Children and young people are regularly taught about specific environmental protection topics in educational units both at schools and in a nearby wildlife park in Maun - directly in the nature. The focus is on the head, heart and hand principle, which combines education with joy and the practical experience of community in nature.
For the first time in their lives, most of the participating children and young people experience the local fauna and flora and deal intensively with issues of animal and environmental protection. During nature camps lasting several days, which are offered regularly, the Junior Rangers experience community and exciting activities in nature and deepen their knowledge there.
Participation in the program is free of charge, so that it is also possible for children from socially disadvantaged families.
An internal anonymous survey has shown that over 80% of the children participating in the Junior Ranger-program come from disadvantaged families.
The Junior Ranger-program is very popular with children and young people. The program started in April 2017 with 36 children. There are now 125 participants from 9 local schools.
In the medium term, the aim is to integrate more schools from Maun into the program and thus make participation possible for more children. The Knyphausen Foundation regularly finances "Train the Trainer Courses" as well as project-accompanying workshops to strengthen the local project managers of the partner organisation in their work with children.
The Junior Rangers meet weekly with the young trainers of the partner organisation. They plant trees and vegetables, learn about the complex interrelationships of biodiversity and animal welfare, introduce waste separation at their school or learn all about the important resource of water. The regular educational sessions and activities for the Junior Rangers make the environmental education project special in Maun.
The children and young people are thus provided with the necessary technical, social and design skills in the areas of environmental protection and sustainability that will enable them to participate in shaping the future in the long term, according to the motto: "People only protect what they know and appreciate".
The Knyphausen Foundation produces educational material on nature-specific topics, which serves as a practical reference work for the children and young people of the program during the educational units in the park. Booklets on the subject of „Plants, Birds and Animals around us" have already been published in an age-appropriate design and in handy pocket format. Educational material for children on environmentally relevant topics is not yet available in Botswana in this kind of form and quality. The aim of the Knyphausen Foundation is to develop a series of such booklets in a similar format and design on further environmental and country-specific topics (culture and landscape).
Meanwhile there is an exchange of content between the young environmentalists in Maun and the Junior Ranger groups in Germany. In the future one would like to support the meeting of the children in the north and south by common environmental protection projects.
All educational events and camps within the Junior Ranger-program are organized and carried out in cooperation with the local association Future Explorers Youth Society (FEYS).
The FEYS association was founded at the end of 2015. The FEYS team has been organising voluntary projects for children and young people in Maun and the surrounding area since 2007. Gosegonna Pretty Rabosigo is the project coordinator. She is supported by a team of young volunteers and older Junior Rangers in the environmental projects. The association's goals include the promotion of educational work with children and young people as well as the protection and sustainable development of the region's natural and cultural heritage. Cooperation between the Knyphausen Foundation and FEYS has existed since the beginning of the year 2017.