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Environment Day Celebrations June 2011
School and Environmental Centre
Day Celebrations June 5th 2011
On Sunday 5th June, I was up very early and set off for Tungamalenga Village, some 160 km from my camp. It was World Environmental Day, and for the past 11 years, Dr Dulle and I have facilitated the coming together of the 6 primary schools situated outside the park, in a day of festivities. This year we have changed things slightly, all the organizing of the event was to be done by the schools themselves, we would merely provide the funds after receiving their itemized budget.
Each school composes songs or plays about the environment, some chose to sing about its beauty and wealth, some chose to illustrate the problems of fire, water pollution, charcoal and tree felling, but all warn about the dangers we face if we do not look after our natural surroundings.
It was a lively event, the children really excelled themselves with a display of not only choreography skills, but as always, I am astounded at their natural ability to sing in harmony with nothing but a drum to keep them in time and tune. These children are extraordinarily gifted in singing, it is always a very enjoyable experience. There with many guests of honour, several whom gave excellent, short speeches all aimed at the children and commending them for their efforts. All of them stressed their important role in informing their parents about the value of environmental conservation, and the importance of growing trees in their back yard.
Towards the end of last year, I organized, thanks to Petro Masolwa of WWF, for two young men from our area to join a WWF program taking place in the south east of Tanzania (Kilwa). This was a program teaching a sustainable way to make charcoal without destroying the environment. As although technically, in the area adjacent to Ruaha Park it is prohibited to make charcoal in any shape or form, and no licenses are issued, the practice does go on. Ibrahimu Nyepele and Petulo Ndeda came to the celebrations and gave us all a short synopsis of what they learned. They hoped they would be granted permission to get a group organized to embark on sustainable production of charcoal. I noted that all the adults in the audience were straining their ears to get every last detail! I believe it would be a good thing to implement this new method of making charcoal as much as possible, because until we find an alternative way to cook, as long as there are trees, charcoal burning will continue no matter what limitations are imposed.
Finally the day ended with a round of prize giving. First, the top three students in each school for Maths, Science and English were given prizes. Their names were read out and they grouped into lines according to subject. The prizes were exercise books, pens, a text book each according to subject, geometry sets, and English reading books. These small prizes, wrapped in shiny paper were clutched with such pride, it was very humbling for me. When I think of the kind of prizes western children expect nowadays, and the lavish events that are put on as a matter of course, I have to wonder about how much does one really need? I add here that at a later date, these 21 students also get an over night stay in Ruaha Park, accommodation and fees are always given free to us by RNP. We thank the Park for this gesture.
The schools had organized for the Community development officer for Idodi to do a survey of each school and come up with a list of the 3 top environmentally best kept schools. She did a fabulous job, with a formal system of points awarded according to topic, eg, cleanliness of school grounds, cleanliness of the classrooms and toilets, the attention to the gardens and flowers and entrance road. Abundance of trees and new trees being planted etc. The children listened with baited breath as she reeled off the marks awarded to each school, First was idodi, second was Kitisi, and third was Makifu. The winning schools receive, hose pipes, rakes, and various items to assist with their gardening efforts within the school.
After, a few short speeches by the guests of honour it was now almost 4pm! Lunch was served for everyone there, at least 500 children enjoyed a good lunch of meat, ugali and rice, vegetables and fruit. A mass of excited and hungry children lined up, each school was alloted a classroom in which to enjoy their meal accompanied by their teachers. The guests of honour were ushered into a classroom of their own, sadly, although I normally do stay to eat with everyone, it was late and I had a long way to get home. There was to be a football match after the meal which is always much enjoyed by everyone before they too head home. It was a most enjoyable day.
Ruaha Conservation Fund update for the end of 2010 and early 2011.
Dr Dulle has been extremely busy this year with his veterinary work and has been travelling a great deal, so finding time for the Ruaha Conservation Fund was proving a challenge to us both. But despite this, our programs went well, we are however, indebted to Mr Mwangosi the local Education Officer for his help and input in organizing the events.
We had our usual range of programs, with the Environmental Day celebrations in June, The 21 students who won prizes had their over-night stay in the park, 420 children in Standard 6 (11 years of age) had a day trip into Ruaha Park in November, the 10 Secondary school students continue to be sponsored by Jongomero Camp, the Environmental Art display at Msembe School, we also sponsored 2 candidates from the village area to attend a 2 week training program in the art of sustainable charcoal making. WWF were holding a program way down in the Rufiji area, which showed the participants how to construct a 5 times more efficient kiln and how to grow and maintain a nursery for replanting the trees. The Wild Dog film in Kiswahili continued to be used by the media all over Tanzania, and early this year Dr Dulle was asked to give a talk to visiting College students from USA about the Wild dogs in the village areas. Finally we distributed the generous $5,000.00 donation from Houston Zoo to the Village Primary schools which I highlight below.
