Empowering communities, protecting nature: LWT’s Education programme

Habitat-loss, deforestation, unsustainable farming, the illegal wildlife trade. These are just some of the human-driven threats putting Malawi’s unique and precious wildlife in danger. Here at Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, we believe that the power to protect and safeguard Malawi’s natural places lies with the communities that live around them.

That is why we run our Environment Education programme, dedicated to equipping children and adults from across Malawi with the tools they need to learn about and defend the irreplaceable nature that surrounds them.

Our projects range from community development and conservation education, to tree-planting and waste-management.

Find out more about the LWT Education Programme in this brand new video.

What do we do?

Our specialist education team deliver lessons in school on conservation techniques, deforestation, animal welfare, biodiversity, waste-management, wildlife conflict, and wildlife crime. From April 2018 to April 2019, over 37,000 children from 365 schools across Malawi received environmental education. Children are taught the value and importance of the nature that surrounds them, and skills they can use as they grow up to protect it. They also learn about the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and the threats posed by poaching, illegal hunting, and climate change.

Children in schools are also benefitting from the programme’s tree-planting initiative which has planted over 42,000 trees across Malawi. School areas which are otherwise dusty, dry, and unsheltered are now providing fresh air and shade to pupils through newly planted trees. We actively engage children not only in how to plant trees but how to care for them as well — because we believe inspiring a love of nature starts with hands-on experience at a young age.

Unsustainable agricultural practices in Malawi present a range of challenges to the ecosystem, wildlife animals, and humans. Unsustainable farming causes pollution, soil erosion, and damage to habitats — that’s why we invest in engaging communities to establish permaculture gardens. Our specialist trainers focus on delivering a message of harmonious co-existence of people and their natural environment that is mutually beneficial. If farmers and communities are able to adapt their practices to this model, then Malawi can begin to tackle some of the unintended consequences of unsustainable agriculture such as. food insecurity and poor soil. They key to this project is the idea of working alongside nature, rather than against it.

Malawi also faces an ongoing challenge with sustainable fuels. Many communities rely on charcoal and firewood, both of which are unsustainable and contribute to habitat loss through deforestation. As part of our mission to champion the use of more environmentally-friendly fuel sources, we are empowering communities to create and use wastepaper fuel briquettes. These simple briquettes are made up of recycled paper, sawdust, and water and are very easy and cheap to make. They also produce less smoke than traditional fuels so are less harmful to human health.

Finally, the award-winning Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi’s capital provides the space for children and adults to gain more first-hand experience with nature and conservation skills. Here they can help to build eco-bricks (plastic bottles stuffed full with waste plastic) which can be used as sturdy and durable construction material. Visitors can also help to create enrichment for. the primates that live at the Wildlife Centre, learning about animal welfare and behaviour in the process.

What you can do to help

We need your help. We cannot do this alone. It is imperative to establish a conservation and sustainability curriculum for the future of Malawi. Your support is needed to continue and expand the efforts of Lilongwe Wildlife Trust. Thank you.
Nebart Mtika
Environmental Education Manager

Please support our Education programme today with a donation. With your help we can secure a better future for Malawi’s wild animals and wild places.

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