PACE is very excited to be working with The Kariba REDD+ Project in north west Zimbabwe, as they set up school based conservation and sustainability education in rural communities that have suffered heavily from deforestation, poverty and drought. The PACE materials provide a rich and pertinent toolkit for teachers and learners who are grappling with very real conservation and environmental challenges on a day-to-day basis as well as in their curriculum topics.

Kariba REDD+ is spread over nearly 800,000 hectares of communal land, in four provinces of north and north west Zimbabwe – Matabeleland North, Midlands, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central. The project (pale blue on the map), administered by four rural councils working with Green Carbon Green Africa, is mainly mopane and miombo woodland and located partly along the southern shore of Lake Kariba, the largest artificial lake in the world by volume.

Kariba is a community-based project that started in 2011, with a 30 year lifetime. It focuses on reducing deforestation and woodland degradation through activities that will improve the livelihoods of local communities in meaningful ways like improved agriculture, beekeeping, fuel wood plantations and fire management.

“Our main focus is to deal with issues of climate change by reducing deforestation and land degradation whilst at the same time improving the livelihoods of the people living in the rural communities by addressing the agents and drivers of deforestation and degradation. Our community based activities include conservation farming (climate smart agriculture), nutritional gardening and beekeeping. We also do fire management, road maintenance, biodiversity monitoring and anti-poaching, have re-instated bore holes and provide education, health and sanitation support.”

The Kariba REDD+ Project has been validated with “Double Gold Standard” for the biodiversity that occurs in the area and includes several IUCN Red listed species of mammals and birds. It is also an integral link between several national parks along the Zambezi valley.

It hosts significant populations of African elephants, lions, impalas, hippos, buffalo, leopard and crocodiles, along with a wide variety of birds, including the Southern Ground Hornbill (which is a Red list ‘vulnerable’ species), the Lappet-faced Vulture and the White-headed Vulture.

“We believe the PACE material can greatly enhance our existing efforts to teach people how to take better care of their natural environment and can bridge the educational gap needed for a more sustainable future by learning how to solve their own problems and save themselves from poverty, environmental destruction, even death and learning how to live along-side the animals which occur in their home areas for their benefit and others around them.”