The Chilojo Club is our flagship community engagement project. It is a joint initiative by the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, the African Wildlife Conservation Fund, and the WILD Programme. It embraces a growing number of initiatives that include conservation education, mitigation of human-wildlife conflict and general outreach in the communities that live alongside Gonarezhou National Park.
The objectives of the Chilojo Club are to:
- Engage positively with communities around Gonarezhou on issues of human-wildlife conflict (HWC), and to facilitate sustainable mitigation measures.
- Continue and expand schools-based conservation education to instil deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, wildlife and the environment in the local youth.
- Work to engage communities in conservation through various programs and activities, including formation of community conservancies, introduction of holistic resource management and conservation friendly agriculture practices
- Investigate additional opportunities and to partner with other stakeholders at local and trans-boundary level to further the objectives of the Great Limopo Transfrontier Conservation Area.
- Promote connectivity and partnerships between Gonarezhou and neighbouring communities and wildlife areas.
Our Chilojo Club education programme targets children in 44 primary schools and 17 secondary schools within a 15 km radius of Gonarezhou National Park. It sensitises children to wildlife issues and contributes to literacy and basic education.
We help to address basic literacy by developing school libraries and tracking improvements in reading skills. We encourage an interest and appreciation of the surrounding wilderness areas through school workshops, local fairs and sponsorship of school trips to the Park.
All of our school projects are closely monitored to track the usefulness of our interventions and to ensure resources are well used and well maintained.