Great Limpopo Launches Youth Exchange Programme

30 May 2017

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) launched a youth pilot programme in August 2016. The programme will compliment plans for cultural exchanges and more formal training opportunities between the partner countries. The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) Joint Management Board and its implementing agencies in Mozambique (ANAC) and South Africa (SANParks) guided the development of the programme. It is implemented in collaboration with the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation (Laureus).

Twenty young people from communities living in and adjacent to the Limpopo National Park (LNP) in Mozambique spent a week (22-27 August) in the Kruger National Park (KNP) where they engaged in a life-skills and conservation awareness programme at the Skukuza Science Leadership Initiative. This pilot program, further supported by Mobicell and their technology partner MediaTek Inc, forms the first step in the development of a long-term vision for youth interaction and education between the partner countries in the GLTFCA.

The objectives of the youth programme include creating awareness of the value of our natural heritage; promoting the value of conservation; creating awareness of the economic opportunities associated with conservation and promoting the concept of “no borders” for conservation. During the week, sport and hands-on learning activities involved the youngsters, to develop their capabilities and empower them to work towards improving their overall quality of live.

A core focus of the programme was to instil in the young people a steadfast philosophy of “Hlawula Vutomi”, meaning to “choose life” for themselves, their communities, as well as nature’s plants and animals. They undertook game drives and guided walks in the KNP bushveld, where they learned about the interconnectedness of man and nature – understaning that they are part of nature and that they cannot survive without nature. Through participation in various science experiments presented by Skukuza Science Leadership Initiative, and role-model engagement with field rangers, researchers, teachers and youth leaders, the minds of the youth were opened to the opportunities for careers and livelihoods that lie in conservation and natural sciences.

The roll out of the longitudinal programme started in April 2017 with the further support of PPF and Laures. Based on lessons learned during the development of the pilot programme, the longitudinal programme will now ensure the participation of youth in all three GLTFCA partner countries