CITW Malawi Youth – Practical Outcomes for YES and Eco-Club Members

Children in the Wilderness (CITW) YES Club member Nelson Chikwewa is a Malawian park ranger who participated in the translocation of 17 rhinos from the Republic of South Africa to Malawi’s Liwonde National Park in November 2019. Nelson shared his experience with CITW, and expressed his heartfelt appreciation for being part of the team which successfully moved the rhinos to their new home.

Nelson offloading rhinos in Liwonde National Park

Nelson is a member of the CITW YES Club at Ntapwa, situated on the eastern side of Liwonde National Park. His journey with CITW started in 2009 when he was selected to attend a CITW camp after registering as an Eco-Club member at Ntapwa Primary School. When he started secondary school, he joined their YES Club, while also excelling at school (his education made possible through financial support from the CITW Scholarship Programme).

Because of his strong desire to learn more about conservation, CITW selected him to attend the Southern African Wildlife College’s bridging course in Environmental Education and Leadership. The course was sponsored by CITW. Nelson is now a qualified field ranger who is working with African Parks – Liwonde. Whenever he is on his off days, he joins fellow YES members to push for wildlife awareness activities in their local communities and schools. Nelson’s dream is to become a national park manager one day.

Nelson after landing from an aerial patrol

“I am so happy that now, after being raised in an economically challenged family which depended on poaching resources from the park, I am on the side of educating people, and stopping them from engaging in poaching”, says Nelson.

His passion is to see people from his own community coming to an understanding of the importance of wildlife, and realising their role in the process of achieving sustainable conservation. Nelson believes that there are many more benefits for the local communities to be gained from a well-conserved and protected wildlife area than any they might have from poached resources.

Report by Symon Chibaka – Children in the Wilderness Malawi Programme Coordinator