Classroom Africa is an initiative of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) that provides enhanced primary education for communities that commit to conservation in AWF’s priority landscapes. By investing in rural primary schools, Classroom Africa is increasing the tangible value of community land for rural communities that take up sound conservation practices, which in turn are receiving improved educational outcomes.
The vision of Classroom Africa is to promote conservation in Africa by building a network of quality primary schools for communities living in key wildlife areas. The program does this by investing capital to build or renovate government primary schools, in exchange for a specific conservation commitment regarding their land or its management. Classroom Africa continues to provide support through professional development for teachers, appropriate technology, conservation education and maintenance of physical facilities. Strategic partnerships with national ministries of education support and complement the ministry’s efforts, curricula and priorities in schools; therefore Classroom Africa does not own or operate schools or have teachers and principals in its direct employ. The program is run with financial and in kind support from private donors and a wide range of local and international partners.
At the end of 2015, Classroom Africa had six schools located throughout Zambia, Tanzania, DRC, Uganda and Ethiopia. Three schools in Zambia, Tanzania and DRC are fully operational, the others are in different stages of design and construction. Each of these schools has a unique story that demonstrates the commitment of local communities, private donors and local partners to develop local centers of educational excellence.
Lupani Community School, southern Zambia
In 2011, the Sekute community in Kazungula, Zambia agreed to set aside 20, 000 hectares of land as a community conservancy. In exchange, AWF rebuilt the Lupani Community School in 2011 to include two modern classroom blocks (six classrooms), teachers’ accommodation, improved sanitation facilities and solar power to allow for adult literacy classes in the evening. In November 2015, Classroom Africa completed construction of an expansion to the school, which added a grade 7 classroom, library, administrative offices, additional solar power and improved landscaping to the existing campus.
Beyond the physical structure, Classroom Africa is committed to improving the quality of education at all program-supported schools by working with local and international partners. At Lupani, Classroom Africa collaborates with Sifunda to provide continuing professional development for the school’s staff. Partnerships with Bushtracks Africa and Children in the Wilderness enrich the quality of the experience of students and teachers through the implementation of a conservation education program.
Lupani’s rich co-curricular program for conservation education includes an eco-club, teacher sensitization on environmental education, annual conservation camps, and conservation awareness programs for communities. Students participate in field trips to nearby protected areas. In addition, ZeduPads were recently purchased for students at Lupani. The Zedupad is a tablet computer pre-loaded with the Zambian primary school curriculum in eight local languages. The tablets will expose students to technology at an early age while promoting peer- and self-learning. Moreover, teachers receive training and regular support to ease their transition to the new technology.
Since it’s opening in 2011, enrollment at Lupani has tripled, test scores have greatly improved and the new facilities have attracted better qualified teachers to the school ensuring that both students and adults receive higher quality education. The Lupani Community School stands as an example of how sound conservation practices can provide tangible benefits for local communities.
For more information:
AWF Conservation Center,
Ngong Road, Karen
P.O.Box 310, 00502
1400 Sixteenth St. NW, Suite 120
Washington, DC 20036