CITW Malawi Camp program of 2015 was its 13th year and it hosted a total of 70 children. Since 2003, CITW has hosted a total of 1116 first-time campers and 156 repeat campers. 2015 Camps took place at CAWS Chintheche Inn in the northern region of Malawi. Every activity and lesson was based on the annual theme of “Life is green and possible in a green environment” and the particular themes of the day.
All camp mentor underwent a two day training which also included topics such as: Teaching and learning through fun; monitoring and evaluating the teaching and learning process, and identifying and encouraging individual children’s potentials.
Some of the major activities and lesson sessions from the camp curriculum included:
- Introduction to natural resources and wildlife
From the above learning area, campers covered the following basic classifications:
- Natural and man-made;
- Living and non-living things;
- Animals and plants;
- Wildlife and domesticated life; and
- Government-protected resources, free resources and private resources
- Waste management and recycling projects
It was considered necessary to teach children more about waste management as a means of equipping them with more information and skills in the process of reducing waste/litter in their communities. The general intention was to have children understand and appreciate the concept of the three Rs.
- My life and its threats (meeting my role model and future planning)
Peter, one of the top musicians in Malawi, shared his life story with the children on camp. He had general musical fun with all the campers and conducted an audition to select 10 whom he specially trained until they had composed a song which was called “Conservation is part of our beautiful culture.” Peter recorded, edited and produced the song using his mobile studio. Each child went home with a CD of their single song, full of pride and honor.
The children also learned a lot about life and threats such as common diseases and how to prevent them; skills in basic first aid; dealing with peer pressures; children’s rights versus responsibilities and how to protect their rights. Another topic was to meet and chat with those people/professionals considered as role models. They also learned about drafting one’s life plan and how to follow it.
- Recreation: Sports/swimming and day evaluations
Another part of learning came through sports and playing of different fun games. With the system of Intentional Programming used by CITW, every game carries some skills and information to be learnt. Every day between 17:00 and 18:00, it was a sports time. At the end of sports there was always a general debrief (the whole group of children and mentors met together to reflect on the day and digest the learning of the day). In addition to such sessions, at the end of each day, there was yet another small debrief of the day at room level (tent chat), before the lights were switched off at 21:00.
On the last day of camp there were two main activities, which also included the parents:
- A quiz in the form of summarizing what the children had learned during their camp days;
- Camp graduation ceremonies – awarding camp certificates.
The quiz had the following main objectives: to evaluate and see what the children had learned; to let the parents appreciate what their children had learned during their stay in camp; to create an atmosphere of respect from the parents to their own children; and to celebrate together with the parents as the children were graduating.
The parents were invited to witness the change which had happened in their children after their camp days. Each parent of the 20 campers participated. Therefore, the quiz was between 20 campers and 20 parents. The quiz had 40 questions. Before camp the average score of all children was 15%. At the end of camp, 20 questions were leveled to campers and another 20 questions to parents. Campers answered all their 20 questions correctly as well those which the parents couldn’t answer. Parents got 8 questions right out of 20. At the end campers got 64 point while their parents got 16 points. It was very amusing to see the parents complaining that they were being asked questions on topics which they had no idea about. This ensured that they truly appreciated the new knowledge their children had acquired.
For the graduation, each camper was called to the front and their award statement and desired careers were read out, their parents/guardians could come, hug and cerebrate with them, then the camper received their camp certificate.
Main projects lined up for 2016/2017 include:
- Tree Nursery and reforestation projects (Chintheche and Liwonde zones);
- Permaculture and nutrition project in Chintheche and Nanthomba zones;
- Continuation of scholarships for needy students;
- YES Club participation in minor Park Fence maintenance;
- YES Club Adobe Youth Voice – Electronic Media trainings exhibitions;
- YES Club Newsletter trainings and publication; and
- Recycling (making briquettes; making tumblers from wine bottles; making candle lamps; making earrings, etc.).