We have used the generous donation from Houston Zoo, of $5,000.00 for our village schools situated outside the Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania. We have 6 primary schools outside the park, and so we divided the donation fairly between them giving each school $800.00. Originally they were to send us a wish list, we were fully intending to distribute the items last year, however, in September, we were alerted to the fact that in the new year, there would be a whole range of new text books available for these schools. So after discussion with them, we all decided that these books were what they really needed the most. It transpires that none of the schools have more than a few copies of text books and most children never see one at all. So there was a seriously enthusiastic response to our donation. We also provided text books for the teachers them selves which was equally well received. All these teachers struggle to meet the demands of the curriculum due to a serious lack of funds which naturally means very few books to work from. They are all very dedicated and do a splendid job despite their difficult conditions. One of the schools requested a portrait of our President, which he will hang in his office, we also provided wall charts, atlases, and calenders.
The meeting took place in a classroom at the Tungamalenga Primary school, as it was a Sunday and the children were home. Dr Dulle, the founder of Ruaha Conservation Fund, myself and the 2 local education officers, Mr Mwangosi and Mr Mramba chaired the meeting. In my address I informed the gathering that Houston Zoo was responsible for providing the money for this wonderful donation, at which point everyone clapped and thumped the tables with appreciation. They requested that I conveyed to the Zoo how much they appreciate their help. They are touched that people in America so far away from them, think about sending donations to their schools.
At the same meeting we presented the Msembe School, (which is situated inside the Ruaha Park for the kids of the Park Rangers), with their very first computer. This school is slightly upgraded compared to the others, and forms our 7th school. The Park management help the school with many items from books to furniture and buildings, so they were not included in the donation of books, but as they now have electricity via a generator (the village schools do not) they requested a computer to help them with day to day activities. The money for this purchase came from the sale of the Ruaha Park Map which I designed, printed and sell at the entrance gate. All proceeds from the sales of the map goes to our village programs.
The day trips into the Park for the Standard 6 students went extremely well, it took place over a 5 day period. We used the large bus, which always looks rather strange in the Park but is the best means of transport for so many students and the most comfortable. The children are collected early in the morning from their respective villages and brought to the park in time for breakfast, followed by a long game drive and a late lunch at Msembe, Head Quarters. I attended the third days excursion and met the students and teachers for lunch at Msembe. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me so there is no visual record of the event. But everyone was very happy, all schools saw lions, elephants, and the normal range of game one group saw Cheetah and another saw ostrich so it was an exciting and memorable day for the children. This year there were no mishaps like getting stuck in the Mwagusi sand river! We are most grateful to Harry Vlek and Ans de Winter for their continued support, despite these difficult times.
We are also grateful to Petro Masolwa WWF for his enthusiasm and help in arranging for our 2 candidates to join their program in the Rufiji area.
Below I have a series of photos depicting the meeting we held a couple of weeks ago with the village schools in conjunction with distributing the books. We are most grateful to Houston Zoo for their generous donation, it certainly was joyously received and the books will be put to excellent use.
Kindest regards, Dr Dulle and Sue
a. Dr Dulle arriving at the Tungamalenga Primary school with the books
b. Dr Dulle, Mr Mwangosi and Mr Mramba chairing the meeting with the heads of primary schools, I was sitting with them
c. Head teachers at the meeting, we used a classroom for the meeting as it was Sunday and the kids were at home.
d. Unpacking the books
e. teachers posing for their photo with the portrait or JK Kikwete, the President of Tanzania.
f. Much joviality and enthusiasm for the donation of the text books
g. Dr Dulle and I Discussing issues before giving the new Computer to the head teacher of Msembe Primary School, (extreme right)
Dr Dulle and I Giving the new computer to Head teacher of Msembe School (This is the school for the Park Rangers children)Mr Mwangosi the education officer is on the extreme left.
Update August 2010
Here is the latest from Ruaha Conservation Fund, we
are delighted to say, that despite the current economic difficulties
we are able to continue with our programs. We are most grateful to
you ALL for your continued support, in particular we would like to
thank Harry Vlek and Ans de Winter of the Netherlands for their
unwavering support, The Houston Zoo, Texas, Bessie and Chip Turner
from South Africa, and Connie Moosbauer from Austria. It goes without
saying that the continuing support we get from Jongomero Camp and
Mdonya camp is greatly appreciated as well.
SOLAR LIGHTING NOW INSTALLED.
The solar lighting, kindly donated to us by Connie Moosbauer, from
Austria, was installed into one of the dormitories in idodi Secondary
school ( students here are aged 14 to 17 years). These dorms are now
in use, much to the enjoyment of the boys! It was decided that as
the new dorms were rebuilt on the same site as the burnt ones, the
girls may have unpleasant dreams and flash backs of the disaster, so
they have moved the boys over into the new ones and the girls have the
old boys dorms! I know the boys are delighted by this! In addition to
this we finally gave the much needed film equipment to the Idodi
secondary school, this includes a projector and a lap-top computer.
