South Luangwa National Park is one of the finest wildlife refuges on the African continent, but the settlement of Mfuwe, located next to the main Park entrance, is rapidly growing and in the last few years has changed from a rural village to a township with all the social and environmental problems associated with swift, uncontrolled development.
The most serious threat to the wildlife of the area is poaching though the use of snares or firearms. Commercial poaching, particularly of elephants is a huge problem and ‘subsistence’ poaching is out of control. Other environmental problems include over-fishing, bush fires and deforestation as the villagers search ever harder and further for protein, building materials and firewood.
Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust aims to teach local children the value of wildlife and the environment so that it may be conserved for the future. There is an established wildlife education centre but funds are urgently required to help with a new conservation education outreach programme in the local schools. The focus is on teaching the conservation club members at both primary and secondary level.
Students from rural areas in Zambia are disdvantaged in terms of technical and computer skills and without science labs their knowledge of science is usually simply text book based. This programme aims to address the balance with a series of practical outside and classroom based lessons and activities that will bring science alive and address conservation issues with pracical solutions.
Funding is always required for Chipembele’s conservation and environmental education projects and programmes. Funds are used for the printing of educational materials, stationery, wildlife and environmental books, teaching aids and equipment. They also have a dedicated Computer Centre with computing lessons and have a computing teacher on staff, laptop refurbishment, maintenance and purchase is an ongoing necessity. Chipembele provides Conservation Club activities to six local schools that require equipment such as binoculars, cameras and the vehicle that takes the children into the National Park requires fuel and upkeep – an important part of the education programmes! Any donation provided is used 100% for Chipembele’s activities, equipment and programmes.
If you would like to make a donation to Chipembele’s general Conservation Education programme and equipment funds please visit: http://www.chipembele.org/help.