Groundbreaking of new environmental learning centre in Matsaudi
August 16 was the day of the first groundbreaking at the very spot where a new environmental learning centre for children is to be built. In Matsaudi, on the south-eastern edge of the Okavango Delta, two classrooms for 30 children each are to be built, as well as toilets, storage facilities, an office, and an infirmary.
Village chief Kgosi attended the ceremonial launch event personally together with the village development committee, the director of SAVE Botswana Wabotlhe Letubo and the residents of Matsaudi.
During her opening speech, Wabothle outlined the construction project and the planned environmental education classes. While talking about the project, the village head Kgosi was happy that the construction of the playgroup can finally start, and the community was very excited about the new building. The village development committee assured to also contribute to the success of the project.
The learning centre which SAVE will build in cooperation with Share for Smiles will have space for a total of 60 children aged three to six years. There will be two qualified teachers and two teacher assistants trained by SAVE.
The playgroup will run daily until noon and is designed to help preschool children prepare well for school. The activities at the centre include games, especially storytelling, where the children train their listening and speaking skills. In addition, the children are allowed to colour in, trace, cut out and paste animal pictures in their individual workbooks. In this way, they are playfully introduced to the animal world of their country, which needs to be protected. SAVE is planning graduation ceremonies and environmental learning excursions, as well.
In the afternoons, there will be a programme at the Matsaudi Learning Centre: youth projects such as basket weaving or wood carving, environmental clubs and homework supervision take place daily from 2 pm to 7 pm. Environmental education is a very important element of the Moreover, a handicraft souvenir shop will complement the project on the main road to the Moremi Game Reserve for it is here where tourists can buy the products made in Matsaudi.
Thus, the Matsaudi Learning Centre will have several positive effects at the same time: The young children are playfully prepared for their entry into school whereas the older children receive homework help. Through the environmental education lessons, all children become more sensitive and mindful in dealing with Botswana’s wildlife.
The handicraft goods provide the villagers with a secure and sustainable income, which is a very important community development goal for SAVE.