Serengeti — YOUTHS living in villages surrounding Singita Grumeti Reserve are benefiting through acquiring more knowledge on conservation and consequences of poaching through short courses provided by investors.
An institute, established in the area comprising two dormitories and a classroom, receives a total of 12 students and two teachers from different secondary schools in Mara Region, at a time, who are taught the importance of conservation, bee keeping, use of solar as alternative energy and anti poaching.
The weekly short courses are targeted at involving local communities in conservation of natural resources and to assist the fight against poaching. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, who was in the region to inspect community development projects being implemented by Singita Grumeti Reserve, was so impressed by the move taken by the organisation, noting that he will impress upon other investors in the sector to emulate the good example.
"This is a fantastic idea, this way you will be moulding them from a tender age, to grow up understanding the importance of conservation and shun poaching," he explained. He suggested that a similar programme should be arranged for politicians and local leaders so they can also understand the importance of conservation and community programmes being implemented by the investor which will enlarge the scope of understanding.
"I think you could also have local leaders and politicians spend a day or two at the institute and be educated. It is costly but it will definitely have an impact and it will be good for the government as well," he explained.
The Singita Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Luke Bailes, said the move to educate the youngsters on the importance of conservation and anti poaching will make people to think differently about conservation.
The Singita Grumeti Reserves' Community Outreach Coordinator, Mr Richard Ndaskoi, said they plan to bring in local leaders for similar training in the second phase of the programme. The minister had the opportunity to tour the two dormitories; each houses six students complete with furniture and bedding.