As part of The Bushcamp Company’s commitment to the wildlife and people of the South Luangwa, we work closely with the expanding local community and with conservation organisations to develop projects that help conserve precious resources, support education and generate a sustainable source of income to those who live around the park.
In 1999, The Bushcamp Company started providing much-needed help to two local schools; Chiwawatala Middle Basic School, in Mfuwe Village and Chilongozi Middle Basic School, in a remote area close to our bushcamps. Since our support began, the development and progress of these schools has been remarkable. With generous donations, we have been able to sponsor pupils, pay teachers’ salaries, build classrooms and staff houses, provide access to clean water and take the school children into the park on game drives. In 2010 The Bushcamp Company, embarked on a long term joint project to improve the infrastructure of the only secondary school in area, Mfuwe Day Secondary School, which had been borrowing classrooms from an adjoining primary school. To date we have raised funds to build six classrooms and offices, three dormitories and adjacent ablution blocks, social areas for both boys and girls, and refurbished an existing girls' dormitory. In the latter half of 2013 we have concentrated efforts on improving the educational opportunities for girls...under the heading of "girl empowerment".
Through our own registered charity, we currently sponsor over 300 local school children. We also support other community projects that focus on reducing deforestation. We encourage tree planting and we are helping run food-security, eco-initiative workshops and vegetable market-gardens in Mfuwe, and support solar cooker and ‘rocket’ stove projects. We recently initiated the drilling of 15 deep boreholes to provide clean drinking water in local villages. We run programmes on HIV and AIDS awareness for our staff and we also support a local theatre group, which perform plays to our guests about human-wildlife conflict. We fund-raise and provide logistical support to several conservation organisations that aim to tackle the threats posed to wildlife; supporting the South Luangwa Conservation Society, Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Zambia Wildlife Authority. In recent years we have also tried to make our operation as ‘green’ as possible, introducing solar technology throughout our properties.
For many years several of the safari operators in the Luangwa Valley had been working with the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) and the North Luangwa Conservation Project (NLCP) to ensure that conservation efforts continued, and also ran individual educational and conservation programmes in the community. In 2009, to ensure the long-term future of these essential projects The Bushcamp Company, initiated and along with several of the other Luangwa safari operators, introduced to our rates a donation of $10 per person, per night to our “Luangwa Conservation & Community Fund”. The funds are split evenly between conservation and community projects. We believe that our guests will enjoy their safari with us even more knowing that they have contributed directly to ensuring the ongoing survival of the Luangwa’s wildlife and environment, as well as the development of its community.
"Commit to Clean Water"
Each year we try to identify and introduce new community projects. Our aim is always to improve the lives of the local people in the Mfuwe area, so in 2014 we embarked upon an ambitious project to provide safe, clean water to villages in the local community. We have called this new initiative "Commit to Clean Water"...
The "Commit to Clean Water" Fund.
Most of us take it very much for granted that, with the simple act of turning on a tap, clean, safe water will always be available... Whenever we feel thirsty, or need to bathe, or even water our gardens...it requires little thought or effort... But we are the lucky ones...around half of the world's population lacks this most basic of life's necessities...
The Further Education Project "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch a fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Over the past few years our primary and secondary sponsorship programme has increased from 100 pupils to over 350.
It is exciting to have reached a time when many of our sponsored pupils have successfully passed their final school exams and are ready to venture out into the adult world. However, this comes with its own new set of challenges, particularly in getting these young adults to college or trade school so that they can become formally qualified and employable?
Our "Charity Begins at Home" has recognised that, in spite of their many personal difficulties, hard working pupils should be given the chance to fulfill their educational dreams. We have been focusing our efforts on raising the funds to support them through some form of higher education. The benefits of providing 'further education' to trade schools, college and university's are numerous!
It greatly increases chances of employment. It improves essential 'Life Skills'. It gives increased hope and pride. It helps to provide financial security for the family.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of all, is that it provides an investment in the future of the region. Many of the sponsored, students are training in careers that will bring them back to the region as teachers, health care workers, or in other skilled positions. Zambia has a severe shortage of skilled workers, so by helping these students prepare for careers, we are also improving the overall situation of the region.
When 'Charity Begins at Home' commits to support a student through college we first ensure that there is personal determination and dedication to succeed and that, financially, we have the funds to support the student throughout the whole course. This generally includes course fees, accommodation, food allowance and transport.
