Conservation Education in Schools
Junior and Senior Conservation clubs
Chipembele has 4 Community Conservation Educators (CCEs) who live and work in our four key zones: Nsefu, Kakumbi, Mfuwe Central and Mnkhanya. They run 4 to 5 conservation education sessions a week during term time in schools their respective zones, each of 2 hours, in a total of 32 Conservation Clubs in 20 local schools. They teach on a diversity of topics including: Animal behaviour and predator-prey relationships; Sustainable development; Animal adaptation; Evolution; Human Wildlife Conflict; Protected area management and design; Evolution; Cell biology.
Conservation education for school children in our programmes is not limited to the classroom and our club members have the opportunity to participate in several outdoor programmes that are discussed below.
Field Trips Into The National Park
School children from the conservation clubs have the life-changing opportunity to participate in field trips into the National Park. Many of the children living in the rural settlements around South Luangwa National Park have never been into the Park, or experienced seeing many of the species found in the area. Having the opportunity to see and learn about the wildlife in its natural environment helps to develop a passion to conserve and the drive to protect it.
Nature Nights programme
Participation in our inspirational Nature Nights programme involves students camping in tents for two nights within the Lupande Game Management Area. They participate in activities such as team building, leadership, communication, problem solving and critical thinking. The programme helps them to develop conservation and life skills, all the while being exposed to wildlife and nature. We hold 4 per year, timed to fit within the local school breaks, with 12 of the most active students from our Conservation Clubs participating in each session.
The Computer Literacy Programme is designed to teach students the basics of how to use a computer and associated software applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as typing skills. Sessions are held for approximately 10 students at a time, who must be active participants in their school Conservation Club to qualify for a place. Students take a series of 10 classes, each of 2 hours, and are awarded certificates if they attend all classes and pass.
Benson Beza Conservation Awards programme
These awards, given annually, aim to inspire and motivate young conservationists living in rural communities in eastern Zambia to follow in the footsteps of the late Benson Beza, a young Zambian university student supported by Chipembele, who touched the lives of so many with his passion for conservation and determination to make a difference. Each year the top Conservation Club students will be selected for awards and these future leaders will then be given a unique conservation-based, leadership development experience. From these students the best performing student will be giving an opportunity to join other NGOs in Mfuwe for a ‘behind the scenes’ conservation experience. Winners will also be earmarked for future training opportunities such as our year-long professional development programme and university sponsorship.
ABOUT BENSON BEZA
The entire Chipembele Team was deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of Benson Beza who passed away on 16 July 2021 at the age of 21 at Chipata General Hospital after a short illness.
Benson had been sponsored through Chipembele since he was in Grade 8, and quickly became a core member of the Chipembele Conservation Programme. Whatever activities, events and programmes were happening, he would be there to fully get involved. In 2019 he was selected on merit as one of 14 students for a conservation education student exchange programme called Tisamale Global Exchange and travelled to Adelaide, South Australia for 3 weeks. Later that year he was sponsored by Schul Projekte Sambia (Switzerland) through Chipembele to attend Mulungushi University for a degree in Environmental Studies. This year, together with his best friends Jacob Mphasi and Meya Sakala (also both sponsored through Chipembele and studying the same degree), he founded the first ever Environmental Club (the Mulungushi Enviro Club) at their University. He was about to enter Year 3 in October 2021.
His legacy of a young rural Zambian succeeding through determination and passion, despite such a humble and difficult background, will live on through the ‘Benson Beza Conservation Award’ program, a new initiative that we are launching which aims to identify and support young Zambian future conservationists sharing Benson’s key attributes.