The key to effective and long-lasting environmental conservation lies in gaining the cooperation of communities. Since 1950, the human population of Africa has increased from 221 million to nearly one billion, with the continent’s animal species and wild habitats suffering as a result. It is particularly important to engage the younger generation in conservation efforts to encourage them to grow up with an appreciation of their natural heritage and a desire to protect their environment. To this end, ALERT works with schools around our project sites to provide a conservation education curriculum aimed at helping students understand how protecting natural resources can be financially, culturally, and ecologically beneficial in the long-term.
At Mukamusaba Primary School in Livingstone, Lion Encounter volunteers deliver a talk on conservation each Wednesday afternoon after other classes have finished. A recent topic looked at the reasons why many African species are now being threatened with extinction. Acronyms are always popular with the students and this learning method was particularly appropriate this session. H.I.P.P.O. stands for Habitat loss, Invasive species, Population growth, Pollutions and pesticides and Over-hunting and over-collecting.
These conservation education sessions are very interactive, encouraging the children to share their ideas on how environmental issues could be tackled. Problem-based learning like this helps to put topics into context, giving these students a deeper understanding of the fragility of the environment around them.
You could be involved in conservation education at Mukamusaba Primary School by joining ALERT as a Teaching in Africa intern.