Conservation schools inspire and provide communities with education opportunities and resources in exchange for the community’s participation in conservation. Setting aside land to protect wildlife or working with park rangers to stop poachers are examples of how communities are participating.
In our priority landscapes, African Wildlife Foundation builds or helps rebuild schools, develops conservation education curricula, provides supplemental training to teachers, and ensures the schools will last with the support from local businesses and missions. School locations are selected based on how critical the conservation need is.
We do not own any schools, directly operate any schools, or have any teachers or principals directly employed by AWF. Our goal is simply to support the foundation for education and provide knowledge that will improve lives for people and wildlife simultaneously.
When new generations reach adulthood in many rural areas, they are left to fend for themselves and forced to exploit the resources around them for their livelihood. This includes cutting down trees for charcoal or hunting and selling bushmeat. Conservation schools target the primary school level, because Africa’s population is the youngest in the world. By providing a sound education foundation, we are offering students opportunities to continue with school and job opportunities that may better help their lives, their communities, and their natural environment.
Here’s some of what we’ve done.
To help the people of Sekute, AWF collaborated with the Sekute Chiefdom and rebuilt the area’s only primary school. This once-dilapidated mud structure has been transformed into a modern school with six classrooms, offices, and new houses for teachers. Here, 80% of the people are illiterate, making the Lupani School an incentive for the community to participate in wildlife conservation.
The Manyara Ranch Primary School is located in a very remote part in Tanzania—and like many schools around here, it lacked computers. AWF partnered with Annenberg Foundation to build a new IT lab with 40 new Internet-accessible computers. Many of the teachers did not know how to use a computer, so they were given an intensive two-week training session. AWF also helped incorporate conservation curriculum and continues to provide school supplies. The school is situated on the grounds of the Manyara Ranch, which protects wildlife from Lake Manyara to Tarangire National Park.
AWF announced a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, at the September 2013 CGI Annual Meeting, to build 15 new conservation primary schools over the next 10 years in African landscapes home to some of the world’s most important wildlife populations.
We are working with architecture firm, MASS Design Group, to create conservation school templates, so no matter the location or geographic condition—dry area or a heavily forested ecosystem—all children in areas of high biodiversity will have access to a conservation school that improves their livelihoods and Africa’s wildlife.
In early 2014, AWF and MASS Design broke ground on the first of these schools in rural Ilima, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Thanks to the generous support of members and other donors, we’re able to continue building conservation schools, providing school supplies, and training teachers. Learn more about our projects that help Africans learn how conservation can help their livelihood and save wildlife simultaneously.
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