This is the first environmental centre led by the Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity (BIOFUND), and was opened at the Sussundenga Secondary School, in Manica province, on July 11, 2022, by the Director of the District Education Services, in a ceremony that was attended by more than 100 people, with emphasis on local authorities, the school community and conservation partners.
BIOFUND and Partners Install the First Biodiversity Centre in Sussundenga
This Biodiversity Centre was installed by BIOFUND through the Conservation Leadership Program in Mozambique (PLCM), in partnership with Chimanimani National Park, Portucel Moçambique e a Fundação Vodacom, and is aimed at raising awareness among children and young people in Sussundenga on the importance of taking care of the environment and biodiversity.
The Centre is composed of information panels and photographs on the biodiversity of Manica province, with emphasis on endemic plants, fauna, landscapes and historical and tourist places of Chimanimani National Park, and a computer lab composed of 20 computers, complete with a one-year internet connection. In addition to the Biodiversity Centre, a waste recycling point was set up at this school and a school garden was created that will involve and benefit the school students.
This initiative is part of the pilot phase of the project to create Conservation Centres and the development of Education Workshops that BIOFUND and its partners will implement in schools, around themes of Biodiversity, Mineral Resources, Water, Solid Waste Management and Food-Nutrition. This initiative is also the result of a dream of bringing extracts of local biodiversity content to classrooms that were originally developed with the support of partners for the annual Biodiversity Exhibitions implemented by BIOFUND in Maputo (2015), Gaza (2016), Quelimane (2017) and Inhambane (2018), with emphasis on the Manica Exhibition in 2019.
These materials were complemented for this biodiversity centre by the PLCM team, including several of its interns.
On behalf of the Administrator of Sussundenga, the District Director of Education, Chico Domingos Manuel Ferrão, in his opening speech stated that the installation of the Biodiversity Centre in that School represents an important milestone for the District and for the Province of Manica. “For the first time, we opened a biodiversity centre. This is a big gain for our district. With these centres, children have information on how to take care of the planet, so that the planet also takes care of us, we are going to capitalize on this gain, to allow other children to have access to information”, he stressed.
Likewise, the Director of Sussundenga Secondary School, Manuel Campira, expressed his thanks for choosing the institution he leads and committed himself to preserving the repository of various environmental education materials that will contribute to the teaching-learning process and to change the behaviour of the society about the environment.
For BIOFUND, the inauguration of the Sussundenga Biodiversity Centre coincides with the tenth anniversary of the foundation, celebrated in a campaign under the motto “let’s do more” for biodiversity. This new biodiversity centre is the first result of this celebration. “We are sure that with the efforts and creativity of all our partners we will take this project forward and many more conservation centres like this one will emerge, and we will do more for biodiversity, in different ways”, said Alexandra Jorge, Program Director at BIOFUND.
In addition to Chimanimani National Park and Portucel Moçambique, which were responsible for the rehabilitation of the classrooms, and which will continue to support the school with the implementation of environmental education activities, as well as Fundação Vodacom, which set up the computer lab, the creation of the Biodiversity Centre in Sussundenga was supported by a collaboration of young people from the Gonazololo Association who produced various products with recycled material, Escola Portuguesa de Moçambique which contributed with books on biodiversity for the school library and the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), which provided environmental education manuals.