Although we had purchased this equipment months ago the school
requested that we keep it until they had resolved the fire issues at
the school. The photo shows us handing over the equipment to the chief
accountant of the school.
ENVIRONMENTAL DAY CELEBRATIONS
Primary School Environmental Day Celebrations
As you may already know we support 7 primary schools (Primary school
children are aged 7 to 13 years) in the immediate vicinity of Ruaha
Park. On June 5th we had environmental day celebrations at the
Makifu and Mauhninga schools, then the following week end Idodi,
Kitanewa, Kitisi,Tungamalenga and Msembe Schools celebrated their
Environmental day. It has been split up to avoid transport costs.
As usual the schools put on a wonderful array of songs and plays
highlighting environmental issues and events. We then awarded the 3
top, scholastic students in each school, prizes; books, geometry sets
and pens, plus, an overnight stay for the 21 students will be
organized later on this year. As always, this day is well organized
by the schools' committees, and a much enjoyed, festive event. Most
schools in rural Tanzania, do not have the resources to stage events
such as this.
FUNDING FOR THE PRIMARY SCHOOLS.
Idodi Primary School Classroom
When Rob and I were exhibiting at the Houston Zoo, in Texas, USA,
earlier this year, their community conservation program kindly donated to RCF (Ruaha Conservation Fund) a princely sum of $5,000. After much deliberation we have decided that, in conjunction with Jongomero Camp, we will ask the 7 primary schools to come up with a wish list of items they need to the value of $1,000 per school. We will then buy the equipment and items they require and send them down to the respective
schools. These schools are all run by the Government, therefore, funding is minimal, and so the schools are in need of everything from
teaching aids, text books, desks and chairs, to cement. We are very grateful to the Houston Zoo for this generous donation and to Jongomero Camp for their constant efforts to work with the communities.
ENVIRONMENTAL ART BY MSEMBE PRIMARY SCHOOL. (Ruaha Park HQ school for
the Rangers' children)
Msembe School Art Students
Some time ago I was given a large box of high quality
colouring pencils, paper, pencils, rubbers and sharpeners. sufficient
for 50 students, by Bessie and Chip Turner of South Africa. I have
been waiting for the right opportunity in which to use this wonderful
donation, then a few weeks ago, Msembe school, which is where all
the park Rangers children go, asked me if I could assist them with
some art materials. An international group of vet students and qualified
vets (Envirovets) were to visit the school, and the head teacher wanted
to display artwork, by the standard 7 students (12-13 year olds) depicting
environmental issues and facts in and around Ruaha Park. This was
the perfect time to use the box of materials.
I went down to help the children display the work, the drawings were
large and each with their individual style. I was incredibly impressed
by their achievements, I am sure you will be also. They receive no
art practice at school at all. Beside each drawing are interesting
facts to explain the artwork. The enthusiasm of the boys was tangible.
One boy in particular, so was keen for me to critique his work he
rushed off and brought back another batch of work he had done and
asked me to look at them as well. His eyes were sparkling with excitement
as I commented on his achievements. The photos below depict the 5
boys standing by their respective artworks, these 5 really excelled
themselves. I will follow up with some art lessons for these talented
boys in the future.
We are very grateful to Bessie and Chip for their very kind donation.
Environmental Day June 2011
Trip to Park - November 2011
the Ruaha Conservation Fund newsletter (June 2013)
Makifu Guide Training
Finally, I would like to end this update by telling you how ones efforts can continue by themselves; some years ago, with the help and
expertise of Ben Please we made a short film in Kiswahili, depicting the problems faced by Wild Dogs in the village areas surrounding the Ruaha Park. Dr Dulle interviewed the various stakeholders, hearing their issues, their reasons why Wild dogs were a problem for them, then we interviewed stakeholders inside the park, the Chief Park warden, Park Ecologist, the guides at Jongomero and Mdonya Camp, this was skillfully put together with music from the schools, to form a good overview of the pros and cons. The outcome showing how Wild dogs were indeed beneficial to the people of Tanzania,. Anyway, to our delight ,during the Environmental week in June, the Tanzania Broadcasting company aired this film on National TV. They have continued to show on TV, parts of the film in other environmental programs over the past few weeks. So we are very grateful to all involved for making this happen.
The Park Map that is sold at the Gate, Camps and Lodges has just been reprinted, all money accrued from these sales go directly back into
our village programs.
Thank you all for your support and interest!
Ruaha National Park
PO Box 369
RUAHA CONSERVATION FUND
Registered on the 7th November 2005
Registration No:- 00NGO/0509
Founder:- Dr. Charles Dulle
All of the environmental
programs (and more not mentioned here) require funding, so if you
are interested in assisting us with these valuable programs please
do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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