During our successful Coronavirus Survival Kit campaign, a new community need was presented to us. Mathiba Primary School expressed concern that few students were washing their hands after they had used the toilets, due mainly to the fact that there were no washing basins near the toilets. Coaching Conservation quickly stepped in and agreed to trial a behavior change project at the school, aimed at promoting hand-washing routines. CC has now donated and erected a wash station near the toilets and created a colourful walkway using paving slabs, leading from the toilets to the wash station. We put positive reinforcement messages on the slabs (‘nudges”) encouraging students to wash their hands and, keeping to our core messages, to be responsible and respectful of both themselves and others. We will return at the end of term for a follow up to evaluate the intervention’s impact as well as to collect the “We Are all Connected“ competition posters that were distributed to all senior primary students.
In all these projects, we have been supported by local youth businesses and individuals. A talented
welder, Odumetse Dikatholo designed the tap stands for the handwashing area. We also hired two local artists, Prince Moyo and Elijah Obonye Molatole to decorate and paint the slabs.
Meanwhile, we have not forgotten our plans to launch our first accredited Train-the Trainer course in collaboration with the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC). This first course, originally scheduled for April, had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Like so many organisations around the world we have been turning to online learning, and have spent the past months repacking the course material to allow for an online delivery. It is now almost ready, and our first online course is scheduled to be delivered in October. There will always remain a practical component of the training which can only be done with kids present, but we hope to use this online training resource to accredit coaches from SAWC, Goodwork Foundation and Maun in the theoretical grounding required to coach our lessons, so that they are ready to do their practical training as soon as school activities open up again.
Managing the local situation when the lockdown was eased also presented challenges for us with staff returning to work from various locations, but we continue with social distancing, wearing masks and sanitizing to ensure we are doing all we can to keep everyone safe. Our vital partnership to conserve the environment and spread positive messages must continue despite the difficult and challenging times we all are experiencing.
As we strive to look forward and find ways to adapt, we are increasingly aware of the real impact this global health and economic situation has had on our funding and have initiated new ways to raise funds for our programs. Globally we are working on our building awareness of our work through our new media channels and locally, we are hosting a jumble sale of collected donated items of furniture, electronics, clothes, toys and books to help raise conservation funds.
We could not do the things we do without the generous continuing support of all our funders and donors, and we say thanks again for your enduring support. Friends like you have sustained us over the years and ensured the success of Wild Entrust Africa and its projects. Not only is it imperative that we continue to protect the wildlife resources of this unique region with its globally important wetland and world heritage site status, your gifts are now more important than ever to enable us to maintain basic operations and salaries for all of our employees so they do not join the ever increasing statistic of the unemployed and destitute in Botswana, and become part of the problem rather than the solution.
Every little bit helps and comes with our grateful thanks as well as our guarantee that every dollar will be well spent.