Last year we wrote about School Educational Camps at SCEC – the camps are one stage in the Centre’s approach to sustained Conservation Education. SCEC is working to address conflicts that exist between the natural habitat, wildlife and rural communities in the Midlands area of Zimbabwe.  Despite many years of conservation interventions Human-wildlife conflicts persist here and communities still have ‘disjointed and conflicting perspectives regarding how they can enjoy and benefit from conservation of the natural resources around them.’ Income-generating initiatives solve the problems, but when these stall people lose faith in the new ideas and environmental conflicts return. It can take time to change attitudes and people’s confidence in new approaches.

One of the goals of SCEC is to reduce deforestation and poaching of wildlife in the area in ways that demonstrate to rural communities that conservation brings benefits that they can enjoy.   Palloma Pachiti, head of SCEC is very aware that only long-term education that progressively changes attitudes and values is going to make a significant difference, and schools are her central points – schools in these rural areas bring parents, teachers and young learners together.

Palloma and her team teach about co-habitation with natural resources, how to use them sustainably while simultaneously improving livelihoods. Their approach is to provide information (education and awareness raising) and then put ideas into practice through Educational response projects. They are using teaching materials and practical examples from PACE to help with this.

Schools re-opened for the first term on January 9th.  Having given them time to settle in to the new year SCEC visited three of their partner schools: Tagwireyi Primary school in particular is doing fantastic things.

Tagwireyi staff, learners and the school head visited SCEC for a 2-day camp in November 2017, it was similar to the Rhino Secondary schools camp in July (which you can read about here).  Much of the learning that took place during these visits was guided by the PACE resources, focused on sections about soils, energy and forests.

The camp generated so much interest that participants of their own initiative put their learning into action by starting an orchard (a mix of indigenous and exotic fruit trees illustrated below).  It’s their own spontaneous ‘Educational Response Project’.


Because there is no fence, the school used thorn bushes & twigs to protect their fruit tree seedlings from goats and cattle​.
The size of the trees planted in Nov, with the water situation and the current drought in the country, reflects how dedicated the school is to their project​

“As time goes on we will explore the different ways that they can use their orchard as a learning resource, touching on multiple aspects from the PACE resource (Water, Soil, Forests, Energy) and cutting across so many topics in the school curriculum. We’ll also nurture this project so that not only the school, but the learners and the community will also come to appreciate the value of trees.

“The school head, Mr. Tigere has already talked with the District Schools Inspector on what we are doing with the PACE resources and their desire to extend it elsewhere.”​

THANKS to TUSK for supporting the PACE Project.