Yesterday, 18 April 2021, marked the launch of the first of its kind Environmental Science and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)-focused camp for girls in rural areas in Botswana’s North-West District. The camp, which is being held in Eretsha village, was launched by among others, the Eretsha Village Chief, Mr Mosenyege, Regional Environmental Education Coordinator, Mrs Veronica Ridge, on behalf of the school head, the Head of Department at Ngambao Community Junior Secondary School in Eronga, Mr Moilwa, camp facilitators, and other participants and media houses.
In his welcome remarks, the Chief reminded the participants that times have changed, and they may aspire to take up career paths in Environmental Sciences and STEM to realise their potential. He encouraged the participants to take advantage of the camp, as it will open new opportunities for them in the future; Mr Moilwa reiterated this message, reminding the participants that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Mrs Ridge noted that the camp’s objectives are aligned with the Ministry of Basic Education’s mission of delivering a 21st century learner. She further thanked Children in the Wilderness Botswana and the US Embassy in Botswana for implementing the camp and focusing on girls in rural areas.
The camp, which is part of a one-year project funded by the US Embassy in Botswana, is intended to encourage and empower school-going girls in rural areas to develop an interest in environmental conservation, and in pursuing STEM-related subjects, so that they might continue with environmental and STEM-based tertiary degrees and career trajectories.
The camp runs from 18 to 23 April 2021 in Eretsha village, and during the camp, 30 girls from Ngambao CJSS will participate in workshops and discussions focusing on nature, biodiversity and environmental conservation, using scientific methods to conduct mini-researches and investigations.
The camp is being co-ordinated and run by a team of ecologists, scientists and conservationists, including Wilderness Safaris Botswana’s Environmental team, and a team of volunteers. The team will also mentor the girls and provide information on career choices in the above fields. Other activities on the camp include life skills and leadership talks, team projects and nature walks.
Report by Moalosi Lebekwe – CITW Botswana Programme Co-ordinator