The Coaching Conservation (CC) programme which we support http://www.coachingforconservation.org/ facilitates an important conversation around conservation with the various initiatives which they undertake. The idea being that conservation that facilitates and respects input from local communities – especially those living alongside or within protected areas, is key to the long term protection of wild areas. These CC initiatives are mostly targeted at primary school children who will hopefully become future champions of conservation, especially for the protected areas that they live along side. Apart from emphasising the value of conservation and wild places, CC also engender self-respect and appreciation and care for Africa’s natural resources such as wildlife and habitats.
We’ve also worked alongside CC on the distribution of informative booklets about Covid-19 and how people can best protect themselves against the virus. These information packs were given out with food parcels as part of our Village Support programme https://naturalselection.travel/conservation/covid-19-village-support/
Prior to lockdown, the Meno a Kwena team took children from the Moreomato primary school on a game drive as part of the CC programme we run at the camp, to the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Surprisingly many children in rural communities grow up not knowing that they live alongside national parks, let alone actually visiting them. We and CC are already planning the youngsters’ next foray into the wild.
The visit to the park is a visit to ‘nature’s classroom’ with numerous lessons and analogies for life that the children can benefit from. It is also of course an opportunity for the children to learn about various aspects of wildlife with an emphasis on play! Children are not encumbered by negative connotations of playing, and the lessons to be learnt through playing are endless. Let us not forget that playing is, after all, a dress rehearsal for the future.
A future which includes a generation of children that are more likely to act as custodians of the wild areas they live alongside, is indeed a game changer.
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