After a few quiet months, when our activities remained curtailed by Covid, we were finally able to renew our fruitful collaboration with the safari operators at Natural Selection. We were met within the spectacular grove of huge baobab trees at Planet Baobab by the Natural Selection Community Liaison officer Tsitsi Mmolawa, and by the school Head, Environmental Education Teachers and the Standard 5 teachers from Gasebalwe Seretse Primary School in Gweta.

We spent 2 days (21st & 22nd April 2021) with the Standard 5 students, guiding them through the messages, games and activities involved in our newly designed Vulture RAP. 94 students attended these sessions and the kids hugely enjoyed the RAP, promising they would share the message with their families at home, just as we had hoped.

It’s always so rewarding to see the change in a child’s face after our sessions, knowing that they have learnt something new, and to hear them doing the CC respect cheer with happy voices is the best! These kids knew very little about vultures or their importance before we arrived and left knowing much more about how valuable vultures are and what we can learn from them (CC’s ‘Learning from Wildlife’ model). Most importantly the kids were inspired to want to find ways to help our endangered vultures.

We also took this opportunity to trial a new monitoring and evaluation questionnaire, with the results supporting our impression that the RAP had made a difference to the kids’ views. The students certainly became more interested in vultures, with those ranking vultures as their number 1 interest (ahead of seeing lions, elephants and giraffes) increasing from 11% to 26% after the RAP, while those who ranked vultures as the least interesting dropped from 44% to 28%. Kids were also more likely to consider vultures beautiful after the RAP, and in a novel attempt to measure assigned value, our survey revealed that the kids became more inclined to save vultures than chickens when given a hypothetical choice before and after our RAP.

We are very grateful to the Primary Education Officer Central District, Mr Isaiah for being so accommodating in these uncertain times, and allowing us to safely interact with the students and teachers, who made sure all hands were sanitized and all masks worn properly. We were impressed and hope we can go back to Gweta and work with Gasebalwe Seretse Primary school again as well as perhaps reaching Gweta Primary school in the near future.

Testimonials:

Lefika, 10 years old

“Today I learnt that we need to protect vultures because they are our clean-up crew.”

 

Sedilame, 11 years old

“Today I learnt a new word: ‘Scavenger’”

 

Ms. Itumeleng Perfect Moswasi – Deputy Head, Gasebalwe Seretse Primary School

“We truly appreciate you coming here today, our kids have definitely learnt a lot from Coaching Conservation. I especially like the activity books you have given them, there is a lot to learn from them, not only conservation but language and writing as well. Thank you.”

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