Wilderness Celebrates Members Club Support of CITW Botswana

Okavango Wilderness Safaris gathered stakeholders from its exclusive Botswana Members Club programme at The Patio Restaurant in Gaborone, to express its heartfelt gratitude for the Members’ ongoing support, and the positive impact they enable.

The Wilderness Members Club, inaugurated in 2012 and launched in Botswana in 2017, invites Southern African residents to join the Wilderness community, offering discounted camp rates for short lead-time bookings in exchange for an annual registration fee. The entirety of this fee goes directly to Wilderness’ renowned Children in the Wilderness (CITW) programme – the primary driver of the business’ Educate pillar in its recently launched impact strategy. CITW is dedicated to sustainable conservation through the development of leadership and education for children in Africa.

“With 397 members in Africa, of whom 75 are resident in Botswana, their generosity is a testament to their commitment to CITW’s life-changing efforts. As we mark 40 years of Wilderness, we take a moment to acknowledge this unique group of stakeholders, who provide both direct and indirect support to CITW on a monumental scale. Every renewal by a Member directly adds to CITW’s impact. Through this cherished partnership, over 4,500 students have benefited from our programmes over the past 10 years. More than 60 trainers have been empowered to educate our young people on the environment, so that they protect this environment and are proponents of conservation in their communities”, said Joe Matome, Managing Director of Okavango Wilderness Safaris, and Chairman of the Board of CITW Botswana.

CITW’s work spans diverse initiatives, from its Eco-Club programme at partner schools to annual Eco-Camps hosted at Wilderness and partner camps for children in rural communities bordering wild areas across Africa, including Botswana. To date, CITW has enriched the lives of more than 40,000 children in eight countries. In Botswana, the programme has operated for 22 years, reaching over 2,100 children through annual camps. There are 455 Eco-Club Members in Botswana at present across eight schools in Botswana, including a special partnership with the FNB Foundation at Parakarungu Primary School in the Chobe District.

Insight, care, and commitment are essential for conserving Africa’s pristine wilderness. “Our Children in the Wilderness programme focuses on the next generation of decision-makers, inspiring them to care for their natural heritage and become custodians of these areas in the future”, Joe noted.

Wilderness, through CITW, extends its commitment to education through initiatives such as a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Okavango Sub-District Council to enhance infrastructure at Eretsha Primary School. This project aims to construct additional classrooms and ablution facilities, and provide water to create a conducive learning environment for over 200 students.

“Tremendous strides have been made by CITW Botswana, with much more to celebrate in the future. For now, we extend our deepest thanks to our Members and all contributors, weaving this beautiful tapestry of partnership for progress. Mabogo dinku a a thebana. Let’s unite for the growth of our community”, concluded Joe.

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