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Sustainable Wildlife Management project empowers youths through environmental education


Facilitators from across Rupununi at a Citizen Science Curriculum workshop (Photo credit: Neal Millar)

The Sustainable Wildlife Management initiative has made strides in environmental education with an innovative approach to learning that Country Coordinator Oswin David hopes to have applied in schools across Guyana.


The Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) project in Guyana aims to achieve conservation and sustainable management of wildlife and promoting livelihoods aligned with local aspirations across the Rupununi.


The Citizen Science environmental education curriculum aims at inspiring and empowering the youth of the Rupununi to build them up as confident and skilled environmental leaders of the future.


Students from Moco Moco Village Environmental Education Programme (Photo: South Rupununi Conservation Society)

480 youths from 12 communities have so far participated in environmental education classes and 31 teachers have been trained to deliver the curriculum (19 women and 12 men).


SWM Country Coordinator Oswin David says this curriculum goes hand in hand with the South Rupununi Conservation Society’s wildlife clubs, which targets youths ages 7 to 19.


“They concentrate mostly on camera trapping, bird watching […] as well as training in public speaking.”


Surama Junior Wildlife Club on a visit to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkaway (Photo credit: Neil Allicock )

Traditional knowledge classes, to teach traditional skills to the younger generation, continued in 12 communities targeting about 360 youths and adults.


In North Rupununi, wildlife clubs operate in six villages (Fair View, Surama, Wowetta, Rewa, Kwaimatta and Yupukari).


He says this curriculum has become popular across the Rupununi because of its ‘open classroom’ approach that allows children to learn through interacting with the environment around them.


“We are trying to work with the Ministry of Education to see if they can try to use our curriculum in regions outside of Region Nine. We try to work with other regions too, for instance Region One has already started reaching out to try and replicate what SWM has been doing in Region Nine.”


With the knowledge and skills gained from this curriculum they will become key players in creating positive change and influencing wildlife conservation within their communities.


David emphasised on the need for learning to be adjusted to the local environment and culture.


“The education system plays a very critical role in our programme because it teaches about sustainability, the importance of the environment and the importance of the Rupununi. If you look at the education system in Guyana, if you look at learning about wildlife or animals, basically you’ll see in the books about elephants or giraffes or zebra which you don’t find in Guyana. What we did is change that concept to show animals that are found in the Rupununi.”


A young Wildlife Club member showing few pics of Surama birds (Photo Credit: NRDDB/S. James)

The activities of the SWM Programme in Guyana is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), which is funded by the European Union with co-funding from the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) and the French Development Agency (AFD).

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