Balaka Environmental Education Patron Meeting

Extension officer talking about roles of the patron

Patron meeting occurred on 18th July 2022 at Nkhonde TDC, with the aim of teaching patrons on how to run a wildlife club, roles of the wildlife club and raising awareness on conservation of Lilian’s lovebird. The meeting involved patrons from 20 schools of 3 different zones namely: Nkhonde, Ulongwe and Mmanga. These schools were chosen based on their geographical location, only schools that are along Liwonde National Park.

The meeting started at exactly 9:00am with opening remarks from Tamara the Environmental education intern, she gave a brief speech of the aim of the meeting and encouraged the patrons to fully participate.

Mr. Souzalio explaining the WESM background
Mr. Souzalio explaining the WESM background

Mr. Souzalio, the clubs coordinator gave a presentation of WESM background as a membership organization, history of WESM since 1947 from Nyasaland fauna preservation society to present known as Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi, WESM vision, mission and objectives, talked of membership fees for primary and secondary wildlife clubs and the benefits of being a member of WESM such as being given a certificate, newsletters, WESM publications, help organizing visits to national parks and wildlife.

Thereafter, he also made a presentation of how the patrons can run wildlife clubs starting from creating a wildlife club, electing committee members and their duties, forming clubs objectives, general meetings and the kind of activities they can be doing as a wildlife club. Chililitso Kasipa the extension officer from Liwonde National Park gave a brief presentation of the roles of Wildlife Clubs such as restoration of degraded areas, protection of environment, mobilizing resources from micro projects.

Tamara explaining about Lilian's love bird project
Tamara explaining about Lilian’s love bird project

Lastly Tamara presented about the conservation of Lilian’s lovebird project. She talked about importance of birds in general such as plant pollination, control pests, seed dispersal. She gave a brief background of the project, starting from the name Lilian’s love bird, its habitat as a cavity dwelling species and mopane woodlands being its nesting and roosting site, threats of the lovebird like habitat loss, poisoning, illegal trade and diseases. She also talked about how Dr. Tiwonge Gawa came across the dead lovebirds along the waterhole as a result of poisoning, the artificial nest boxes in Liwonde National Park, the Malawi Parrots booklet and how she is going to be visiting wildlife clubs.

the patrons in the meeting
Patrons in the meeting

The meeting addressed its agenda of teaching patrons on how to run a wildlife club, roles of the wildlife club and raising awareness on conservation of Lilian’s lovebird. The audience gave their full attention and participated in the discussions. They agreed to be given 2weeks to create wildlife clubs in their schools and those that already have wildlife clubs have agreed to make the clubs active. WESM has promised to be visiting the clubs to encourage them to be active and have given the patrons an opportunity to call Tamara or Mr. Souzalio for guidance and Chililitso in case they have a micro project in their club.