The Botswana Predator Conservation Trust (BPCT), the longest running conservation research projects in Africa, this week pleaded with monied guys who love nature to come on board and support Coaching for Conservation, its flagship project, as they mull over ideas to take the project to other parts of the country.
At the moment, the trust conducts the camp in Maun only because it is where it is needed mostly and ‘where it makes sense’ according to Lesley Boggs, BPCT Director. It is largely supported by Investec, a local asset management company.
“The issue is where it is needed and where it makes sense. It started here and it is wildlife roots,” Boggs told Sunday Standard.
“But, it is replicable. You can change the programme. You can take it to East Africa and talk about yala and North America and talk about wolfs”.
The challenges facing Coaching for Conservation programme at the moment is funds and human resources, said Boggs.
However, she admitted that people are ‘calling’ and said if the programme is spread to other parts of the country, sponsors like Investec will be happy.
If they get more funding support, BPCT said it should be able to finish and publish the curriculum. At the moment, the curriculum is ready to be taken anywhere. “We are at a point where we are ready to take it anywhere,” added Boggs.
“We will like to have a major donor,” she added saying other avenues will be to apply for the alcohol levy as they have been advised by one government official. Bogg said they have never had sponsorship from government, but hoped if they applied for the alcohol levy fund, the application could be endorsed by sports department.
“We have been running on a shoe string budget for many years,” Boggs added, saying they get most of their funding from outside the country.
Their multi million Pula research lab was funded by external sponsorship from Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, one of its partners.
Coaching for Conservation is the primary social development program of the BPCT focused on primary school children.
Its goal is to make sport synonymous with healthy lifestyles by linking messages of conservation to the already popular pastime of football. The core message is Respect Your Self, Respect Each Other, and Respect Your Environment.
So far, over 3000 school kids have benefited from the curriculum and Boggs said the attitude of children has changed since they went through the programme.
Each year, BPCT conducts one big camp that teaches primary school students from Maun about conservation issues. This year alone, with support from companies like Investec Asset Management Botswana 22, 000 pounds (about P230, 000) was spent on the camp held this week.
BPCT also launched Coaching for Conservation centre that will host after school programme that could cost about P1 million to run every year.
Managing Director of Investec Asset Management Botswana, Martinus Seboni, said, as a global investment manager with African roots, they believe in investing in the future of the continent, its children and its environment.
“The message of a changing Africa is slowly reaching the developed world. This initiative will spotlight how investment in the continent’s community, its people and its environment can all play their role in securing a positive and lasting legacy,” he said.