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The AfriCat Environmental Education Report January - December 2017

children nambia learning about the environment environmental education students working africat

INTRODUCTION

The AfriCat Environmental Education Programme at Okonjima had a busy 2017, during which we interacted with nearly 600 learners, students and teachers. This included hosting Namibian primary and secondary learners at the Centre, as well a number of UNAM-initiated groups for practical training at the AfriCat Environmental Education Campsite. We also had visits from a number of international schools and colleges from the USA, UK, Poland and Italy, as well as a group of teachers from the Perivoli Schools from across Namibia.

We had some significant staff changes in the AfriCat Environmental Education Programme during 2017. Johan Viljoen joined the EE Team as Environmental Educator, while Mrs. Helen Newmarch, Head of Education, took up the role of training Okonjima Lodge guides.

To add to our successes during 2017, we have great plans to widen our potential impact in the future.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PARTICIPANTS FOR 2017

The following table represents the groups that have visited the Centre since January 2017. Each group was accompanied by two or more teachers who, hopefully, were also positively influenced by their experiences.

  DATE SCHOOL'S NAME REGION GRADE AGE LEARNERS TEACHERS
1 25-29 Jan GIZ Khomas 12 16-18 13 2
2 17-20 Feb  NHCC  Erongo 8-12 14-18  20 2
3 3-5 Mar  Mondessa Youth  Erongo 5 10-11  19 4
4 10-12 Mar  K J Kapeua Otjozondjupa 9-10 15-17  20  2
5 30 Mar-2 Apr  NHCC Erongo 8-10 14-15  12  1
6 18-21 Apr  WIS Khomas 12 16-18  19  2
7 25 Apr-1 May  Make a Change Poland 10-12 16-18  11 4
8 17-18 May  Farm Kids (Secondary) Otjozondjupa 7-12 13-18  32  1
9 23-24 May Farm Kids (Primary) Otjozondjupa 5-6 11-12  21  1
10 27-29 May  Rhodes College  USA College 20  1
11 16-18 June  Mondessa Youth  Erongo 7 12-14  21  4
12 9-14 Jul  UNAM 3rd Year Vet Khomas University Mix  15  2
13 15-18 Jul  Miami - NYAH Project USA Collage 17-20 10  8
14 20-23 Jul Dr Challoner Group 1 UK 12 16-18  16  2
15 24-27 Jul Dr Challoner Group 2 UK 12 16-18  20 2
16 27-30 Jul Dr Challoner Group 1 UK 12 16-18  16  2
17 30 Jul-2 Aug Dr Challoner Group 2 UK 12 16-18  20  2
18 4-7 Aug Perivoli Teachers Otjozondjupa 12 - 0 9
19  18-21 Aug NAMCOL Otjozondjupa 17-20  20 
20  28 Aug-1 Sept  ROSA  Italy University  Mix  10  10 
21  6-10 Sept UNAM 4th Year Vet  Khomas 12  Mix  16 
22  18-22 Sept WIS  Khomas 6-7  16-18  17 
23 29 Spet-1 Oct Karundu  Otjozondjupa 6-7 12-14  19 
24 2-4 Oct  Train Occasion School  Otjozondjupa Mix Mix  10 
25 5-8 Oct  Ubassen Primary School  Erongo 5-7 11-13  21 
26 15-17 Oct  Dartmouth College  USA College  18-20  16 
27 3-6 Nov  KJ Kapeua Combined  Otjozondjupa 10  15-16  20 
28 10-11 Nov  Edigate Private School  Otjozondjupa 12-14  19 
29 20-22 Nov  POCS  Otjozondjupa 1-2  8-11  12 
30 27Nov-1 Dec  Vets Darting Course  Namibia Mix  Mix  10 
31 11-13 Dec Mamadu  Khomas 5-9  8-16  17 

We hosted 31 camps at our PAWS Campsite and 500 learners and 92 teachers visited the AfriCat Environmental Education Programme. This is a total of almost 600 people with whom we had the opportunity to interact and to share the knowledge and skills that could impact their attitude towards conservation.

The following table indicates the schools that have been involved in our outreach programme. The outreach programme is primarily used as a conservation and environmental awareness programme, but also serves as a tool to establish contacts with schools and spread the word about AfriCat’s Environmental Education Programme and what it offers.

