In cooperation with EcoTraining in South Africa
Young adults from Botswana can apply to the Knyphausen Foundation for a scholarship which lets them go on a one-year training course to become a professional safari guide.
Tourism and diamonds play a large role in the Botswana economy. The country is considered one of the best safari destinations on the planet due to its solid population of wild animals. In contrast to many other countries in the region, Botswana focuses on quality, not quantity when it comes to tourism. Well-trained guides which meet the highest standards are required in order to keep international visitors safe and well-informed as they travel through the country.
The scholarship is provided in the form of a loan which is paid back within 2 to 3 years, sometimes without any interest. The Knyphausen Foundation believes that people’s willingness to repay the loan not only reflects how seriously they take the scholarship, but also maintains their pride and dignity.
The training is provided by EcoTraining, one of the most prestigious providers in southern Africa. EcoTraining has been renowned for the outstanding quality of its programs and trainers for more than 20 years. The challenging theoretical and practical training is provided in a variety of wilderness camps.
EcoTraining is based in South Africa, where it operates three wilderness camps. It also has a training camp in Botswana.
Gecco Investment is a local company based in Maun which separates waste for a number of companies and lodges and brings it to South Africa for recycling. Because Botswana does not currently have any recycling facilities, these trips to the country’s neighbour are unavoidable. However, once the trucks have unloaded their waste, they are filled with the goods which are needed in Maun and the surrounding area as the majority of goods are imported from South Africa.
In cooperation with Gecco Investment
As in several other “Third World” and developing countries, waste disposal is a major challenge for Botswana. The country does not have a functional widescale waste removal system. Animals can frequently be seen feeding from overflowing rubbish bags at the side of the road.
Waste is frequently buried or burned. This not only results in serious air pollution and environmental damage, but also destroys materials which can be recycled or reused.
Together with Joyce Malema, an expert in the local educational scene, the foundation’s founder Theda Gräfin Knyphausen has established partnerships with a number of schools in the region. They provide regular training sessions about waste management and waste prevention at these schools using the network of environmental clubs which already exist there. The clubs are made up of 30 to 40 children between eight and 13 years of age and meet once or twice per week.
The Knyphausen Foundation aims to make children and teachers aware of the issues surrounding waste disposal and provide them with practical solutions.
Training sessions are provided to show how to avoid waste, how it can be used and how to separate it properly instead of burning it. Waste bins are set up on the school grounds, without which it would be impossible to separate the waste. Like most areas in Botswana, the city of Maun does not provide separate waste disposal facilities. The Knyphausen Foundation partners together with the local waste disposal company Gecco Investment, which collects the waste and brings it to South Africa for recycling.
Kids to the Bush
In cooperation with Cameras for Conservation
The foundation’s founder Theda Gräfin Knyphausen takes children and young adults from Botswana into the bush in partnership with Cameras for Conservation.
Maun is in the immediate vicinity of the Okavango Delta, which was named a world heritage site in 2014, as well as the renowned Moremi Game Reserve, and is a hub for the local tourism industry. People travel to Maun from across the world to experience Botswana’s unique flora and fauna, but most of the children in the city have never been out to the bush.
Once a year, around 20 children are taken to the Moremi Game Reserve on their doorstep for a three day safari. They dive into the wilderness for three days, learn from it and come away with a greater understanding of the habitat and its fascinating wildlife. The trip is open to children who have distinguished themselves by showing a particular commitment to and interest in the Waste Management Project. For many children, this will be their first time in direct contact with the breathtaking natural environment which tempts thousands of tourists to Botswana each year. The purpose of this experience is to ignite something in these children so they can begin to be responsible with their environment.
This initiative has recently resulted in an initial exchange programme with the Junior Rangers of the Bavarian Forest National Park. The children exchange video messages as well as posters on different themes, including information about Germany and Botswana, the lynx and the wild dog. Both of these are severely endangered species, and the children want to exchange information about similar problems (in this case poaching) in the northern and southern hemispheres. The next idea is for the children to exchange friendship books and photos of their time at the camps and on safari.
Cameras for Conservation
Cameras for Conservation is a charitable organisation based in Maun, which provides a platform for photographers and artists in Botswana to present their work at an annual exhibition. It also uses expressive images of flora and fauna to make schoolchildren aware of their native land.