PROGRAMMES: Malolotja Environmental Education
(Updated March 2008, information from Sandile Gumedze.)
Malolotja Environmental Education Programme was officially opened in 1989, though its operations date back to 1985. The main purpose of the centre is to promote and strengthen environmental education & awareness in the youth of Swaziland.
The centre is situated next to the Malolotja River, which makes it easy and convenient for birds (both terrestrial and aquatic species) enthusiasts. Next to the centre is a natural forest serving as a habitat for both floral and faunal species such as bush pigs and small antelope.
The centre has 6 dormitories for environmental education visiting groups, which accommodates a total of 24visitors and the maximum number of visitors per dormitory is 6people. One dormitory is used by leaders / teachers of the visiting group and caters for 4 people.
Ablution facilities are available at the centre for both genders (male and females) and have warm water heating system using; fuel wood (donkey boiler), electricity geysers, and water solar powered system panels on the roof of the ablution block.
Environmental Education Programme
- Environmental Education visits: The Environmental Education Centre is able to accommodate groups of students and provide environmental education activities for them at a subsidized charge. These visits are the core of the education programme and form the part of the work load. Visiting students participate in the following activities:
- Guided interpretative hikes (Mining, Falls, Potholes, Fauna, Flora)
- Field biology studies
- Discussions of local, regional, and global environmental issues
- Environmental activities
- Simulations with environmental themes
- Participate in improving the reserve by assisting with alien invasive plant control campaigns
- Participation in Clearing of Alien Invasive Plant Species (S. mauritanium)
- Hiking Trail improvements (Indigenous forest at the centre)
- Schools outreach
- The Education officers at the centre visit schools to provide environmental education outreach. This involves conducting environmental activities and discussions with the students, as well presenting displays and videos. Group size tends to limit the nature and effectiveness of the outreach activities.
- The schools outreach activities provide an opportunity to reach large numbers of people, who may otherwise be entirely without any environmental education, and also serves as an opportunity to encourage overnight visits to the centre.
- Workshops and Seminars
- The EEC occasionally organizes and hosts environmental education workshops. The target audience is usually a group of students who attend environmental education visits.
- Workshops are usually directed towards offering teachers with a package of activities that can be brought back into the curriculum of their home schools, or may be directed at regional chiefs, to familiarize them with the causes and effects of environmental degradation.
- Public Information Campaigns
- The EEC staff participates in occasional opportunities to inform the public at large about specific issues. This includes the pursuits as presenting in presenting in environmental fairs and discussing environmental issues on the radio programme.
- Mobile information campaigns directed at specific areas are designed and implemented by the staff, such conducting education to surrounding communities about specific species introduction in the area, in anticipation or discouraging anti-conservation responses.
- Community Outreach Programme: This programme is housed under the Environmental Education Centre and is principally an extension of the education delivered by the environmental education programme. The EEC staff joins and accompanies the Community Outreach Staff whenever possible.
Bookings to the centre are essential and should be made well in advance of the intended visit mainly to secure the desirable dates and allow proper planning by the EEC staff. The correspondence should be sent to the Senior Education Officer, who in turn replies to all requests made by potential visitors to the centre.
The centre provides the environmental education service at a subsidized cost to the Swazi public and international visitors. Groups anticipating a visit are advised to request an up-to-date tariff structure at the centre from the Senior Environment Education Officer.