The SPF Wildlife Ambassadors is a newly formed network of Tanzanian university students who are devoted to promote and protect the natural resources of the country through conservation education and advocacy. This effort is in its early stages, with much more development needed.
The Tanzanian Constitution states;
Every person has the duty to protect the natural resources of the United Republic, the property of the state authority, all property collectively owned by the people, and also to respect another person’s property. of 1984 Art.6 (2) All persons shall be required by law to safeguard the property of the state authority and all property collectively owned by the people, to combat all forms of waste and squander, and to manage the national economy assiduously with the attitude of people who are masters of the destiny of their nation. [Duty to safeguard public property Act No.15 of 1984 Art.6 27.-(1)
This network supports the young voices of Tanzania, as the future leaders of the country. We will encourage them to rally together to address ongoing major threats to wildlife including habitat change, over-exploitation and poaching. We will invest in them, with training and conservation resources, as they are the agents of change.
The network will not only provide training and program resources to ambassador students in different regions of Tanzania. It will also use the power of social media to increase outreach, as the youth of Tanzania are now fully connected and online, thus sharing ideas and opinions and creating movements for action and change. On one hand online platforms can be used to educate, provide resources and organize student groups for learning. On the other hand social media can create positive messaging campaigns against poaching and identify communities in regions where they can conduct face-to-face outreach programs. Also, petitions can be filed to proactively take part in governmental decisions.
The students will organize wildlife conferences in their own universities where they can invite different speakers to share research and field experiences, so that they get informed about the current status of the conservation in their country. It will help them to develop interest in doing research as well as in conservation aspects in humans wildlife conflicts, climate change, cattle population around national parks, deforestation and land degradation. During their research they will be encouraged to come up with possible solutions to tackle the problems observed.
We will have flash drives loaded with videos and other resources for use in universities and local communities, so that the ambassadors can provide on-the-spot mini-education tours for the public. For example identifying public places such as bus depots where they can use the traditional Tanzanian community platform to educate and provide resources for citizens to use and learn in their homes.
The Ambassadors will reach out to Boarding and Day Secondary schools and conduct conservation talks with students who may become interested in serving as ambassadors as well. The effort of these schools will also enable ambassadors to deliver the STEP curriculum to teachers and support them in using it effectively. Finally, Ambassadors who show extreme promise and motivation will be coached and groomed as potential SPF regional staff, to support implementation of SPF’s full package of programs in areas where we undertake a “saturation” education and advocacy model.