MANA (Malawi)

Written by  Lusayo Singogo
Solomonic Peacock Theatre performs during the campaign. pic courtesy of LWT
Solomonic Peacock Theatre performs during the campaign. pic courtesy of LWT

Kasungu, July 17, 2019: Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) Monday asked people living in areas surrounding Kasungu National Park to increase uptake of wildlife anti-crime messages into their communities in order to enhance their knowledge on the significance of conserving nature.

LWT made this call during a ‘Stop Wildlife Crime’ campaign held at Nkhanga and Kasamba Primary Schools in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Chulu in Kasungu District.

According to LWT’s Campaigns Coordinator, Samantha Nampuntha, there was need to ensure that people surrounding the Park have the right messages about the dangers of committing wildlife crimes.

She said the awareness campaign was one way of alerting people on the long-term effects  would follow if nature is not conserved.

“You know, wildlife attracts tourism which eventually boosts the country’s revenue. So people need to understand the socio-economic consequences that households and the country as a whole suffer when they engage in illegal acts such as poaching,” said Nampuntha pointed out.
She added that,  “We used a Pedal Power Cinema to showcase Njobvu Ndakusowa and 30 Years videos to the participants.

The first video is a story of how the country had many elephants in the past as compared to the present time.
The Second video depicts the wildlife crime penalties as provided in the new Wildlife Act which, among others, gives the courts power to put criminals behind bars for up to 30 years.”

Namputha said LWT partnered with the Solomonic Peacock Theatre in order to intensify awareness’ impact through a play.
Executive Director for the Theatre, McArthur Matukuta said they have a community intervention programme, whereby they go into communities to raise awareness on different social issues including the environment through plays.

“This is the third time to be involved in this awareness campaign with LWT and we are always happy to participate through plays. The audience has always been enormous and we believe that the messages shared through the interactive drama have contributed to the decline in wildlife crimes,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, a teacher and a patron of Wildlife Club at Kasamba Primary School, Eviness Wela hailed LWT for bringing the campaign to her area saying it has enhanced their knowledge on the importance of conserving wildlife and pledged to disseminate the messages.

LWT has been conducting the ‘Stop Wildlife Crime’ campaign since 2018 with funding from USAID. It has also conducted the same campaign in Vwasa and Kuti Game Reserves.