During the first week of December, 30 girls from Seronga’s Ngambao Junior Secondary School underwent yet another exciting and empowering training at the second Conservation Science Camp for Girls in Rural Areas in Eretsha. The camp, which is supported by the US Embassy and implemented by Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Botswana, is intended to encourage school-going girls in rural areas to develop an interest in environmental conservation and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and to motivate them to continue into environmental science and STEM-based tertiary degrees and career trajectories.
“This is the second camp held through this partnership, and indeed, the before-and-after impact on confidence and ambition of these girls cannot be overstated”, noted Moalosi Lebekwe, CITW Botswana Programme Co-ordinator.
The five-day camp exposed the children to the fields of environmental science and STEM, facilitated by an experienced all-women team of ecologists, scientists, conservationists, sociologists and educators. The facilitators mentored the girls to address challenges they face on their path to recognising their potential. Among the facilitators of the camp were Ms Nancy Kgengwenyane, Environmental and Natural Resources lawyer; Mrs Onkemetse Montsheki, FNBB Foundation Manager; Mrs Belda Mosepele, Senior Lecturer – Aquatic Ecology at BUAN; Dr Kelebogile Mfundisi, Physical Geographer & GIS Specialist at the University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute, Ms Mubuso Kakambi from WildCRU, and a team from Ecoexist. Also present at the camp was Ms Karabo Mpai, a girl advocate who, through talks, yoga and dance , boosted the participants’ confidence and morale to open up and share their experiences, learnings and life ambitions.
During the camp, the girls participated in interactive talks, discussions and practical activities focusing on nature, biodiversity and the conservation of their immediate environment, using scientific methods to conduct mini-research projects. Other activities included career, life-skills and leadership talks, team projects and nature walks.
Present at the launch of the camp were Mr Mosenyegi, Eretsha Village Chief, Mrs Letlhare, Director, North-West Regional Operations, Mr Sethapelo, Ngambao JSS Headmaster, and Mrs Ridge, the North-West Regional Environmental Education Co-ordinator, all of whom took the opportunity to encourage the girls to work hard at school in order to be able to take up careers in the environmental science and STEM fields in future.
“You should all aspire to be change agents in your own communities and among your peers. Take the learnings from this training seriously and apply them at school to better your academic performance and share them with others to help them improve too”, were the words of encouragement from Mrs Ridge to the girls.
“We are extremely grateful to the US Embassy for sponsoring these truly life-changing camps, and we look forward to facilitating many more such empowering workshops in 2022 – and into the future”, concluded Moalosi.
Written by Moalosi Lebekwe, CITW Botswana Programme Co-ordinator