A team from Peace Parks’ head office in Stellenbosch is visiting Sioma Ngwezi National Park in south-western Zambia, nestled within the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. After getting a tour of the new headquarters, Simon Mayes, Technical Advisor for Peace Parks Foundation in Sioma Ngwezi National Park, shows the visitors around the newly developed clinic and school in Linganga. Just a short distance away from Sioma Ngwezi, the Linganga community is situated on the eastern bank of the Zambezi River and forms a part of the larger Ngonye Falls Community Partnership Park.

One of Peace Parks Foundation’s main objectives within this area is to promote sustainable land use by developing infrastructure for the local communities. The most recent being a newly constructed clinic, nurse’s housing and additional classrooms to an already existing school. These buildings will improve the lives of the people living here as they will have easy access to healthcare and education, the pillars of a strong community.

Despite the soaring temperature outside, Lésa van Rooyen, Peace Parks Communications Coordinator, explains that the school classrooms remain oddly cool inside, a necessary part of the design that will help students feel comfortable in their learning environment during the hot summer months. This insulation will also provide warmth during the cooler winter days.

The new clinic and classrooms were constructed using hand-crafted bricks made by a young entrepreneur from the area. He is also responsible for constructing six new campsites at the nearby tourist attraction, Ngonye Falls, which plays a key part in tourism development in the area. You can read more about that here. Through these projects, he has created employment opportunities for members of his community.

Improving local infrastructure is extremely important as it helps to improve the socio-economic conditions for rural communities whereby access to healthcare and education is limited. In striving to meet goals 3 and 4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Peace Parks is committed to promoting inclusive learning opportunities for all, as well ensuring good health and well-being wherever possible.