Botswana works to support both Youth Empowerment and Environmental Sustainability. “FNBB Foundation is committed to ensuring that the environment is preserved for future generations. The partnership will include working with schools that are in the tourism areas. One such area that will be added to the already existing villages in the programme is Parakarungu Primary School. With each year of the partnership, a new village shall be added to the programme, for FNBB Foundation is committed to empowering communities”, said Dr. Lesedinyana Odiseng, FNBB Foundation Trustee.
CITW Botswana programme activities are currently implemented in eight schools in Botswana’s North West District, in the villages of Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha, Gudigwa, Sankoyo, Tubu, Habu and Maun; six schools in Bobirwa; and one in Gaborone (Tshwaragano Primary School in Old Naledi).