Children in the Wilderness Zambezi Region have worked with the El Hefni Foundation in the USA since 2008 following a visit by El Hefni Trustee, Suzanne Wright. In 1985, Ibrahim El-Hefni created the Technical Training Foundation, now known as the El-Hefni Foundation, which provides grants and financial support to medical and educational institutions. Ibrahim El-Hefni felt strongly that if you had an education and worked hard, you could do anything, and he had a moral compulsion to help educate people. Suzanne and her mother have successfully run the Foundation since her father’s death in 2005. The Foundation supports teacher training and has also funded many scholarships over the years.
During her first visit to the Zambezi Region in 2008, a strong bond was formed between Suzanne and CITW Programme Coordinator, Sue Goatley; both Suzanne and Sue found they shared a mutual passion for education and both women realised that together they could achieve great things. Over the past few years, CITW have
been privileged to host a team of El Hefni’s qualified teaching staff from the USA on visits to both Zimbabwe and Zambia where they conduct comprehensive Teacher Training Workshops for rural schools affiliated with the CITW Programme.
This years teaching team from the El Hefni Foundation included educationalists, Coleen Ryan and Annie Johnson, who have been to the area a number of times over the past few years and who have been instrumental in developing easy to use curriculums which are tailored to utilize local resources and provide hands on experience in the conservation and management of natural resources. Working closely with CITW, they ensure the training programmes are fun, interactive and highly informative. Last year’s training for Livingstone school teachers was such a huge success that CITW decided to include schools from the Kafue region this
year; once the plans were made, there was much excitement amongst the Kafue teachers who had heard about the training in the Livingstone and were anxious to be part of the programme. The Schools in the Kafue region are very remote and getting everyone up there was a massive logistical challenge, but they did it and the results were fantastic.
This intensive training programme was conducted at Kabulwebulwe School in Kafue National Park and attracted twelve teaching staff from three schools namely: Kabulwebulwe, Mapoko and Kawena Community School, as well as two District Officials from the Zambian Ministry of Education.
Bearing in mind that our future depends on how best our resources are being utilized, involving children in decision making and championing change is the real answer to creating social assets who can protect our natural resources from exploitation in years to come. CITW Programmes are aimed at providing knowledge on sustainable resource utilization which will help ensure that our children do not repeat the mistakes of past generations when managing the environment. Ensuring that our children receive the best possible education starts with the teachers, so it is imperative that we ensure our educationalists receive the best possible guidance and mentoring so that they are better equipped to educate today’s youth for a more prosperous tomorrow.
Representative of the District Education Office, Mr. James Kajumpa thanked CITW for organizing such important training for teachers from rural areas. He emphasized that this form of support provides much knowledge to teachers in areas of environment and conservation management. He further noted that Children in the Wilderness had demonstrated sincerity in uplifting their schools and children through the CITW Scholarship Programme, CITW Teacher Training Programme as well as construction of teacher housing at Mapoko, and further indicated that the Ministry would be happy to work closely with CITW as we move forward.
Teachers are true and real agents of change in human development globally. Teachers have the ability to transform human development regardless of its size, state or geographical location. Teachers impact knowledge and change the lives of children and adults globally. It therefore stands to reason that teacher education is not only important, but vital to the success of future generations.
Each year, fantastic new friendships are made and a new level of understanding generates renewed enthusiasm amongst these rural teachers. The El Hefni team have a genuine understanding of education needs within Africa and their energy is boundless. Grateful thanks are extended to the El Hefni Foundation for their continued support and dedication to the CITW Teacher Training Programme.