Earlier this month, Lion Encounter and ALERT hosted the annual inter-school Tree Planting Day Quiz at Monde Primary School in Victoria Falls. The quiz was designed to raise awareness of the importance of forestry and tree conservation, particularly to students from low-income families. Questions not only tested the students’ knowledge of conservation, but also exposed them to different views on the topic.
Through ALERT’s conservation education syllabus, we have noticed that the majority of children who attend our clubs come from low-income families who are dependent on firewood as a form of fuel. For these children, cutting down trees is not a malicious act, it is a necessity. To tell them to stop doing so, therefore, is to have a negative impact on their way of life. Conservation education among these communities is aimed at educating the next generation in the importance of protecting their forests, as well as making tree planting a lifelong habit.
In collaboration with the Forestry Commission and African Impact, the day was carefully planned to combine educational activities, as well as time spent with the children planting new trees.
The quiz was a contest between four schools; all beneficiaries of ALERT’s conservation education, reading clubs, and teaching assistance programs. Teams were made up of 10 students, each accompanied by two teachers. Students were tested in two rounds; one a general team round, and the other an individual knockout round. Questions were taken from ALERT’s conservation education syllabus, as well as from Zimbabwe’s General Paper syllabus. Judges, Leigh Webb, Bianca Shultz, and Lenard Ngwenya from Lion Encounter, along with Mr Ndlelambi from the Forestry Commission, eventually crowned Chamabondo the winning school, with Chinotimba a close second.
An end-of-year celebration for the children, the quiz also highlighted important issues with literacy and with self-confidence faced by students from some of the rural schools. One such school in the Breakfast area was a close contender, but lost out because of poor spellings, demonstrating the need for additional literacy programs within rural schools.
As this year’s theme is ‘fruit trees for food security’, the Berchemia zeyheri, traditionally known as ‘Umnyii’ tree, was planted. With edible fruits, it not only acts as a food source for local communities, but also provides food and shelter for animals. In all, a total of 15 trees were planted around Monde School. Many thanks to all the organisations who participated in making this day such a success.