YES Programme Eco-Mentor Training, Zambezi

The first of many Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Programme Eco-Mentor trainings took place in our Zambezi Region last week. Last year, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) launched the innovative first edition of the YES Resource Book, to help drive the progamme’s goal of taking keen CITW Eco-Club members to the next level; preparing them as leaders and for careers in environmental conservation, ecotourism, hospitality and more, as well as becoming the custodians of our natural heritage. You can read more about this here.

Lisa Witherden, CITW’s Resource Developer, ran the training sessions, with huge support from the CITW Zambezi Team – Sue Goatley, MX Sibanda and James Mwanza. We spent two days training with three schools at Kapane Secondary School in Zimbabwe, and two days training four schools in Livingstone in Zambia. The Zambezi Team organised that two teachers and two secondary school students attended the training from each school, in order to pique the interest of the students and create strong teams to take the programme forward. This is how we envision all future YES trainings, as it proved hugely effective.

The aim of the training was to run through the lessons with the teachers so that are prepared when rolling these out in their schools, and brainstorm ideas around environmental projects which the YES Clubs can run in their schools and communities. We also covered a session on Children in the Wilderness, and how the YES programme fits into our programme structure.

It proved to be a hugely successful week, except for our climate change experiment which failed horribly due to a thirsty goat tipping over one of our containers of water, and making it impossible to compare results! We covered lessons on environmental education, including invasive plants, deforestation, water scarcity and saving, renewable energy, pollution and human-wildlife conflict. Our life skills lessons included lessons on dealing with failure, self-esteem and communication.

The participants were very keen to make their own Tippy Taps for their Clubs. There was also much excitement talking about rainwater harvesting ideas, reforestation projects and making eco-bricks to build eco-benches.