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Classroom to Classroom – Creating Global Citizens

By | News

The Happy Africa Foundation is so excited to kick off our new partnership project: Classroom to Classroom.

Schools around the world are pairing up with classrooms at Zambezi Sawmills School in Livingstone, Zambia through a PenPal relationship with Three Trails Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri.

The students in Missouri have received their PenPals, completed the first Classroom to Classroom activity and started writing to their new buddies.

We are all so thrilled to watch relationships form and students to learn what it means to become global citizens!!

 

GAPA Goes on the Red Buses!

By | News

 

The morning of October 5 marked the commencement of the second extracurricular enrichment trip with Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids  (GAPA) of the year. Since 2014, the Happy Africa Foundation has worked alongside the grannies at GAPA to provide children who attend their after school program with educational and enriching field trips. These fun outings are held twice yearly, and give the children involved unique opportunities that they would likely not get otherwise to learn about Cape Town. With the help of African Impact volunteers, THAF crafted a day dedicated to giving the GAPA children a chance to experience their city and all of its most notable landmarks through an open top Red Bus Tour!

As the children arrived, groups assembled into fun activities led by African Impact volunteers. From face paint to ‘Buddies Up,’ the children enjoyed a wide variety of games. They even learned a bit about the landmarks they would see, as African Impact volunteers made an effort to change activities so that they would align with the sightings on the Red Bus Tour. ‘What’s the time Mr. Wolf’ was changed to ‘What’s the time Mr Clock Tower’ and ‘Duck, Duck, Goose!’ was tweaked to be ‘Red, Red, Bus!’

After lunch and activities, GAPA kids, grannies, and volunteers filed onto three Red Buses. Children received informational headphones and fun activity sheets which they took a particular liking to; constantly, they pointed out different landmarks and structures which they checked off their lists with enthusiasm. These sights included the Castle of Good Hope, Signal Hill, the District Six Museum, and the Kirstenbosch Gardens, to name a few. The children spent much time gazing up at the towering buildings in the city and pointing out fountains and statues to each other, connecting what they were seeing with what they were listening to on their headphones.

Up until this point, the large majority of these children had never had the opportunity to witness the entirety of their city as they were able to do today. Through the GAPA Extracurricular Enrichment Program, they not only experienced the most notable features of Cape Town, but also learned about the history and importance behind them through headphones and worksheets. Further, the children were able to practice some competitive play in Sea Point before hand, which in itself was a special treat. Undeniably, the entire experience was a success from start to finish and provided children with valuable perspective about their own home.

Through assessments, we were able to gauge just how much the children absorbed on the Red Bus Tour. Initially, only 22% of the children knew that the District 6 Museum was a great resource to learn about Cape Town’s history. Afterwards, however, those numbers rose to an impressive 90%. They also successfully gathered that the Kirstenbosch Garden is known for all its beautiful flora and fauna; that the Castle of Good Hope is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town; and that the Sea Point Lighthouse is adorned with red and white stripes. The children proved to have mastered this content, as 100% of the children answered the respective questions correctly in the post-assessment. In total, we saw a very impressive 44.75% average increase in knowledge and understanding. Not too bad for a single day of being out on the buses!

This excursion and all that it has offered to the GAPA community would not have been possible without the assistance of our donors and Happy Africa Foundation supporters. A huge thank you to everyone involved and all of those who helped bring this educational experience to life— couldn’t have done it without you!

Big Cat Wildlife Research, Maasai Mara

By | Conservation
Monitoring Big Cats in the Mara provides us with data to understand how to improve the livelihoods of the animals and people surrounding the Conservancy.
The Maasai Mara ecosystem is world renowned as being one of the best places in the world to see big cats. This is due to the rich numbers of wildebeest and antelope that big cats frequently prey on and the annual migration that passes through the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.

The loss of wildlife in the area has been devastating in recent years due to increased human settlement in and around the Maasai Mara. The Big Cat project is making conservation efforts based in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy which borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Conservation, from African Impact Foundation’s perspective, is aimed at reducing the negative impact of humans on wildlife. Monitoring the path of the Big Cats will help us find answers and supporting data to understand how to improve the livelihoods of the animals and people surrounding the conservancy. Through the purchasing of range-finders, compasses and camera traps we are aiming to collect accurate data on wildlife populations, densities, and local movements.

Short Term Impact:
Range-Finders and Compasses are used to collect accurate data on wildlife populations, densities, and local movements. This data is then fed back into research being conducted by Oxford-Brookes University in an attempt to better understand wildlife population trends across the greater Masai Mara ecosystem.
Camera Traps are used to photograph and identify leopards and other big cats, as well as to improve our understanding of all the different species that occur in Naboisho. They can be used on a transect, collecting daily information for an extended period of time in a set area. This produces the most scientifically robust results. Alternatively, if we suspect an unknown leopard or lion is frequenting an area, strategically placed camera traps would help us capture a number of good images of that individual and help with identification. Identifying big cats is all part of understanding the social dynamics and distribution of these species.

Long Term Impact:
The big cat monitoring data and the plains-game population data are provided freely to the management of Naboisho Conservancy, as well as the various tourism and land-owner stakeholders, to be used for planning and decision-making for the conservation of the area and the land-use options for the greater surrounding ecosystem.

Mara Naboisho Conservancy
The Maasai Mara ecosystem is world renowned as being one of the best places in the world to see big cats. This is due to the rich numbers of wildebeest and antelope that big cats frequently prey on and the annual migration that passes through the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.

Achieved So Far:
We are currently fundraising for 8 range-finders, 8 compasses and 6 camera traps at a total target of £2180.

Protecting the Escape Artists, Chimfunshi

By | Conservation
Improving the living accommodation for the four special ‘Escape Artist’ chimpanzees to ensure their lives are more enriched with access to a more natural environment.
Chimfunshi is a Chimpanzee Sanctuary based in Northern Zambia offering home to approximately 120 chimpanzees. Chimfunshi have not received any new arrivals for just over 10 years but are currently looking to start rescuing again. The objective for our conservation project is to ensure the protection and rehabilitation of the chimpanzees at the sanctuary and to reduce the negative impact of humans on wildlife, in this case to ensure that the ‘Escape Artists’ have safe access to a more natural environment whilst enclosed.

There are currently four chimpanzees aptly named the Escape Artists due to their ability to escape from the large forested enclosures at Chimfunshi. Because of this they are housed in a large cage for their safety and for that of visitors, volunteers and keepers, but which does not allow them access to their natural, forested habitat.

The aim of this project is to hold on to the established vision of Chimfunshi and to adapt and extend the ‘Escape Artists’ current living area to provide a safe outdoor space for the current four chimps to enjoy their natural habitat and allow planning for potential new rescued chimps in the future. Our key activities include behaviour enrichment, food preparation, farming, enclosure cleaning, boundary patrol, chimp observations, vet assistance and infrastructure improvements. Our project aims to contribute towards this effort by fundraising for the electrical system for this new space to be created.

Short Term Impact:
The key objective is the improvement of the health and wellbeing of the Chimpanzees in relation to the more space and a more natural environment through providing new enclosures.

Long Term Impact:
Our long term objective is to conserve the Chimpanzee population in Africa and to reduce the negative impact of human-wildlife conflict on Chimpanzees in Zambia. Demonstrating a better living environment will help to educate visitors that come to the sanctuary as well as donors of Chimfunshi.

Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust is based in a remote part of Zambia and the staff and their families that live and work there have grown alongside the growth of the sanctuary since the first chimp arrived in 1983. The community now supports over 60 staff and has a community school, and health post allowing access to education and basic health care which is fantastic for the local staff and their families in such a remote location.


This project is contributing towards the efforts of Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust. African Impact Foundation are fundraising in partnership to contribute towards the electrical system needed to ensure the ‘Escape Artists’ can access a more natural, forested environment within a secure fenced enclosure. The Foundation partners with Chimfunshi Organization in Northern Zambia with the aim to provide a sanctuary for over 120 rescued chimpanzees.

  • 2017: Chimfunshi and the Foundation identified that the four Escape Artists (so called due to their ability to continuously escape from their forested enclosure) were in dire need of a larger and safer enclosure for them to have a life that felt more in line with the rehabilitation of the 4 chimps.
  • 2018: Fundraising efforts continued for the Escape Artists Enclosure and a solar pump. Discussions with partners provided possible final funding to bring the project to fruition in 2019.

Eco Bricking – Creating Sustainable Communities

By | News, Stories

With all our posts about eco-bricking – many of you may be wondering what that is. To date, we have completed two different eco-bricking projects and are in the process of finishing up one building project. Have a look below to see how it all works.