We have now introduced a "Further Education Fund" where supporters can donate, and therefore make a difference, to a student's life, even if they cannot fund 100% of the college costs themselves. When we have sufficient accumulated funds for a student to attend their course for the whole duration, we will take on the sponsorship, and ensure that students have sufficient funds to complete the whole course.
Zambia’s Luangwa Valley is the country’s premiere destination for wildlife-based tourism, like virtually everywhere on the planet it is threatened by an multitude of problems, including poaching, rapidly growing human economies, lack of adequate information on wildlife species and a lack of training, education and employment opportunities for local people who are ultimately responsible for conserving their wildlife resources. In a time of pressing environmental and social problems, responsible, wildlife-based tourism is of paramount importance for the ecosystems, wildlife and local communities that depend on them. During the 1970's and 1980's Zambia lost the majority of it's elephant population and all of it's rhino to poaching. However to date, the elephant population has started increasing as a result of increased and improved law enforcement. Despite being one of the most wildlife-rich areas remaining in Africa, its natural heritage is under threat from poaching and other illegal activities. To help combat these serious threats to the Luangwa’s wildlife The Bushcamp Company is a proud supporter of three local wildlife organisations - The South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS), the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) and the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) - that work together on various conservation efforts to address these issues and conserve the Valley’s wildlife. We recently substantially increased our support for these organizations by providing a light aircraft for aerial anti-poaching and reasearch activities. In 2013 a substantial donation was made to protect surrounding Game Management areas after a national hunting ban.
The rapidly growing community around the South Luangwa National Park has to live with wild animals on its doorstep. Sometimes this co-existence is a real challenge and can even be life threatening. We believe that it is vital for the survival of the Luangwa’s wildlife that local people benefit from this wonderful resource and do not suffer through this co-existence . Since its inception the Bushcamp Company has been committed to ensuring that the community around the park has a reason to conserve it. We feel that education is the key to a successful future and so now provide much-needed help to three local schools. With generous donations we have been able to pay teachers’ salaries, build classrooms and staff houses, provide access to clean water and take the school children into the park on game drives. Through our own Charity Begins at Home programme and with support from guests and other charities, we also currently sponsor over 300 school children. As well as providing long-tern support for the Kakumbi Community Clinic, we also work with Conservation Science Africa (CSA) to implement an eco-initiative to enhance the living standards and conditions of the communities in the area. CSA runs capacity building workshops and offers technical and educational support on livelihood and agricultural methods. We also support other community projects that focus on reducing deforestation and encourage tree planting and vegetable market-gardens in Mfuwe, as well as looking at alternatives to fire wood use - supporting solar cooker and ‘rocket’ stove projects. We also support a local theatre group, which perform plays to our guests about human-wildlife conflict. Our local staff are our most important asset, many of them have worked for the company for over 20 years. We train them to be the best that they can be and encourage them to progress and develop their skills and responsibility. Our staff and their families are entitled to assistance with medical costs and we also run a scheme that pays for one of their children to attend school. We also run programmes on HIV and AIDS awareness for our staff. The Bushcamp Company played an integral role in setting up the Luangwa Conservation & Community Fund (LCCF) in 2009; the fund helps provide vital funding for many of these community projects.
We are extremely fortunate to work with some exceptionally dedicated, resourceful and ambitious organisations and individuals who share our long-term commitment to the future of Luangwa's wildlife and it's people.
All of our guests help support our projects through contributions to the Luangwa Conservation & Community Fund, but if you would like to offer further support, here are some suggestions of how else you can help.
Bringing Gifts for Student Prizes
If you are coming on safari with us, and you have space left in your suitcase, you might want to bring out a few small items with you to donate. We use these gifts as motivational prizes at the end of each term for the teachers to award to the top performing students at Chiwawatala Middle Basic School; ideal donations include:
If you would like to help the people and wildlife of the South Luangwa you can tranfer donations to The Bushcamp Company’s Conservation & Community fund at the following account:
CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME
US Dollar Account No: 1598090500192
Swift Code: ZNCOZMLU
Bank: Zambia National Commercial Bank
Bank Address: Mfuwe International Airport, P.O.Box 87, Mfuwe, Zambia
Below are some examples of how that money can be used: