Malawi suffers from serious deforestation, soil degradation, drought and waste management problems. At Chilanga Secondary School, the Wildlife and Environment Club was formed to focus on building students' awareness of these issues and the global effects of climate change. This is done by involving students in individual actions leading to a collective impact, first at the school level and then in their home villages. This initiative now involves all three Chilanga schools as well as the secondary school in Mathandani and eight primary schools in that area. Henry Lemani, a secondary school teacher originally at Chilanga and now in Mathandani, has done a terrific job in expanding this program.
Teacher-led excursions in their local area familiarize students with their immediate environment and provide insights into the social and economic geography of the region. From these experiences, they develop a greater understanding of the impact of climate change and can plan projects that apply their academic learning to the reality of the people in the area.
Club members are involved in creating nurseries and woodlots. During the rainy season, seedlings that have been nurtured by the students are transplanted within the school grounds; others are taken care of until the following rainy season. In time, the seedlings will be planted in their home villages, thus encouraging a culture of tree planting and reforestation.
water and waste management
The clubs have bought garbage bags and students have hung these around the girls' and boys' hostels, in the kitchen, teaching area and administration block so that litter is collected, the environment cleaned and the hygiene of the school improved. Students also help in maintenance of the composting toilets at the schools.