In its continued efforts to support and develop children living areas with wildlife by providing them with free learning and training, SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund through their Early Childhood Development Programme this week handed over a playground to Daunara Village Development Committee (VDC) in the Okavango Delta.
The organisation has collaborated with the community in establishing children’s education for conservation project, known as playground, which targets grass root level education in order to stimulate learning hence improve the education status of the village. SAVE Wildlife has been supporting VDCs/Action groups to develop Early Childhood Development projects since 2011.
Speaking during the official opening and hand-over of the project in Daunara Village on Wednesday, the organisation’s Country Project Director, Wabotlhe Letubo stated that their NGO supports 36 playgrounds some in the Okavango, Ngamiland, Boteti, Makgadikgadi and others in Chobe with about 15000 children having benefited to enjoy free childhood learning. “Since 2011, more than 14 500 children have been reached, they graduated to formal schools and most of them are doing quite well,” she stated.
According to Letubo during the establishment of the project in Daunara 19 children were registered for enrolment. She noted that parents living in the Okavango Delta survive through economic activities such as fishing and gathering of wild plants, as such when it is time for them to do those activities they had to go with their children something that puts them at the risk of being attacked by wild animals.
She stressed that through the establishment of a playground in Daunara they wanted to protect children from wild animal attacks while at the same time they also gain learning skills that prepares them for enrolment in formal education.
The playground, she explained will also be beneficial for the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the children living in Daunara adding that it will also improve their literacy and writing skills. Letubo noted that through the project they also teach children about wildlife conservation at a young age.
For her part, Maun Administration Authority (MAA), Senior Home Economics Officer Kenamile Sethoka noted that government through the Ministry of Local Government in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education introduced the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program after realizing that there was a gap in learning between children living in remote area settlements and developed areas. The program, she added was also meant to lay foundation for school readiness.
Sethoka explained that the program also promote children’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive developmental needs. “This project intends to facilitate provision of a safe, happy and non-threatening environment for children to play, learn, to assist rural and less privileged communities and to offer quality regulated but flexible childcare,” she said.