In 2019 the College, through its RISE (Rural Initiatives for a Sustainable Environment) unit, were proud to announce they would begin delivering Coaching Conservation’s after-school programme to local communities. This new partnership, between Coaching Conservation, sponsors Investec, and the Southern African Wildlife College, promotes environmental awareness as it seeks to inspire a generation of kids who care about themselves, others and the natural environment around them.
Coaching Conservation is the primary social development programme of Wild Entrust, whose support for education aims to catalyse enduring change in communities where this can have the greatest conservation impact. This involves helping students take identifiable steps towards choosing and designing their own sustainable futures. This process begins with Coaching Conservation’s unique “Learning from Wildlife” model. The first step being to introduce kids to rare and charismatic wildlife, before using the special characteristics of those same animals to coach specific behaviours and skills, which the students are encouraged to emulate. This both in fun soccer drills and their broader lives. As students experiment with attempting to BE like their wild mentors they develop new empathy for the animals they are learning about. They also become invested in the future of these threatened species and developing a greater appreciation for how all our lives are interconnected.
2019 saw this partnership get off to a flying start as the College reached a total of 652 children. This meant delivering 122 Rapid Awareness Programmes, hosting 273 bush day activities, delivering 771 interventions on the overnight bush day programmes, and making 2194 interventions over all! Most importantly, it is clear from the positive feedback and responses received from learners, teachers, community representatives and programme facilitators that this pilot programme has had a significant and positive impact on expanding the children’s knowledge and interest in conservation.
Based on these successes, we are in 2020 seeking to double our impact by reaching a target of 1,327 children. This means extending the programme to maintain contact with the students who attended sessions in 2019 whilst also incorporating a whole new cohort of Grade 6 students. In prepping for the year ahead, our team of coaches and trainers have begun conducting pre-engagement surveys with the primary schools. We have also been able to donate all the soccer balls utilised in 2019 to the participant primary schools. Something which they were of course very happy about.
The College looks to the New Year with excitement as we will yet again have the opportunity to extend our reach and impact in our neighbouring community schools.
For further information on Investec Rhino Lifeline and Coaching Conservation, please follow the links below:
Coaching for Conservation : www.coachingforconservation.org