Children in the Wilderness (CITW) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping children see the beauty and potential in the wild places of Africa, both for their own development as people and for the conservation of our unique natural resources in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
CITW bridges the divide that exists between some communities bordering some of Africa’s most magnificent protected wild reserves and the wildlife that inhabit them. It does so by educating the next generation of rural decision makers. The CITW programme gives them a different perspective, an educational experience that instils a passion for conservation so that we can create motivated environmentalists who will ensure that our unique natural heritage is sustained and protected.
In order to achieve our vision, CITW reaches these children directly in their schools, villages and towns. We do this through hosting of environmental/eco-clubs in the schools. We have developed various environmental resources for these eco-clubs and we train teachers and local community members how to effectively use these resources and share environmental knowledge.
Our CITW Eco-Mentor Training develops local teachers and community members by upgrading skills, increasing environmental understanding and enabling them to better implement school and village environmental projects and initiatives. Once trained, Eco-Mentors are able to host Eco-Clubs in the local village schools and assist the Eco-Club members in implementing environmental projects in their village.
Through the CITW Eco Clubs learners who are interested in the environment have an opportunity to meet, learn, discuss and expand their knowledge of environmental issues. The focus is on teaching children about their environment and the conservation and sustainability thereof. In the process, they also learn and practice many life skills such as leadership skills, teamwork, planning, and problem solving and interpersonal skills to name a few. The principle is that by educating children on sound conservation practices, teaching them about sustainable use of resources, and creating environmental leaders, one of the key contributors to conservation would be fulfilled.
The CITW programme ensures that children understand conservation and tourism, the potential benefits that it can give to them and their communities and therefore see a value in it. If they see a value in it, they will be more likely to conserve and protect conservation areas and support the associated tourism. This type of investment in young people facilitates personal growth and contributes immensely to the sustainability of Africa’s people, communities and wildlife parks.