On the 20th December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 03rd March as the official date for World Wildlife Day, a day specifically set aside to raise awareness for the plight of wildlife around the globe. Considering that almost one quarter of the world’s population is aged between 10 and 24yrs, the theme for the 2017’s World Wildlife Day was “Listen to the Young Voices”. As the future leaders and decision makers of the world, vigorous efforts need to be made to encourage young people to act on both local and universal levels to protect both flora and fauna in and around our societies.
Children in the Wilderness Zambezi Region worked closely with fifteen schools associated with the CITW Programme in both Zimbabwe and Zambia to celebrate World Wildlife Day in March this year. With support from the African Wildlife Foundation and local Forestry Departments, this year’s World Wildlife Day showcased conservation and environmental management practices in rural communities. Each Schools Eco-Club was responsible for organizing events for the day’s celebrations which included design and presentation of educational posters and informative song, dance and drama shows each aimed at promoting the importance of conservation in their community. Attending guests included parents, members of the local communities including Community Heads and representatives from the Forestry Department and African Wildlife Foundation.
The CITW Eco Club Programme is an initiative that promotes environmental education and awareness in rural schools through numerous conservation oriented projects, including tree planting which is aimed at ‘re-greening’ areas previously damaged by deforestation in rural areas. Children in the Wilderness and local Forestry Departments donated indigenous seedlings such as Mopani and Acacia Nilotica to each Schools Eco-Club Programme; it was an honor to be able to participate in the planting of over one hundred and fifty new trees in Zimbabwe and Zambian Schools on World Wildlife Day and pleasing to see the commitment of both school goers and community members alike.
The key and driving force for Children in the Wilderness Programmes is sustainable conservation through leadership development. It is through events such as World Wildlife Day that we are able to generate awareness and cultivate enthusiasm for sustainable conservation projects that promote the longevity of our natural surroundings and the wildlife that depends on it.