The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) headquarters for the North Luangwa Conservation Programme and the two surrounding Game Management Areas (GMA) is at Mano Camp. This camp is in a very remote part of the Mpika District in the Mukungule Chiefdom, and the closest Government school is at a distance of 12 kilometres. Save the Rhino International are currently working to raise funds to enable the construction of two dormitory blocks, which would allow Mano Community School to stay open and also increase its intake, by accepting Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) scouts‚Äô children from further afield, and therefore qualify for continued government support and enable improved education provision for additional pupils.
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Some of the associated outlying scout base camps are even more remote, up to 50 kilometres away from the closest Government school. Mano Community School was originally set up by the scouts, so that their children would be able to access education. The school is attended by more than 150 pupils up to grade 7, who are dependants of ZAWA scouts from Mano Camp and other camps, as well as children from surrounding villages. However, Mano Community School struggles to maintain pupil numbers. This is due mainly to two critical factors, as follows: ‚Ä¢ Children from outlying camps currently have to board with families of fellow wildlife police officers in Mano Camp as the school has no boarding facility ‚Ä¢ Parents are unable through poor infrastructure (i.e. roads and bridges) to send their children the large distances to school from outlying areas At present, the Zambian government pays for basic running costs and the teachers‚Äô salaries. However, the government has just advised that unless the school increases its intake to 200 pupils, it will withdraw support, forcing the school to close. The school has drawn up a list of those children that would like to attend, but who would require boarding: there are 37 at least in total at present. If the school closes, we foresee the following problems: ‚Ä¢ Increased turnover of ZAWA scouts, because of distance from their families, leading to reduced Park security ‚Ä¢ Uneducated children, who may turn to poaching when they grow up if they are unable to find legal, sustainable, profitable employment If we are able to keep the school open and provide facilities to enable additional pupils to attend, the benefits would be: In the short-term: ‚Ä¢ ZAWA scouts‚Äô families are able to send their children to school (200 children). Their only alternatives are to live near enough to a village school for a daily commute, or to find a school that has boarding accommodation, or not to send their children to school at all ‚Ä¢ Better living and working conditions for ZAWA scouts improves morale and reduces staff turnover or requests for transfers to ‚Äúsofter‚Äù posts ‚Ä¢ Increased links between NLCP and local schoolchildren, and by message multiplying to their families and extended communities ‚Ä¢ Increased understanding by the communities, especially those of schoolchildren and their teachers, of the environment and their relationship with it ‚Ä¢ Increased appreciation of the environment and conservation In the long-term: ‚Ä¢ Increased proportion of the next generation understanding about the importance of conservation issues ‚Ä¢ Continuity of employment leads to better intelligence regarding potential poachers ‚Ä¢ Increased security for the NLNP as a whole, and for NLCP‚Äôs black rhino reintroduction project in particular ‚Ä¢ Improved environment at ecosystem level ‚Ä¢ Increased wildlife in conservation areas ‚Ä¢ Endangered species conservation strategies supported
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