Reaching new audiences and supporting education work in countries in which we do not have a direct physical presence, increasing our reach and promoting local solutions to wildlife and human challenges.
It is our belief that promoting tolerance and co-existence amongst communities living alongside wildlife – in environmentally fragile areas or areas supporting high biodiversity – enhances the long term success of any conservation efforts, and both wildlife and communities benefit.
Since early 2018 we have been partnering with Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, a Zambian registered charitable trust established in 1998 by Steve and Anna Tolan.
Chipembele is a well-established grass roots conservation education organisation that operates in communities close to Mfuwe in Zambia.
The Luangwa River, which runs along the eastern boundary of South Luangwa National Park past Mfuwe town, is home to large numbers of hippo while the park itself supports more than 60 species of mammals and almost 500 species of birds, including some endemic or semi-endemic species. Large populations of wildlife living in close proximity to people can increase incidents of human-wildlife conflict, making this an important geographic focus for both people and wildlife.
Chipembele’s Conservation Education Manager, a Principal Conservation Educator and four Community Conservation Educators run a long-standing programme of engagement in 16 schools in the greater Mfuwe area.
There they reach out weekly to over 630 students from Grades 5 to 12 (aged 9-18) in school Conservation Clubs. There is an emphasis on addressing environmental and wildlife issues which directly affect the pupils and their families in the area.
In addition to its local focus it has a global outlook and connections, with the objective of opening and stretching young minds and creating the next generation of leaders who will make a real difference to our world. Over more than 20 years Chipembele has reached tens of thousands of people, including several young people who are now among Zambia’s conservation leaders.
Thandiwe Mweetwa, once engaged in Chipembele’s programme, holds a Masters in Conservation Biology from the University of Arizona and is now a Senior Ecologist in the Zambia Carnivore Programme, specialising in lion research. She is a multi-international conservation award winner, including National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers (2016); Women of Discovery Award for Conservation (2017) and Obama Foundation Leaders Africa Program (2018).
Since 2017 partner schools in Kenya and South Africa have been supported through our direct outreach programmes to promote a co-ordinated country level approach.