Accommodation: TEV Members receive the volunteer discount at Croc Valley
Background to Project Luangwa: Project Luangwa is an NGO that focuses on access to, and the quality of, education for the youth of the Mfuwe region in Eastern Zambia. The organisation is largely funded by a levy added to the price of a night’s accommodation at a number of local lodges that participate in the project. South Luangwa National Park is one of Africa’s most beautiful (and well stocked) parks, attracting the thousands of tourists into the region every year that support the tourism industry around which the town of Mfuwe is built. Initially, funds raised went towards the conservation and anti-poaching efforts in the park. The lodges’ were mainly concerned with poaching. After all, if there is no game, there will be no tourists. However, over the years they realised that conservation and community go hand in hand – in order to reduce poaching, they need to increase the standard of living for the local community, to give them the means to earn an income and not to be dependent on poaching. And the best way for the community to develop is for everyone to have access to a quality education. And so, Project Luangwa was born.
When we hear that school attendance in an area is low, often times we assume it is due to a lack of classrooms or teachers. In Mfuwe this is often the case, but there are many other reasons preventing a child from going to school. Perhaps the child is needed to help with farming or looking after younger siblings, perhaps the child is a girl and has met with challenges preventing her from going to school such as teenage pregnancy or early marriage. Or maybe she is a teenage girl who misses one week of school every month when she is menstruating as cannot afford sanitary protection.
Project Luangwa takes a holistic approach to education and assesses all the factors resulting in poor school attendance. They work with over 20 schools in the area, but their approach varies according to the specific challenges of the school. As such, there is no defined “project” but a series of on-going activities that vary according to the needs of the schools at any given time. Volunteers should contact PL for more information on current opportunities, but below is a guideline to activities carried out by the organisation.
Current projects & Volunteer Opportunities:
- For immediate needs see attached PDF
- Teacher Training: PL are looking for qualified and experienced teachers to assist with training local teachers.
- Extra-Curricular Reading: Due to low literacy levels, PL are carrying out reading groups in the primary schools. Volunteers manage interactive reading sessions with small groups.
- iSchool – A new project for Project Luangwa is iSchool, an interactive education system. See iSchool’s website to see more. Project Luangwa is looking for volunteer teachers to set this up in schools and work with local teachers.
- Admin: PL has a massive amount of office based work, in particular help is needed for the three months of January to March when pupils apply for support through sponsorship. This work involves interviewing the kids and helping them complete forms along with cataloguing their details to Excel and writing to sponsors.
- Entrepreneurial & Sewing Skills: Project Luangwa are looking for entrepreneurial volunteers with simple sewing skills for a project developing washable sanitary pads. This is a 2 part project which aims to teach local ladies to sew as well as set up one or two small businesses making the pads. This will naturally continue into teaching ladies in the remote areas how to make their own pads from materials that can be found locally .
- Poetry/Drama: PL have formed the first of their Girls’ Clubs at the local secondary school. Many of the members of the group have been victims of sexual abuse and assaults and all have been affected by the discrimination of girls with regards to education. The club serves as a safe space for the girls to discuss the issues and challenges they face and as a platform to communicate with others and change local attitudes towards issues such as early marriage, rape and the role of women. Project Luangwa needs a volunteer to help the girls who have shown an interest in writing and performing their own drama. They want to develop plays to take to other schools in order to help girls in similar situations.
- Kids in the Wild: They may live beside one of the best National Parks in Eastern and Southern Africa but many of the children have never seen a giraffe (most have seen elephants however, as they often wander down the main street). With the Kids in the Wild program, Project Luangwa sends 25 children every year on a luxury safari, putting them up in one of the best lodges in the area (sponsored by the Elephant Charge – a 4 x 4 fundraising event held in Lusaka). During their time at the lodge they are treated like international guests and are taken on game drives, can swim in the pool or relax in the open air hot tub. PL needsw volunteers to fill the terrible role of having to chaperone the children for their 5 day safari. Sounds awful. This event takes place in the low season usually during December or January.
Requirements: When we first approached PL they were hesitant. Karen and Dave who run Project Luangwa are extremely busy and so need volunteers who are resourceful, adaptable and have a thick skin. There’s always a lot to do and volunteers are expected to be proactive.
Accommodation: Volunteers will stay in the fantastically beautiful setting of Croc Valley Lodge, located along the river that acts as a natural boundary to the neighbouring South Luangwa Park
Getting Around: Some transport will be provided by the project as it is not advisable to walk between the lodge and the town due to the high concentration of animals wandering around the lodge! (Not only do elephants wander into the camp but they pass metres away from the bar or grab food from a campers table! But don’t worry, you are safe in the lodge where the animals expect to find people).
Phone number: Office -00260 (0) 216 246 265;
Cell: 00260 (0) 974250153 or 00260 (0) 966861161
Skype ID: projectluangwa
Contact PL to apply for current volunteer opportunities
Girls' Club Performance
Interactive Reading Sessions
View from the PL office
Location of Mfuwe