The success and value of non-formal education for sustainable development : the case of children in the Wilderness Eco-Club Programme in the Zambezi region, Southern Africa : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Environmental Management at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
Education for sustainable development (ESD) has emerged strongly in recent years to become a key mechanism for moving towards a more sustainable future. The aim of this study is to gauge the success and value of non-formal ESD using a case study approach. Children in the Wilderness (CITW), a subsidiary organisation of ecotourism operator Wilderness Safaris, offers an extracurricular ESD programme for primary school children, and their Zambezi Region operation was selected as the case study site. A qualitative research approach was taken for this study, employing data collection methods such as interviews, focus groups, observation, and the examination of national policy documents and the CITW eco-club curriculum. The CITW eco-club programme responds to UNESCO’s (2005) characteristics for ESD, particularly regarding the establishment of relationships with the wider community, and a multi-method, learner-centred approach to teaching. While the national governments in Zambia and Zimbabwe aim to respond more strongly to UNESCO’s characteristics, they are constrained by limited human and financial capital resources. The eco-club programme, however, complements the formal sector by providing teacher training and resources, demonstrating the value of the programme in providing students with a more enriching learning experience. This study concludes that the non-formal education sector provides significant support to the formal education system, leading to improved vertical integration between international guidelines and implementation at a local level. The eco-club programme enables CITW to achieve its aim and vision by focusing on prevalent issues such as poverty, deforestation, poaching, and pollution. While the scope of the research and the limited time spent in the field did not allow for a detailed examination of the eco-club programme’s influence on proenvironmental behaviour, it became clear that some pro-environmental behaviour has occurred as a result of the programme.
Sustainable development, Study and teaching, Activity programs, Environmental education, Africa, Southern, Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education