Educate the Environmental Leaders of Today and Tomorrow
Access to environmental information, education and training is a gateway to developing real community empowerment and capacity for natural resource management. Our Environmental Education Initiative educates, empowers, and enables local people to understand and take control of their environment’s future:
For the children of the Maasai Steppe…
- Wildlife Clubs. This after-school program is our way of bringing environmental education into rural primary school education (Standard 3-7, equivalent to U.S. grades K-5), emphasizing environmental activities and creating opportunities for students to participate in projects that emphasize civic responsibility and community stewardship.
- Children’s Summer Camps. The only experience of its kind in Northern Tanzania, our environmental summer camps provide a fully immersive experience to learn about the natural and cultural history of Tanzania and Africa, away from the demands of schoolwork and household labor.
- National Park Trips. A once in a lifetime experience for many rural students who are unable to afford the cost of travel and entry into the major national park that forms the boundary of their district.
- Noloholo Environmental Scholarships to Secondary School. Most families cannot afford to educate their children beyond the country’s free educational limits (up to grade 5), but our scholarships give the Steppe’s best and brightest children the chance to receive a private secondary school education.
For the adults of the Maasai Steppe…
- Natural Resource Management Training. Our suite of workshops in rangeland management, watershed conservation and environmentally-friendly entrepreneurship teaches rural communities to develop management and/or buisness plans, and provides extensive follow-up support to ensure their successful implementation.
- Warriors for Wildlife Skills Training. Community members collect and analyze valuable information about human-wildlife conflicts, diffuse conflict, and work on anti-poaching patrols, all while learning valuable GPS, data entry and teamwork skills. Read more at our Wildlife Conservation page.
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Funds go directly toward programs that protect livelihoods and save lions.
At APW, we are committed to educating, empowering, and enabling local people with the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to self-manage their environments. This is the crucial first step in developing long-term commitment to and capacity for environmental and biodiversity conservation. Recognizing the importance of both the current and the next generation of environmental leaders, we provide educational and training opportunities for both children and adults in the rural communities where we work.
For the children of the Maasai Steppe…
Through Wildlife Clubs, we provide after-school education on civic responsibility and environmental leadership to some 300 primary school children (K-5). Some projects that have emerged from Wildlife Clubs include: making village trash bins to clean up community areas, starting a school garden and compost pile, and Earth Day celebrations.
Out of our Wildlife Clubs, we select 80 outstanding students (50% female, 50% male) to participate in our Environmental Summer Camps, where they spend a week living at the Noloholo Environmental Center and are immersed in lessons and activities about the environmental and cultural history of Tanzania, and basic ecology such as predator-prey relationships, pollination and trophic levels, and identify local birds and plants. For most students, summer camp is their only opportunity to escape from the realities of daily household labor. They hike to local landmarks, play environmental games, engage in active learning activities such as skits and debates, and spend time with the village elders absorbing traditional knowledge about medicinal plants and the cultural significance of the landscape. As they learn, they write their observations down in our tailor-made companion workbook. These students then return to Wildlife Clubs, workbooks and lessons in hand, as teachers and leaders of their peers.
Creating local awareness of the value of lions and involving schoolchildren in lion conservation activities is critical for developing long-term interest in conservation. Since 2006, APW reaches hundreds of students each year with its interactive, tailor-made workbook “Your Environment with Lions” or “Mazingira Yako na Simba” about the Maasai people, their environment and lions.
Due to high levels of poverty on the Maasai Steppe, families can rarely afford to send their children to secondary school (the US equivalent of grades 7-12). Our Noloholo Environmental Scholars are chosen out of a highly competitive process that combines scores from our own environmental exam, an extensive interview process, and from the national exam. We provide each scholar with a full-ride, six year scholarship to Moringe private secondary school – an opportunity that their families would never be able to afford for them – and we hope, a path to college and to positions of leadership within their rural communities. In exchange for the scholarship, which also provides books and uniforms, scholars are required to mentor younger students in Wildlife Clubs and during Environmental Summer Camps.
In order to complement our educational curriculum, and to develop appreciation for the region’s unique natural treasures, APW facilitates annual National Park Trips to Tarangire National Park for over 100 sixth grade students living in the Maasai Steppe. Despite living only miles from the park’s border, most attendees enter the part for the first time on one of our trips. Accompanied by our conservation education officer and guided by an interactive worksheet, trip attendees explore the important ecological features of the park, learn about different species of wildlife and plants, and discuss their relationship to the park’s resources.
The above activities have generated a library of educational resources and activities including tailor-made conservation workbooks, assessment exams, locally-relevant educational games, and lesson plans for environmental education. Our workbooks are based on an interactive design that emphasizes analytical thinking and outreach. In this way, we encourage students to engage their families in the learning process, thereby reaching the community at large. Developed in collaboration with local schoolteachers, they are also compatible with the national school curriculum. By incorporating teachers as partners, we also help improve teaching skills and build overall educational capacity. Available workbooks and teacher training manuals include “African Wild Dog”, “Your Village Environment,” “Your Environment with Lions,” and the three-book “Living with Drought” series, with additional workbooks currently in production.
For the adults of the Maasai Steppe…
Through Natural Resource Management Training, we commit to developing the real capacity of local communities to make informed decisions when addressing local environmental conservation and natural resource management challenges. In rural Tanzania, lack of infrastructure and remoteness from urban centers make access to training and information difficult to obtain. We remove these barriers by bringing information and expertise to the communities.
Training opportunities at the Noloholo Environmental Center include an introduction to and/or the facilitation of natural resource action planning as well as seminars for local community members in water, land and wildlife management and conservation. We also provide mapping services to help community members visualize their landscapes and land uses, overlaying local information on Google Earth imagery.
We offer the following five courses to communities across the Maasai Steppe:(1) Water: Its Science, Management and Conservation (2) Pastoralist Livelihoods and Rangeland Management (3) Entrepreneurship: Environmentally-Sustainable Business Development for Rural Communities (4) Natural Resource Management in a Changing Landscape (under development) (5) Women and the Environment (under development)
We train local instructors to teach the courses. We develop all our materials in-house or in partnership with institutional experts such as think tanks or NGOs.
Read more about our Warriors for Wildlife training on our Wildlife Conservation Initiatives page.