March is an important time for our planet. Not only do we mark World Wildlife Day on 3 March, and Global Recycling Day on 18 March, we observe World Water Day on 22 March as well as Earth Hour on 27 March.
This year’s World Wildlife Day focused on Forests and Livelihoods; Sustaining People and the Planet – both of which epitomise our current conservation work in Rwanda. With climate change, a ballooning population leading to biodiversity loss, and now with the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic, these forests, and the livelihoods supported by them, face an existential threat.
In the spirit of this focus, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Rwanda is ideally placed to prioritise the people and children of this remarkable country. Our COVID-19 relief campaign started in Rwanda in April 2020, and continued for four months, initially assisting the five villages surrounding Bisate Lodge. In August, September, October and December 2020, and more recently, on 9 March 2021, the support continued in four villages in the Gishwati area.
To further celebrate this important month, we want to help you on your journey to ‘tread lightly’ on our planet. Here are some helpful ideas, inspired by CITW’s 20 years of inspiring positive action in the children of Africa, helping the next generation care for the planet.
Use Water Sparingly
Water is one of the most vital resources and one that is in most jeopardy due to climate change. A great tool to help with this, which teaches children the importance of water, is the ingenious Tippy Tap. With hygiene being particularly relevant at the moment, we thought we’d share a fun lesson on how to make a Tippy Tap – a hands-free washing station – that you can make at home! We love this concept that is changing lives in rural African communities. This lesson is taught in our CITW Eco-Clubs. Read more, and watch how it’s made here.
Plant a Tree
An important element of all Eco-Clubs is teaching the significance of flora, and how trees can help us have a better future. The Nanthomba Tree Nursery in Malawi is managed by the four Eco-Clubs of Nanthomba, Kavunguti, Kafulafula and Mulambe primary schools. Despite a shortage of water for the seedlings, the children work really hard to make sure a good number of seedlings survive the dry season. Read their inspiring story here.
Recycle and Reuse
Confirming that recycling is not only essential to limit the level of waste we produce, the ladies of St Mary’s in Zimbabwe started a venture to use recycled material to make paper. This project enables paper waste to be recycled and repurposed, instead of ending up in landfill. Recycled paper has many uses, and the group has learnt how to make exercise books for schools, as well as create bespoke cards, writing paper, bookmarks, and gift boxes: products that are highly attractive to overseas visitors as something small to take home with them for souvenirs. Read more here.
Plant a Garden
One Eco-Club lesson teaches children the importance of caring for a garden, planting vegetables for food and learning how to care for the land around them. In Zambia, Lupani Primary School’s eco-garden is flourishing thanks to dedicated teachers and community members, who have been tending it through the COVID-19 closure. A recent tomato harvest was so successful that the school was able to sell the tomatoes to the wider community. The revenue earned from this will be used to purchase necessary stationery supplies.
In remote communities, electricity can be a rarity, but thanks to generous donations from CITW benefactors we have been able to facilitate the provision of solar-powered lights to students in our Zambezi region. This Earth Hour we will be using our own solar lights to remind ourselves that resources such as electricity are a luxury. Witnessing the smiles on the children’s faces after receiving something as life-changing as a light to study by after completing their chores is so heart-warming. Read about the Bourke Family Foundation’s amazing donation here.
We hope that some of these will inspire you to make a difference in your community, and if you would like to have a greater impact on communities in Africa, you can donate to one of these great programmes through the link here or click on the image below.