African Bush Camps Foundation’s goal is to partner with rural communities located in vulnerable wildlife areas to improve their quality of life and achieve long-term conservation through programs focusing on education, community empowerment, conservation and community infrastructure. By directly linking these benefits to tourism, these communities learn to positively value and avail themselves of wildlife and nature as resources readily available to them. In line with our objectives of supporting such vulnerable communities, we have partnered with Umtshibi Camp within the Hwange National Park to help address some of their development challenges.
Umtshibi Camp is situated about 15 km away from Main Camp inside the Hwange National Park. The camp houses the headquarters of the parks wildlife management unit. There are currently close to 50 families living at Umtshibi camp representing a total population of approximately 100 people including young children. Because of having a high number of children, the Umtshibi community has set out a preschool in the camp where the younger children can access pre-school education. If this is not provided, they normally just stay at home since the closest school, Main Camp Primary, is too far away for the younger kids (under 6 years old) to spend a whole day away from their families. The school pupils from Umtshibi that are currently enrolled at Main Camp Primary School are transported approximately 30km to and from school daily by a parks tractor which is unsuitable for the younger children. The Umtshibi Camp pre-school which currently has a total enrollment of 14 pupils and a community supported Early Childhood Development (ECD) teacher, with classes being held in an old building provided by the park authorities, required that an ECD toilet be put in place.
The old toilet blocks needed to be upgraded
The Umtshibi Camp community is critical as it is mainly made up of Hwange National Park staff and their families thus ensuring that the school is well equipped and the community vibrant which allows the Park teams to fully focus on their core work of conserving and protecting the environment and particularly protecting the wildlife in the park and maximizing tourist revenue.
Upgrades being done to the toilet
Benefits of this upgrade include:
1. Improvement in the quality of education by ensuring a safe and conducive learning environment through the construction of the ECD toilet and hand washing area
2. Provision of a safe and conducive learning environment to the pupils, that is hygienic and will prevent spread of diseases
3. Improved infrastructure standards will encourage more students to enrol. It is hoped that this will also help develop a positive attitude between the teachers, school children and the parents or guardians
4. Furthermore, it is anticipated to improve the retention of teachers and thus enhance continuity of the learning process at the school
The community at Umtshibi is critical as it is mainly made up of Hwange National Park staff and their families, thus ensuring that the school is well equipped and the community vibrant allows the park teams to fully focus on their core work of conserving and protecting the environment, particularly safeguarding the wildlife in the park.
The newly renovated toilets for the pre-school children, complete with a flashing systems, child size toilet seats and urinary. All the toilets have been nicely tiled and fitted with handwashing facilities.