This project aims at connecting youths (18-35yrs), who constitute a larger proportion of the world`s population, to nature through birds. Participants in the youth club are drawn from schools, community based organisations and institutions of higher education.
The objectives for this initiative include improving environmental awareness among youths and setting a platform for opportunities in sustainable livelihood options among the unemployed youths in the high density suburbs of Harare. The need for these interventions arise from the realisation that consumerised societies increasingly distance young people, mostly in urban areas, from the environmental impacts of their consumption. This subsequently acts as an impediment to environmental awareness. Furthermore high unemployment rates are forcing young members from urban societies to resort to unsustainable livelihood practices such as wetland cultivation and excessive cutting down of trees.
The expected outcome of this initiative is a generation of young people who are well informed in topical environmental and general issues. Project aims for groups of self sustaining youths that are productive members of society and are active in local environment and biodiversity conservation. Reconciliation of modern and indigenous knowledge systems is also an important target for this project.
Progress made with the project this far include secured contacts with Green Africa Network of Chitungwiza, Two by two waste Management Trust (Epworth) and Dzivarasekwa Community Conservation Trust of Dzivarasekwa suburb. These three organisations are all community-based in high density suburbs of the capital Harare. Oasis College has also been contacted and taken on a tour of wetland site, Monavale Vlei, in Harare.
Youths have assisted in waterfowl counts since July 2013. January 2014 waterfowl counts saw eight youth members participating in nine sites. A group also youths assisted in a net-clearing exercise on the shores of Lake Chivero on 7 Nov 2013 (abandoned fishing nets are causing increasing bird mortalities at both Lake Chivero and Lake Manyame). Smaller groups of youth members have been taken on BirdLife Zimbabwe traditional outings to Ewanrigg Botanical Garden and Monavale Vlei. A tour of the bird park was carried out at Kuimba shiri.
A whatssapp platform has been set up for general environmental interactions using birds as indicators for ecosystems change. The feedback is encouraging though the group has just begun. One of our youth members is designing a blog site, a tool which is meant to enhance public interaction with Birdlife Zimbabwe.
For more information please contact Innocent Magunje at email@example.com.