Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ)
NGO Founded: 1953
Partnership Formed: 2012
Organisation's aim: To spearhead environmental awareness at all levels of the community, promote the wise use of natural resources and to become the most effective independent environmental action group in Zambia.
Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ) is the oldest and most established NGO (non-governmental organisation) in Zambia and has been in operation since 1953. Originally founded as the Game and Hunting Preservation Association, the organisation has since become focused on education and conservation. During the late fifties, a project named Operation Noah rescued animals that would otherwise have drowned due to the rising water levels of the newly created Lake Kariba. Since then the organisation has gone through a series of name changes and undertaken projects in wildlife education and more recently whole environment conservation.
Partnership with WLT
WLT became interested in working in Zambia due to an increasing interest from corporate supporters who were keen to fund conservation within the country. In March 2011, WLT's CEO John Burton met with Zambian NGOs, including WECSZ, to evaluate the feasibility of WLT finding a partner within the country. Later in the year, Mary Tibbett (WLT Conservation Programmes Officer) met again with WECSZ to investigate the partnership further and the NGO became an official WLT Programme Partner in February 2012.
Projects with WLT
The partnership is in its very early stages and WLT and WECSZ are currently looking into potential project options.
Other projects and activities
- WECSZ's education and outreach programme has been running since 1964 and consists of workshops, the Chongololo and Chipembele clubs aimed at school children and printed educational materials all of which are supplemented by a radio programme that reaches 82,000 listeners;
- WECSZ facilitates tree planting projects through its education programmes and plants 2,000 trees per year;
- WECSZ influences national environmental policy and have been actively involved in the Zambia Biological Diversity Strategy and Action Plan, the Zambia Wetlands Strategy and Action Plan and the National Environment Policy;
- The society successfully operates four tourist camps to promote ecotourism and provide revenue;
- WECSZ promotes research and monitoring in Zambia and publishes articles in its bi-annual Black Lechwe newsletter/journal.
Awards and achievements
1990: the Chongololo Programme was awarded the Global 500 Award (now called the Champions of the Earth Award) by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
National Coordinator/Acting Director: Patrick Shawa