Zimbabwe Eco-Clubs – Piloting Project

Read CITW Zimbabwe’s Community Sustainability and Evaluation Trainer, Sarah Adams’s wonderful write-up on the pilot distribution project of Eco-Club curriculum books’ to our schools in Zimbabwe.

With the April holidays drawing to a close and the start of the second term on the horizon, our team was making sure that the Eco-Club programme would be off to a productive start. Pulling together all the required materials for our Eco-Club programmes, and loading up our trusty old ‘Ranger’ full to the brim, we set off to our first cluster of schools in the Tsholotsho area just south of Hwange National Park.

Trusty ‘Ranger’

Over the course of three days, we met with the existing nine schools that we work with, as well as several of our community development-focused ladies’ groups. We also visited three new schools which will be joining our programme. With long distances to travel each day through rough and wild terrain, our schedule was very tight. However, with all our helpful Mentors and supportive school heads ready to receive us along the way, we were able to achieve all that we wanted to, with our only real delays coming in the form of a ‘wild’ traffic jam or two.

The best kind of road block!

We focused the first part of our mornings on our farthest schools, making our way back to camp as the days progressed. The long hours and rough roads were made totally worthwhile by the warm welcome we received at each school, and the open enthusiasm we saw at each of the newly partnered schools.

Our visits varied across the schools as we got the chance to have a look at some of the previous projects, like an Eco-Garden, and were able to distribute shoes for Mpindo and Ngamo Primary Schools. It was a tremendously heart-warming experience that won’t be easily forgotten.

We took our time with each school, ensuring that they were fully equipped for the term ahead. Based on the reactions we received from the Eco-Mentors as they received their materials and new Eco-Club curriculum, we are sure that this will be a great term ahead. We have already started receiving feedback from the schools which have completed their first lesson, and look forward to receiving much more from our enthusiastic mentors.

And we’re off!

There is always a buzz around the start of a new school term, and Term 2 has been no exception. The children came in fresh from the holidays with a renewed enthusiasm to learn, and this was matched by their teachers, who had been working tirelessly to prepare for the term ahead.

Having delivered the new materials and trunks for Eco-Clubs to commence, our team paid particular attention to the new schools that would be joining the programme, to ensure that all was understood, and that the new clubs could reach their full potential. We received a wonderfully warm reception from the heads and Eco-Mentors of every school, both old and new, and this has given us much confidence that the programme will be successful.

We have not been disappointed, having received updates on the first few completed Eco-Club lessons. The first lesson on trees, focusing on classification, labelling, and understanding their importance in our eco-system, looks as if it was a great success. The students, as always, were eager to learn, absorb, and put all that they learned into practice. We also asked all Eco-Mentors to ensure that the school grounds and surroundings were litter-free, and school-wide litter collections were undertaken. These acts show us just how much of an impact our club members can have on their classmates, school, and wider community, when they are kept engaged and passionate.

We look forward to receiving more updates from the Eco-Mentors on each lesson they undertake, and would like to thank all of our dedicated mentors for their time and energy to make this programme a success.