"The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.”
The Republic of Botswana is a flat, landlocked country in Southern Africa, 70% of which is covered by the Kalahari Desert. This semidesert supports more wildlife than a true desert because it offers huge tracts of grasslands for grazing after rains. Besides desert, Botswana has deltas, rivers, grasslands, and savannahs.
Botswana is arguably one of the leaders in conservation in the world. Maria Eduarda was invited by Russel Friedman the co-founder of Wilderness Safaris to document the social and environmental work the ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris and its non‐profit organisation Children in the Wilderness (CITW) develop in the region. During several months and expeditions Maria Eduarda joined these programmes to learn and harvest their stories. The work was documented shared through film, photography, blog and articles.
Children in the Wilderness is a non-profit organisation supported by eCotourism company Wilderness Safaris, which aims to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa.This is achieved in a variety of ways, from running Eco-Clubs at schools within the rural communities to running three-night camps at Wilderness Safaris.
EMPOWERING THE FUTURE
The Children in the Wilderness Eco-Clubs make use of a standardised curriculum adapted to suit the specific country or community, delivered in a fun, interactive and engaging manner. In this way, Children in the Wilderness introduces children to their wildlife heritage, builds and strengthens their capabilities to cope with life’s challenges and educates them with the life skills necessary to actualise their greatest potential.
CONSERVATION AND WILD LIFE
Insight, knowledge and love are required to conserve Africa’s pristine wilderness and wildlife areas. If we are to ensure that these places continue to exist – in this generation and those to come – we need to inspire the local children to care for their natural heritage and to become the custodians of these areas in the future. Hence this environmental and life skills educational programme for children, focusing on the next generation of decision-makers and the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives.