Researcher: Robby Mwale
Region: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
The majority of the villages on the border of the southern sector of the South Luangwa National Park fall within the Malama Chiefdom. Overall this comprises 214 households and a population of approximately 1 079 people. Infrastructural development and government support is largely lacking in these villages.
70% of the staff of Kalamu Lagoon Camp in South Luangwa National Park come from this area. Guests on cultural visits to the nearby villages began donating money for use in a project that would benefit the community as a whole and therefore Kalamu Lagoon Camp General Manager Petros Guwa met with the community to identify this project. The decision to build a library at the Kalengo Community School was accepted by Chief Malama. The Trust was asked to help fund a portion of the project.
Kalengo Community School is situated close to Chilekati Village which is attended by the majority of children living in the area. A perfect location for a library, it will not only benefit those attending the school but will service all the local villages, providing opportunities for reading, studying and further education.
Numerous studies have shown the critical importance of education in terms of conservation and future employment. These rural villages are a long distance from any urban areas and the construction of the library has been welcomed with great enthusiasm and excitement by the villagers. The school and library are in a traditionally very poor area that relies largely on subsistence agriculture and has a huge amount of human-elephant conflict.
Construction began at the beginning of 2010 and a total of US$2148 was spent using the funds donated by generous guests. Wilderness Wildlife Trust was approached to help in finishing the project. These outputs include building a covered veranda, shelving, benches, fixing leaks in the roof, painting and other aesthetics. And, of course, funding for books is most essential, and it is hoped this will continue to come from the enthusiastic and inspired guests of Kalamu Lagoon Camp.
Kalengo community library official opening – 2011
On the 20th of October Kalengo community library was officially opened by Chief Malama of the Malama Village. For entertainment there were school children marching and a women’s group from Malama, who danced with great enthusiasm. Some senior staff members of the village, and Kalamu Lagoon Camp staff atteneded the official opening, as did Robby Mwale (CITW coordinator) who flew in from Lusaka. Guest of honour was the Honourable Chief Malama who gave an inspiring speech encouraging the pupils on the importance of a good education.
The library has been established to institute a solid foundation for improvement of education. Wilderness Safaris, Wilderness Trust, Children in the Wilderness and Kalamu guests have generously donated the funds and books for the library.