BirdLife Africa Wildlife Clubs Project
The BirdLife Africa Wildlife Clubs Project has taken a step closer to its goal of connecting over 400,000 children across the continent with young and adult conservationists around the world.
The project, subtitled ‘Linking African children to the global conservation community - for the benefit of nature and people’, combines biodiversity conservation with education and sustainable development initiatives, and uses bird conservation to help bridge the digital divide in Africa.
Along with the people responsible for the project - the ‘focal points’ - from 15 of the 17 participating BirdLife Partners, representatives from 13 other environmental organisations and educational institutions participated in a workshop in Accra, Ghana, with the theme ‘information and experience sharing’.
Wildlife clubs are the nurseries for future conservationists —Dr Ngeh Paulinus, BirdLife International Africa Partnership Coordinator
The workshop's host, the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS; BirdLife in Ghana), has unrivalled experience in organising and promoting biodiversity awareness, environmental education and conservation activity among young people. The junior wing of GWS, the Wildlife Clubs of Ghana, recently celebrated its 21st birthday. Starting with just two clubs in 1987, it now has over one thousand clubs in schools and communities throughout the country.
As well as sharing experiences and best practice, the participants developed a ‘wildlife club/environmental education coordinators' network’, and a communication mechanism to facilitate continuous sharing of information. They reviewed the contents of a draft manual for wildlife clubs in Africa, and discussed ways of persuading national governments to incorporate the electronic manual into their education systems.
Ghana's Minister of Education, the Honourable Alex Tetteh Enyo, was guest of honour, and a representative of his department attended throughout the three-day workshop. "This has given the project access to the minister's office", said Afia Owusu, Coordinator of the Wildlife Clubs Africa Project. "The workshop ended in a very high spirited mood, and there was a general agreement that, it achieved the objectives for which it was planned".
“The workshop ended in a very high spirited mood” —Afia Owusu, Coordinator of the Wildlife Clubs Africa Project
The meeting was convened by the BirdLife International West Africa Regional Office (WASRO) in collaboration with the Ghana Wildlife Society. In his opening remarks at the workshop, the BirdLife International Africa Partnership Coordinator at WASRO, Dr Ngeh Paulinus, noted that: “Wildlife clubs are the nurseries for future conservationist, hence nurturing and supporting them should be a high priority at all levels”.
As part of the BirdLife Africa Wildlife Clubs Project, BirdLife Zimbabwe also recently organised a High Schools Public Speaking Competition in partnership with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Mukuvisi Woodlands Association. Schoolchildren from around Harare at the event were asked to answer questions posed by BirdLife Zimbabwe (BirdLife in Zimbabwe) and EMA. Mukuvisi Woodlands sourced prizes that included balls, pens, rulers, flash discs, T-shirts and crossword puzzles from the EU, and BirdLife Zimbabwe donated ‘Enjoy the Birds of Zimbabwe’ books to the children. Additional prizes – including bags, t-shirts, and books – were donated by the British Council, WWF, EMA and the IUCN.
The BirdLife partners taking part in the Wildlife Clubs Project are BirdLife Botswana (BirdLife in Botswana), Naturama (BirdLife in Burkina Faso), Association Burundaise pour la Protection des Oiseaux (BirdLife in Burundi), Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society, (BirdLife in Cameroon), Ethiopia Wildlife and Natural History Society (BirdLife in Ethiopia), Ghana Wildlife Society, Nature Kenya (BirdLife in Kenya), Nigeria Conservation Foundation (BirdLife in Nigeria), Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (BirdLife in Rwanda), Nature Seychelles (BirdLife in Seychelles), Conservation Society Of Sierra Leone (BirdLife in Sierra Leone) , BirdLife South Africa (BirdLife in South Africa), Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (BirdLife in Tanzania), Association ‘Les Amis des Oiseaux’ (BirdLife in Tunisia), Nature Uganda (BirdLife in Uganda), Zambian Ornithological Society (BirdLife in Zambia) and BirdLife Zimbabwe. Reports of the Ghana workshop and other activities are published through the project’s Clearing House Mechanism.
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