Palloma Pachiti, Manager of Sebakwe Conservation Education Centre (SCEC) in Zimbabwe writes about A SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR RHINO SECONDARY SCHOOL, in the Midlands of Zimbabwe.
Over the years SCEC has sponsored and hosted conservation education camps for local rhino schools. The Centre has dormitories, classrooms, learning facilities and expert conservation educators. Schools come to SCEC to learn more about the environment and wildlife, including about the small population of Rhinos that is living close-by. The youngsters learn how they and their communities can participate in conservation. SCEC thank African Chrome Fields mine, who funded the camp for Rhino Secondary School recently as well as PACE (Pan African Conservation Education) – the PACE educational materials were the base of much of the learning that took place over these few days.
Africa our Home was the main resource and various topics and solutions were discussed. Topics covered included:
• Living with wildlife
The group was taken through various teaching and learning processes as they explored different issues both through indoor and outdoor activities.
Different teaching methods including Research, Case studies, Games, Presentations and quizzes were used and practical solutions to some of these environmental challenges were discussed.
The learners got to learn more about water conservation, and good farming practice as they sat in one of the local silted rivers.
The letters they sent us afterwards expressed a big appreciation from the school authorities and from students. They really appreciated this opportunity. The experience of camping at SCEC is truly a highlight for many of these rural young people. Besides the environment and conservation learning, many get to experience simple practices that for most of us are usually taken for granted, things like sleeping on a bed or bathing from a shower as these are not part of their day to day lives.
It is also interesting and very informative for us as facilitators as we see how much the students know and their enthusiasm, and it is always a challenge that I am personally always left with regards how to harness all this eagerness, zeal and readiness that you find in most of our rural schools, so that we can practice conservation together.
Thank you ACF for making this possible…and thank you PACE for making us realize that complex problems can be resolved through simple actions, the PACE resources are truly very handy. The teachers received copies and as they resume for the third term, we hope to continue working with them on possible activities from the book, to keep the interest continuing. They have already indicated that they now want to form environmental groups at Rhino Secondary School. Lastly we appreciate the presence and support of the Deputy Head, Ms Chitambira who despite her schedule, saw it fit to come and spend time with us at the camp.