This week, Werner Myburgh, CEO of Peace Parks Foundation, reveals his top five favourite films of 2021 from Peace Parks TV. Coming in at number 5 is this one, about the donation of laptops to schoolchildren in the Simalaha Community Conservancy. Werner chose this because it is a great example of the holistic approach that Peace Parks Foundation takes. The conservation story of Simalaha is of course bound up with rewilding and the restoration of the landscape, but critically, so too is it concerned with the welfare and education of its youth, who, after all will be the future leaders and decision makers for this region.

More about the film…

Drum rolls sounded loudly in the Simalaha Community Conservancy as Kawewa Primary School celebrated a life-changing donation. Five laptops were donated to the school by Hitachi Vantara, whose motto, ‘Social innovation is powering good’, drives social innovation initiatives that endeavour to raise the quality of people’s lives as well as build a sustainable society.
After thanking the children for putting on a splendid show at short notice, Ian Middleton, Peace Parks Project Manager working in Simalaha, stressed how important it is to be computer literate, advocating the power of technology to change their lives. This has been borne out already elsewhere. In Kasaya School, Acting Deputy Head Teacher Ms Gertrude Mabuvu, reported that through Hitachi’s support they now offer Information Technology (IT) classes for their pupils and help teachers as well as the community at large through adult learning. What is incredible is that by teaching IT, the behaviour of pupils at Kasaya School changed dramatically. Before the computers were delivered, many pupils used to dodge classes and absenteeism was high. Now these same pupils attend full school days, which is an important marker of achieving a successful education.
One of the pupils at Kawewa, Mambo Vincent, gave a special drum performance and a heartfelt thanks to the donor, Hitachi, Peace Parks and all the other partners who made this possible.

Hitachi Vantara has been supporting Peace Parks Foundation’s transfrontier conservation efforts for the past seven years, especially projects implemented in the Simalaha Community Conservancy and in the Zambian component of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. The Simalaha Community Conservancy was developed by the Sesheke and Sekhute Chiefdoms, who took ownership of their own destiny by following a community-led approach to improving basic human rights – such as access to food, health, livelihood opportunities and education – by responsibly managing and protecting their natural resources and wildlife.