The Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Programme focuses on secondary school children with commitment and potential, these students are identified on annual CITW Camps and in Eco-Clubs as showing a particular interest in conservation and/or leadership potential. The YES curriculum is an extension of concepts introduced at CITW Eco-Clubs and annual CITW Camps, with a greater focus on career guidance, leadership, team building, communication and further environmental education.
Kapane Secondary School, situated in the Tsholotsho District of Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, were the hosts for this year’s CITW YES Programme Career Day, which was held on Tuesday 2nd of September 2016. Invited guests included Heads of Schools and teachers, nursing staff, representation from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Agricultural Extension Officers, lecturers from local Poly Technical Colleges and Universities, members of the local business community and local leadership. The school grounds were a hive of activity once formalities commenced; song and dance performances by students provided entertainment before speakers were invited to share with all present.
The focus for the day was “career orientation and guidance”; the aim being to expose students to a variety of careers, more especially to introduce them to members of the community that are gainfully employed. The personal stories from invited speakers were aimed at encouraging the students to look at realistic vocational careers that utilised their strengths and individual abilities, there were job opportunities and where they would hopefully be able to find future employment.
Guest speakers were chosen specifically for their mentorship skills and hailed from a variety of professions including; Wilderness Camps of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) Ecotourism Management (Mr Avias Ncube), WCOZ Central Workshop & Mechanics Department (Mr James Muchimwe); WCOZ Hospitality and Service Department (Mr Charles Ncube); WCOZ Ecology & Conservation Department (Mr Wadzanai Chigumira); CITW & Community Development (Mr Cain Chikwava); Zimbabwe Ministry of Education, Kapane Secondary School (Miss Ndlovu); Bulawayo Poly Technical College, Tertiary and Vocational Training (Mr Masuku); Zimbabwe Ministry of Home Affairs – Policing, Law and Order (Inspector Nkala, of Siphepha Station); and various local business community members.
CITW/Wilderness Safaris staff member, Avias explained that he was raised in a rural background, however through hard work and determination, he has elevated himself from a junior position within Wilderness Safaris, to Management within the company. He attributed his success to vision, hard work, dedication, sacrifice and commitment.
Although career guidance is discussed at secondary school level, it is usually only given a brief overview with very little insight or detailed counselling. This often results in students being unsure of their future as they have little to no guidance on how to choose a career that is appropriately suited to their specific skill set. The CITW Careers Day was a fantastic eye opener for both secondary and senior primary students as they listened to each speaker’s personal stories and were given first-hand information they could each relate to, and an insight on a variety of different professions.
Varaidzo, a 21 year old university student and Assistant Ecologist, used the mirror analogy:
‘Look into the mirror and ask the person staring at you this question; who are you and what do you want to do in life?’’ The person looking at you will tell you what you want to know, achieve and do. Listen to him/her. A humble beginning will not stop you from doing great in life. Decide that you will be successful come what may, and good things will find you’
Students were encouraged to embrace each and every learning opportunity that came their way with speakers reminding them that self-awareness would assist them in establishing achievable and practical goals of their own and this would ultimately add value to their future.
“When students see that there is relevance between their studies and future career aspirations, they tend to exhibit more involvement and motivation” ~ Kapane Primary School Teacher
CITW YES Programme stewardship members contributed with poems and speeches about the importance and value of a good education and the School’s Head Girl, Angela Sibanda closed with thanks to the organisers and contributors. Overall, the day was a huge success as students and community members were given much food for thought and empowered to embrace every opportunity presented to them as they took responsibility for their future prospects.