Inspiring Kids to Care! – Update June ’23

The months of April and May were busy for the Coaching Conservation team. The team hosted coaches training from 17 to 21 April and had the chance to kick off their first delivery of Elephant and Rhino Rapid Awareness programmes at the College May.  

In April, a team of five Good Work Foundation (GWF) trainers and six SAWC prospective trainers took part on the Coaching Conservation – Train the Trainer course. The purpose of this training was to prepare and qualify the group as competent and passionate trainers to Inspire kids who Care about themselves, each other, and environment. Toward achieving this goal, the team received training in the following areas:  

  • The evolution of the coaching conservation programme and its aims,  
  • Policies on safeguarding and child protection 
  • An introduction to environmental education  
  • Learning from wildlife (ecology and ethology) 
  • Communication 
  • Current and future conservation challenges 
  • Monitoring and evaluation, 
  • The Grade 5 Rhino Rap 

This group brought much excitement and energy to match the young learner’s high spirits! Following the training, the trainers had an opportunity to apply their learning when they visited Mtembeni Primary School to present a Rhino Rap Awareness lesson for Grade 5 learners.

The SAWC team of coaches also had a further opportunity to apply their skills when they hosted the first group of 25 learners on 24 and 25 May, on an overnight Bush Rapid Awareness programme at the SAWC. Friends of African Wildlife have very generously sponsored 100 local children to take part in the Coaching Conservation RAP programme. Friends of African Wildlife donors, Pascal Schweingruber and Sibylle Tellenbach, recently visited the College and were exposed to the programme. Great fun and an emotionally filled morning was had when they also participated in the soccer game, which teaches the children about animal behaviour, in this case rhino and elephant, where the plight these animals face is also addressed.  

Using the Learning from Wildlife Model where they get to Meet, Be and Help their animal coaches, the children learnt about these two iconic species. During the Meet component the learners were introduced to their animal coaches, in this case the mighty black and white Rhino and Elephants, and learned about the behaviour and their ecology as ecosystem engineers who in part create habitats for other species and the critical role they play in the food web.

Next, they brought all the key learning onto the field and out on an educational game drive, where the kids got to emulate their animal coaches, and BE like tough and Nimble rhino, defending territory, and changing direction quickly. The field activities were facilitated through soccer drills and then soccer games.

The last activity to tie the learning up was the lesson on the Web of Life, where the kids participated in a demonstration to understand how the elements, grasses, trees, and animals are interconnected. The final phase of learning is the Help component, where learners and coaches discussed and share ideas and strategies on ways to help these species and mitigate some of their conservation challenges.