183 children celebrated their wildlife diploma

Seven villages around the Okavango Delta were celebrating:

183 children of the SAVE Early Childhood Development programme were handed their diplomas. In the environmental education programme for preschool children, these certificates are of a symbolic nature and do not represent an official diploma.

Nevertheless, they mean a lot to the children: namely that they have not only learned such basics as how to write their name and count to 20 in the SAVE environmental education programme, but that they are well on their way on their way to becoming the wildlife experts of their country – and that even before they start the primary school!

In the children projects for different age groups, the 3-6 year olds learn about the enormous value of wildlife, which is often foreign and scary to them, in games, handicrafts or project days. The teachers have been specially trained by SAVE in wildlife education and come from the respective villages. To ensure the success of the environmental education project, exams were held.

On average, 90% of all children passed the exams, even though it was a damn tough challenge under Corona conditions. This had to be celebrated!

In each of the seven villages there was a big graduation ceremony with traditional music, dancing and singing. The children and their parents were incredibly proud of their certificates and thought up their own plays especially for this day. Among the invited guests were parents, but also village chiefs, teachers and some invited guests of honour from local village development committees.

Especially from this side, SAVE was thanked for its good work. “The Early Childhood Development Programme makes life easier for many children, because by the time they come to primary school, they can already read and write a little,” some of the speeches at the celebrations said. Indeed, everyone is now looking forward to the “Big School”, as they call the primary school.

Early childhood education runs under the umbrella of “Education for Conseration” – the SAVE environmental education programme for different age groups. More than 14,000 children in 28 projects have already participated in projects, and more are to be added next year.

No matter what age group: all projects aim to turn children and young people around the Okavango Delta in Botswana into conservationists of tomorrow.

So it makes us particularly proud when the children on stage profess from the bottom of their hearts: “I don’t want to burn anything in the environment anymore and I don’t want to throw away any rubbish!” and “I won’t kill any wild animals!”

In these moments, beyond exams and diplomas, we firmly believe in making a real difference with our programme by accompanying a generation that treats its environment and especially the country’s wildlife differently than the previous one: enlightened, mindful and appreciative.