The annual Children in the Wilderness Camp was conducted recently at Mvuu Camp in Liwonde National Park, from the 5th to 15th of December. A total of 36 children (aged 11 -13) and 30 youth were able to spend four days of fun and learning at Mvuu and participate in CITW’s most highly anticipated educational event. Children in the Wilderness is a non-profit organisation which aims to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of children living in Malawi and across Africa. Two dedicated sessions were held for each age group, to ensure that an effective and engaging programme would be delivered to both younger children in primary school, as well as those in the YES Club and Eco-Clubs, who are in secondary school or have recently graduated. Each year, CAWS closes down the camp to paying guests to support this important programme, which inspires the next generation of young leaders to champion the conservation of key areas of wilderness, whilst developing important life and leadership skills.
This year, the event provided a platform for the groups to understand the role that they can play in supporting wildlife conservation, it also provided them with an opportunity learn more about Liwonde, the unique challenges that the park faces and they were able to actively discuss what can be done to safeguard the park and other areas. In addition, the YES Club members were able to develop their curriculum and action plan for 2017 and representatives from various zones had the valuable opportunity of sharing their unique experiences and giving their input. The camp was also supported by the Ministry of Education and H.E.L.P. Malawi and many members from across the CAWS team stepped in to provide additional on-the-ground support. The camp is an integral part of the CITW programme, which strives to shine a light on the vital necessity to safeguard and conserve our natural environment and wildlife by educating the children and youth of today, in the hope that they will become the much-needed conservation champions of tomorrow.
The camp’s first full-day of activities commenced with the first group of 30 YES Club campers from all CITW zones in southern and northern Malawi coming together. In addition to formulating their general curriculum and plan for the upcoming year, they engaged in various other activities such as studying the wildlife and ecosystems of Liwonde National Park, this included participating in a special activity called “The Wildlife of my Heart,” which involved each member coming up with a wild animal and a plant of their choice, which they then committed to learning more about from the experts and guides at the camp.
On the 9th of December the first youth group concluded their camp and seven representatives from the local community along with various district commissioners and representatives from African Parks were invited to meet and interact with the youth. The visiting guests had the chance to hear more about what the campers learnt and the local community leaders also shared their vision to see the park and its wildlife conserved for the well-being of the tourism industry and the community. The community leaders also pledged to support the CITW youth and children and give them any assistance and guidance that they need on future projects.
From the 10th to 14th of December, 36 children from CITW affiliated primary schools around Liwonde National Park, aged between 11 and 13 were hosted at the camp. The children engaged in a wide range of important activities which covered areas such as wildlife conservation, interdependencies among wildlife in Liwonde National Park and the community, photography skills and life lessons. They also had the option to meet role models who are actively involved in the process of wildlife conservation.
As always, CITW concluded the event by acknowledging the unwavering support that the programme has received from CAWS, H.E.L.P Malawi, the Ministry of Education, as well as the outstanding service that was readily extended by the Mvuu Camp management and staff.
Central African Wilderness Safaris (CAWS) is an ecotourism company that offers the finest quality safari experiences and the ultimate holiday getaways in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. CAWS offers both up-market tailor-made luxury safaris as well as more affordable budget safari options. The company is dedicated to offering personalised and authentic travel experiences that have a minimal impact on the planet and a lasting impact on people.