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Sponsor the AfriCat Environmental Educator

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WHY WE NEED AN SECOND EDUCATOR:

The interest in, and the popularity of, our programme has grown considerably since its humble beginnings in 1998, significantly at the more influential schools.

Additionally, AfriCat’s excellent Environmental Education programme is set to expand, so that it can increase the number of learners who pass through its doors. A second educator will greatly assist the present head teacher with the additional school groups on site as well as expand on our outreach programmes across the country.

 

THE AIMS OF THE AFRICAT ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMME:

- To continuously develop, propagate and improve Environmental Education programmes for the benefit of Namibians, in the pursuit of increasing awareness and understanding of the complexity of environmental issues, to teach and encourage sustainable living practices, to promote greater tolerance of carnivores outside of protected areas and to find practical solutions to the farmer-predator conflict issues.

- To develop the knowledge, skills and action-competence of learners and their communities, enabling them to participate in the conservation of their areas, leading to the sustainable management of carnivore populations in Namibia.

- Through increased education and awareness, AfriCat is dedicated to the protection and conservation of wild and free-ranging carnivore populations in Namibia, ultimately ensuring the survival of the species.

- To develop and support specific community initiatives, programmes, and projects, which are targeted to sustainably contribute to economic enhancement of households, with the consequent gradual, but steady impact of poverty alleviation and skill augmentation.

 

The AfriCat Environmental Education programme is an enabler within the broader Namibian education system. Catering to a wide spectrum of ages and socio-economic backgrounds, AfriCat’s vision is to harness the rapt attention which learners embody when they visit AfriCat’s two centres into a deep-seated awareness of ALL environmental issues and, specifically in the Namibian context, those involving the vexed juxtaposition between farming communities and the country’s large carnivores. AfriCat strives to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, thereby: keeping carnivores in their natural habitat and creating economic value for communities in doing so, preventing the exploitation and inhumane treatment of carnivores, ensure that captive populations are well cared for, advance high value alternative animal husbandry methods, and develop additional agronomy skills.

AfriCat further believes that increased and active participation in environmental initiatives by a broad cross section of Namibia’s learners (age, sex, and race, socio-economic, geographic) will contribute to establish a sound knowledge and awareness base for future policy-making and sustainability.

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EVIDENCE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE AFRICAT ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMME:
Within the Namibian government and NGO communities, there is a growing recognition of the importance of environmental education and sustainable development, and the role these play in the degradation of the country’s natural heritage. Whilst this was the main topic at the Namibia Environmental Education Network Conference which AfriCat’s educators attended recently, there is a lack of structured environmental education within the formal curriculum in most Namibian schools as well as the effective and practical teaching of this subject. Apart from the need to evangelize the broad tenants of environmental education, there is a specific and practical requirement for the upgrading of the old, traditional methods and conventional wisdoms of both agriculture and livestock farming in all sectors of the country’s farming communities. AfriCat has identified the need for environmental education centers in the Otjozondjupa (Central Namibia) and Kunene (North-Western Namibia) regions, despite the existence of two official state EE Centers in Namibia, which have been neglected and rendered inactive.

The programme has already reached over 25, 000 children and young adults at AfriCat’s two Education Centres and through its Outreach Programmes. After many years of working with the farming community it became clear that youth education was vital to the long-term conservation of large carnivores. We have discovered that for many Namibian children and adults, the AfriCat Environmental Education Programme is their first camping and outdoor educational experience. Few have had the opportunity to visit wildlife reserves, observe antelope and wild large carnivores, and to experience the natural wonder of their own country. Neither have they been introduced to the vocational opportunities which tourism visitation, hand-in-glove with conservation, offers. AfriCat has advocated environmental education since 1998 and acutely recognizes the urgent need to offer as many learners, of all ages, exposure to the enormous challenges facing Namibia’s increasingly fragile natural heritage, and offering constructive solutions and an alternative path to the present one taken.

 

HOW THE PROJECT WILL OPERATE TO MEET IT’S AIMS AND GOALS:
After many years of working with farming communities it became evident that environmental education was vital to the long-term conservation of large carnivores, Namibia’s most endangered fauna. The main aim of the programme remains to develop and improve environmental education for the benefit of Namibians in an attempt to increase awareness and understanding of the complexities of environmental issues, promote greater tolerance of large carnivores outside of protected areas, and to find practical solutions to the human-wildlife conflict situation. The programme endeavors to develop the knowledge and skills of learners and their communities, enabling them to participate in the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife populations in Namibia. The programme is aimed at pupils (ten years and older), tertiary students, and adults from the farming and teaching communities. They visit the Centres for 2 to 5 days in small groups (ideally no larger than 15–20), granting each learner the opportunity to play an active role in the programme. It was evident that 2/3 days is insufficient to fully imbue the EE programmes curriculum, and so from October 2013 a full 4-5day programme is now on offer. This will also facilitate bigger groups (average number in a class is 40 and above).

 

The AfriCat Environmental Education Mon - Fri Programme for schools, clubs, teachers and students.
The AfriCat Environmental Education EE Programme 2013
The AfriCat Environmental Education EE Programme 2014
The AfriCat Environmental Education EE Programme 2015

 

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WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE INVOLVED:
The programme takes the students on a variety of walks in the "bush" (day, night, sunrise, sunset), game drives with lots of questions and explanations, cheetah-tracking on foot for the older groups, numerous enviro-games, visits to the AfriCat Information Centre, time close-up with AfriCat’s amazing 'feline' teachers (ambassadors), as well as the very important practical involvement in whatever project is available.

AfriCat emphasizes fun, enjoyment and experience as a route to harnessing interest and appreciation and, consequently, positive conservation action. The programmes aim is to open hearts and minds: we identify keen, motivated, and talented individuals within each group who are then invited back for a follow-up camp, so as to "keep the fires burning" and engender further passion. In this way, AfriCat will be in a better position to mentor and support future community leaders with, surely, a passion for, and understanding of, conservation.

 

THE REQUEST:
The AfriCat Foundation is dependent on support to maintain our various programmes. AFRICAT is familiar with the predator problems on communal and free-hold farmland along the western, northern and southern boundaries of the Etosha National Park and on farmland in central Namibia. In order to establish the effectiveness of relocating these trans-boundary carnivores, as well as the long-term sustainability of conflict mitigation practices – focusing on research as well as educating young Namibian farmers has become our focus.

Truly great projects need great sponsorship! AfriCat’s Environmental Education programme is popular amongst schools nationwide and requires a second Educator’s Salary and accommodation close to the Environmental Education Centre.

AfriCat’s input:
Salary for one teacher has been sourced and accommodation provided.
See: The AfriCat Environmental Education Programme. 
Costs: Educator’s Salary N$25 000.00 per month / N$ 300 000.00 per annum.

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