With enthusiasm and charisma: The SAVE environmental teacher Neo

As you know, community development is one of our most important goals in our E4C programme. In this context, we recruit people from the villages on the outskirts of the national parks in Botswana as conservation partners. An essential component of this is the training of people from the “wildlife conflict areas”. To show what an impact this has on all the villagers, here is Neo’s story.

Neo Xhike lives in a village south of the wildlife-rich Moremi Game Reserve. She was trained by us (SAVE Botswana) for one year. Today, she leads the early childhood development playgroup as a SAVE teacher in her village Matsaudi with 30 children.

Although Neo lives only a few kilometres from the Moremi Game Reserve, she had never had the opportunity to visit it before.

Only the encounter with lions, elephants, zebras and wildebeests during her teacher training really opened her eyes to the unique beauty of the wildlife of her homeland. Today, she passes on this enthusiasm to the children in her playgroup every day.

But not only that: “Teaching the SAVE curriculum has made me more confident.” Today, Neo speaks English very well and is determined to keep working hard. “I want to see ‘my’ children get high-paying conservation jobs one day. I already notice how my whole village community is developing and how the idea of conservation is spreading more and more there too.”

We are delighted that we were able to recruit such a dedicated teacher as Neo for our E4C teacher programme. This step, she tells us, has changed her life. Now she is not only able to inspire his 30 children for species conservation, but also gradually the villagers, whose attitude towards wildlife is now also gradually changing.