Eco Bricks are PET bottles filled with soft plastics. Stuffed to the brim with cellophane, chip packets, sweet wrappers and everything that can’t easily be recycled. The bottle is screwed closed and then used as a building brick. Each eco-brick weighs approximately .3KG. So if you calculate how many eco-bricks we have made multiplied by the weight of each eco-brick, we have used 1,269.6 KG of waste to build with.  It s quite amazing to know that that waste is not sitting in a land fill site or destroying the environment. Instead – this waste is serving a purpose.

Chicken Coop: completed. 800 ecobricks used

Piggery: completed 432 ecobricks used

Compost Bin: in progress. 3,000 used thus far

But don’t be mistaken – it is not only The Happy Africa Foundation that is doing the work. Of the local community members, there are 98 locals at Linda Farm helping and 10 students from Linda Community School. We have several community members who have been helping us out as well just to clean their environment. African Impact volunteers eco-brick every week, multiple times a week. As a group we collectively meet once a week and on average we complete 1-2 eco-bricks per person. Additionally, once a week we collect rubbish from Linda Farm and eco-brick with the community members at the Farm.

Eco-bricking directly impacts the environment and the community.It alleviates pressure from landfills and reduces the need for burning.  Ecobricks also help to clean up the streets in compounds and cities as well as teaching residents that the trash littering their streets does actually hold value.

It has drastically changed the environment of Linda Farm reducing the amount of waste and providing a sustainable material for building. The amount of rubbish that is collected weekly, greatly helps maintain a clean and safe environment for all the community members.

 

A day in the life of a St Lucia Intern

By | Stories | No Comments

The day typically starts with a nice jog to the beach to watch the sunrise, or for the less sporty ones like me, with a big breakfast to set you up for the day. After the morning meeting and the packing of cars, we head off for morning project. Projects include; education, family empowerment, and medical. Although going out on project was sometimes overwhelming, since I had never seen such poverty or lack of basic needs such as food and hygiene, this inspired me to work harder in order to make projects more successful in providing the community with better conditions. It also made me realise how happy locals, especially kids, are with the simplest of things and this made me hope that I as well would be able to become as non-materialistic as they are and to appreciate what I have.

Going to crèche was one of the highlights of my stay in St Lucia. Being given the opportunity to help a kid reach grade R to actually have an education and knowing that eventually this might lead to an improvement in their life is amazing. One of the successes I had was introducing a water break at crèche, which helps promote the importance of drinking water as well as providing access to water and getting them used to drinking frequently. I also really enjoyed the support groups, and I was happy to see how they were trying to make small changes in their life that would improve their and their kids’ wellbeing and how much they appreciated our involvement.

After morning project follows a lengthy break around midday, which allows volunteers ample time for lunch, a quick nip to the shops for dessert or a nap. In the afternoon, if I’m not going out on project, I usually turn to what may seem the more boring stuff, office work, which surprisingly turned out to be very interesting and has taught me a lot. This involves the tracking of finances, merchandise and donations, a skill which will surely come useful in other jobs. It also involves more practical stuff, such as organising a merchandise sale, a presentation about THAF for volunteers or fundraising events. The monthly pub quiz night helps bring locals and volunteers together for a couple of hours of competitive guessing, while a volunteer scavenger hunt is a good team bonding exercise while raising money.

In the evening or on weekends we did tours or went on trips, such as the Zulu culture night, where we learned all about Zulu customs and traditions, and had once in a life time experiences, such as feeding an elephant and touching its slimy tongue, petting a cheetah and watching a turtle make its way up the beach to lay eggs. I also got to go to two traditional Zulu weddings and a funeral, where we got a first-hand experience of Zulu culture mixed with Western traditions and to interact with locals and show our appreciation to their culture.

One of the challenges that I was faced with was the fact that volunteers come from all over the world, each with their own language and habits, and although this sometimes created barriers, it usually just gave us the opportunity to have a good laugh at some misunderstanding or other. Another challenge that I had to face was ‘African time’, which meant that a task that should have taken a couple of minutes to carry out would sometimes take hours or could not be carried out at all. Although this was sometimes frustrating, I quickly adapted to it and learned to be satisfied by what I had succeeded in doing.

On the whole, interning at St Lucia was an experience that I shall never forget. The staff were a constant support, and having the opportunity to interact daily with the Zulu ladies was a unique experience. I loved being part of something bigger than myself and being able to make an impact, and this has helped me make some important life decisions.