CITW Zambezi had a lovely opportunity to interact with teachers and community leaders from four different schools and villages in the Southern province of Zambia. Kawewa Primary School was chosen as the meeting point for the Southern Cluster, and the schools present included Kasaya, Sikaunzwe, and Sibbulo Primaries, as well as the host school, Kawewa.
A total of 42 participants were invited for the day, comprising teachers, farmers, and village leaders. The day was a bit windy and not very conducive for an outside class, so the sessions were held in a classroom, while the majority of games were conducted outside.
The training started on a relaxed note, with participants registering and proceeding to have a nutritious meal, which filled their tummies in preparation for the activity-packed day. After an opening prayer and speech by the host school, group introductions followed. Two DEBS (District Education Board Secretary) officials were also present on the day, and showed full support of the programme, eager to participate in all the activities offered. They were seen jumping up and down during the “river/bank” game and were not shy to mingle with the rest of the teachers. With all theory lessons conducted in a classroom, participants could be seen shifting between classroom and the outdoors, making the most of both settings, with two big trees selected as “Eco-Club trees” where participants gathered for the interactive games and activities.
A number of ways to take full advantage of the different teaching styles were discussed with the audience, and the flow-learning technique – explained in detail – was well-received. For an effective Eco-Club lesson, participants were encouraged to come up with different, fun ways of grouping children. The chart-making process and subsequent practical example of charts inspired the teachers, and they were shown a variety of methods for making charts relevant and colourful while using minimal resources. It was agreed that teachers were to be as creative as possible so that their work could be more appealing to the students.
The facilitator engaged her audience by demonstrating how to conduct a lesson on trees, which involved all the stages outlined in the Eco-Club curriculum, from the point where the children’s enthusiasm is awakened with a game, to the stage where children were encouraged to focus their attention on the facts, such as the importance of a trees. All participants were whisked away to play a game where they were all encouraged to meet a tree and interact with the tree of their choice, with the help of their group members. The purpose of this game was to ensure that participants were able to use all their senses and thinking ability to identify trees they would have met when blindfolded. Participants were then encouraged to go back to class in their school groups to share their experiences of the tree interaction, and cut out colourful handprints, each stating something important about trees, all of which were then stuck on to a large drawing of a tree, and something that could be taken back to each school.
The final stage of the training was to invite all participants to the school gardens where they were shown how to use Groasis boxes for planting trees. This marked the practical stage of the lesson, as it made all participants aware that planting trees is the way to rebuild our forests.
The training was then completed after handing out certificates, a token confirming that all participants had successfully completed the programme and were fully capable of running Eco-Clubs in their respective schools. Two volunteers from each school were selected to be the Eco-Mentors for the programme in their schools. The day was then adjourned with a closing prayer from the host school. This training was the final session with our 12 newly-partnered schools around the Simalaha Conservancy, and we look forward to Eco-Clubs being established and taking off in the new year!