CITW Drives Sustainable Conservation through Leadership Development

Since launching in Botswana in 2001, Wilderness Safaris’ non-profit partner, Children in the Wilderness (CITW), has impacted the lives of over 10 000 children in seven African countries through a range of environmental and life skills educational programmes, with many alumni later joining the ecotourism industry in adult life.

Working in partnership with many of the communities living adjacent to the areas in which Wilderness Safaris operates, CITW’s innovative programmes include Eco-Clubs that cater for primary school learners, exciting Eco-Club conservation camps and the Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) programme, which caters for teenagers. CITW also awards scholarships to students on the basis of merit, including those learners who have reached post-secondary level.

With the recent launch of CITW’s Eco-Club programme in Rwanda, CITW now operates in seven African countries: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. “We have also just launched three new Eco-Clubs in Botswana and are delighted to see our programme growing in Africa”, commented Janet Wilkinson, CITW Regional Programme Manager.

“If we are to ensure that pristine wilderness areas continue to exist, we need the children of Africa to understand the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives”, Janet added. “Our goal is not only to expand our Eco-Clubs to reach more children, more often, in more areas, but also to continue to support them into the future by offering scholarship opportunities and exposure to potential career options once they complete school”.

In addition to hosting numerous children at Eco-Clubs throughout the year, between 2001 and 2017, CITW has achieved the following milestones:

  • Hosted 6 939 children and 402 teachers at 207 annual Eco-Club Camps
  • Hosted 478 young adults and 45 teachers at 23 YES Club Camps (since 2008)
  • Trained 675 Eco-Mentors/teachers on life skills and environmental issues
  • Provided 959 primary school scholarships, 1 243 secondary school scholarships, 116 tertiary scholarships and 36 scholarships to the Southern African Wildlife College

Have a look at our programme in a nutshell here.

“We are proud of the positive difference we have had in the lives of many rural communities over the last 17 years, but as we look ahead, we plan to build on this momentum and expand our reach to more children. We are also increasing our focus on Eco-Mentor/Teacher training as we believe that with this strong foundation, our Eco-Clubs will grow and prosper. We are looking forward to driving sustainable conservation through leadership development and continuing to teach and inspire Africa’s future conservationists to love and care for our planet”, Janet concluded.

To watch the latest CITW video, click here.