 

DATE NAME OF SCHOOL REGION GRADE AGE LEARNERS TEACHERS
20 Oct JP Van der Wath   Mix Mix 340 10
20 Oct  Ubasen    7 12-14 20 4
20 Oct  Omaruru Primary School    5-7 11-15 250 6
24 Oct  Bergop Primary School    1-7 6-14 290 10
24 Oct  Bergop Primary School    8-9 14-16 20 1
13-14 Nov  Suiderhof Primary School   4-7 10-14 560 15
13-14 Nov Windhoek Gymnasium   4-7 10-14 390 11
          Total  2027

 

The figures that are available from the Ministry of Education are generally not very accurate and the number of children in each school is normally much higher, with an average of 40 learners per class. As there cannot be interaction with every student, most of the initial contact is with individual teachers representing the learners.

In summary – the following educational levels visited our Centre in 2017:

Namibian schools & institutions

  • University of Namibia – three groups
  • Primary schools – nine groups
  • Secondary schools – nine groups
  • Adults/teachers – one group

Non-Namibian

  • European schools – four groups
  • USA colleges – three groups.

We keep our programme flexible to be able to adapt it to the skills and abilities of each individual group. We incorporate physical, mental as well as fun activities in all sessions, while emphasizing the core principles of environmental education. We motivate all participants to use critical thinking skills, to think outside the box, and inspire them to make decisions that are beneficial to both the environment, as well as their future careers.

regional map namibia

 

OUTREACH

Our outreach included the towns of Otjiwarongo, Omaruru and Okahandja, as well as the settlement of Kalkfeld. These communities are situated in a predominantly commercial farming area, which regularly experiences livestock/predator conflicts.

 

While our main aim is to reach the learners with our outreach programme, this is not always possible because of the high demand on learners’ time by schools. Therefore, we also endeavour to make contact with the principals and teachers at the schools we contact.

  

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATORS INVOLVEMENT

EE/ESD Policy workshop
During July 2017, the long awaited and equally long overdue Environmental Education/Education for Sustainable Development Policy Workshop was held in Windhoek. During the three-day workshop, a representative of the AfriCat EE Programme joined representatives from numerous other Namibian stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), the Ministry of Education, Art and Culture (MoE), Namibia Desert environmental Education Trust (NaDEET), and others. A final policy was drafted and forwarded for final approval by Namibian Authorities. This should greatly assist environmental educators and create a common voice.

Namibian EE Service Providers Workshop
November 2017 saw the Namibian EE Service Providers gather at PAWS, the AfriCat Environmental Education campsite. The main reason for this workshop was to establish common grounds and to look at mutual problems and solutions. The meeting was fruitful and a second meeting of the EE Providers is envisaged for the near future.

environmental education students campingenvironmental education students sunrise okonjima nature reserve 

CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

One of our main challenges remains transport to assist students to come to our Centre. However, Okonjima has generously allowed us access to their 22-seater bus, at a small cost, to collect learners from Otjiwarongo, but the ideal would e to have our own Environmental Education transport.

A second challenge is to get the schools from less affluent areas here at the AfriCat Educational Centre. We are presently approaching Namibian companies for sponsorships for these schools, to enable them to join our programme.

 

THE FUTURE

Our plans for the future are to improve, and also grow the programme in the following ways:

  1. We are planning a longer programme that will allow students to stay with us for a whole week. We have found that the longer the students are exposed to the EE Programme, the more significant the positive impact is on them, creating a more memorable impression.
  2. We will also incorporate more high-profile primary and high schools that cater for students that come from families involved in the governing of our country. These students are likely to follow the same professions and will therefore be in a position to make decisions that could be beneficial to the long-term conservation of Namibia’s natural resources.
  3. Outreach is high on the priority list, as this will allow us to reach more students in remote areas, and also to concentrate on northern Namibia, where the vast majority of schools are situated. If they can’t come to AfriCat, we will go to them.


CONCLUSION

We offer a unique environmental education addition to the Namibian education system and through this, are able to make a positive contribution towards the long-term and sustainable development of Namibia’s youth and its natural resources.

 

STUDENT COMMENTS

The following comments are from students attending Namib High School, Swakopmund.

"What was really special and fun for me, were the walks we made through nature. All the wildlife we saw was especially interesting. We learned a lot on these walks and it is good to know more about wildlife and nature."

"The game drive Sunday morning and the sunrise. The two cheetahs we walked to. To learn more about plants and animals."

"Liked the walks, and sunrise/sunsets and the slide shows and the night walk/star gazing were great."

"Seeing the cheetahs that were not in a cage was the best experience."

"The fact that solitude is respected at Okonjima, and that helped me a lot, not always to talk much but to take a moment and listen and appreciate things."

"The view of Okonjima from a high point. The sunrise was beautiful. Standing on a mountain and just looking out over the entire lodge was beautiful. Also, the star gazing is a very good idea."

"Being chosen to paint our club’s adopted spot! Having to bath in an open bathroom, and using an open toilet is by far the most memorable."

environmental education students cheetah watchingenvironmental education students nature walk

 

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