200109 Mellman students peer counseling training

Is it worth saving something today, if it won’t survive tomorrow? There are limited global resources available for conservation and this is an important question; we don’t want to waste time or funds. As a result, conservation efforts must involve not only the conservation leaders of today, but those of the future.

Big Life has always invested in education, largely through conservation scholarships within the Greater Amboseli ecosystem. We are currently supporting, through funding partners, scholarships for 268 children. Now we would like to amplify that impact for further conservation good.

Thanks to the initiative and support from the Mellmann Foundation, a new “peer counseling” program has been created. Forty-four scholarship students will become positive influencers in their communities, disseminating information on relevant topics such as female genital mutilation (FGM), environmental conservation, and health and hygiene. Students will select the issues they are most passionate about and become a member of a relevant ‘topic club’.

All of the students have received public speaking training and will work with parents/elders and an officer from Big Life to organize meetings in their communities to discuss their chosen topics. Students will work in their topic clubs during school holidays to disseminate information amongst their peers, families, and neighbors.

These students are bright, educated, an integral part of their communities, and perfectly placed to be “gamechangers” across multiple issues. They are the potential conservation leaders of tomorrow, but there is no reason that they can’t start having a positive impact today.