CITW Malawi Eco-Club activity

This is how Children in the Wilderness Malawi does it: We work to increase children’s knowledge about the environment, wildlife and conservation. We also train them in leadership skills, and their increased knowledge positively changes their attitude. This in turn result in passion and positive behaviour that manifests in different ways, ultimately actualising the desired sustainable conservation. This generation influences the next generation, and so on. Thus with CITW, to change a generation is a possibility.

Eco-Club visit to Liwonde National Park

On the left of the picture below is Chimwemwe Kafulusa, who hails from a village on the eastern side of Liwonde National Park. He joined CITW in 2010 when he was 12 years old. He was an Eco-Club member during his primary school days, and thereafter, a Youth Environmental Stewardship programme (YES Club) member. He now works as a field guide in Liwonde National Park.

On the right is Chifundo Nyambalo, from a village on the western side of Liwonde National Park. He joined CITW in 2008 at the age of 12 and is also a working as field guide in Liwonde National Park.

CITW positively affected the generation of Chimwemwe and Chifundo, and changed their attitude from looking at wildlife in the park near them as available resources that the Government was depriving them of for their daily use, to a mindset of appreciating the sustainable use of these precious natural resources for their own communities’ socio-economic wellbeing for years to come.

Chimwemwe and Chifundo are now committed to positively inspiring the next generation of children. Chimwemwe and Chifundo, as with all other CITW YES members, are specifically trained. The two guides passionately conduct all the visiting school groups’ environmental tours at Mvuu’s Environmental Educational Centre. As YES Club members, they also visit primary schools around the park and give them environmental education talks.

More school groups and Eco-Club environmental education visits to Liwonde National Park have been lined up between now and November 2023. A passionate generation of CITW-trained youth is ready to champion their younger brothers and sisters from primary school Eco-Clubs, as well as other schools which are not CITW-affiliated.

Catch them early

This is how CITW does it: Catch them while they are young; wash away the misconceptions instilled in them by local sources; and open their eyes and minds to a way of life that appreciates living in harmony with the wildlife near their communities, while benefiting from it economically and socially.

The school year came to an end in the third week of July, with the new school year starting up again in the second week of September. Some CITW Eco-Clubs have already organised the recruitment of new members, and introduced them to the ongoing members, in readiness for the 2023/2024 school year. Ntapwa Eco-Club on the eastern side of Liwonde National Park is one of these smart Eco-Clubs.

Once the Eco-Club members are recruited, CITW implements a systematic programme, keeping the spotlight on, and support for them along the way. The result is a changed generation.

Our desired vision of ‘Sustainable Conservation through Leadership Development’ is clearly achievable.

Report by Symon Chibaka, CITW Malawi Programme Co-ordinator

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