The charitable organization Sabine Plattner African Charities / SPAC aims at enabling and empowering children, women and men at the Republic of Congo’s Odzala-Kokoua National Park to act independently and sustainably for a future in the rainforest that is worth living.
Education is building bridges! Taking over responsibility for our common living environment means making possible the survival and coexistence of present and future generations in a respectful symbiosis of man, animals and nature.
Local action is at the heart of global activities to preserve the green lungs of our planet.
For the people living in the Odzala-Kokoua region, education is the key to bring about change and advancement. Playful, respectful, professional and close to the everyday reality of children and adults – that’s the pedagogical concept applied by SPAC in its projects, like the first community center Sanza Mobimba in Mbomo (in the southern sector bordering the national park), by early childhood, wildlife and conservation education.
A SPECIAL PLACE
The people in Odzala-Kokoua National Park are not better or smarter than people anywhere else in the world. But they live in a special place. Especially beautiful, especially alive, especially important, but also especially difficult to live in.
Odzala-Kokoua National Park is part of the second-largest coherent rainforest area on earth. Hence this piece of Central Africa has a significant impact on our global climate and the existence of all life.
For us, who are coming from abroad, it is important that all changes are sustained by the communities. This is a precondition for further development.
What makes the men and women of the villages near Odzala-Kokoua National Park join the projects? Change has to mean improvement – concrete improvements of life quality. Work to support the family. Training and support for crafts and business. Schools for all girls and boys, adequately trained teachers, and teaching materials.
Education = empowerment to strengthen knowledge for independent, sustainable action
The seed for the project work by Sabine Plattner African Charities / SPAC has been sown by the explicit wish of local communities for support in developing sustainable education programs.
Together with the people living with the rainforest, experienced professionals develop education programs and individually designed pedagogical concepts, based on a comprehensive evaluation of the local situation of each community involved.
Special emphasis is given to foster skills for creative and effective action and problem-solving in order to improve life quality with due consideration for the individuality of local structures and cultural features.
SPAC’s activities are long-term processes – because lasting change needs time.
Some of SPAC’s main objectives:
|Early childhood education||education according to Congolese curriculum and applying a highly effective and creative methodology developed by SPAC|
|Nutrition||horticulture projects / water project|
|Health / hygiene||workshops (children, parents; staff)|
|Wilderness education||environmental education related to nature protection, species conservation, ecology, community, and responsibility|
Why is SPAC working in Odzala-Kokoua?
SPAC is taking over responsibility for the living environment, and respectful symbiosis between nature, animal and man improving the severely limited access to social infrastructure (educational institutions, health care etc.) supporting and strengthening regional structures for environmental protection and coping with everyday life local action to preserve the rainforest in a global context. Embedded in our education program, we live the idea of sustainable animal, species and environmental protection, and support regional infrastructure.
THE COMMUNITY CENTRE ‘SANZA MOBIMBA’
Education & Conservation = a unique project linking community work in the villages of the tropical rainforest Odzala-Kokoua National Park to lowland gorilla research that is being carried out for 15 years to protect them from extinction.
By constructing and inaugurating the community centre ‘Sanza Mobimba’ in Mbomo in November 2013, SPAC relies on information and identifying parents and adults as community role models – families that are open-minded for innovative education work including social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development that brings changes to community life.
Sanza Mobimba means ‘full moon’ in Lingala, since the light of the full moon is the brightest light in the
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Early Childhood Development means the process of emotional, cognitive, sensory, spiritual, physical, social, and communication development of children from birth to school-going age. These early years of a child’s life are time when they acquire concepts, skills, and attitudes that lay the foundation for lifelong learning.
Offering children a good Early Childhood Development experience enables them to grow and develop in their full potential. These early years have also been recognised as the ideal phase for passing on values that are important for the building of a peaceful, prosperous, and respectful society.
In our community centre, we offer a kindergarten for about 60 children in three groups from 3 to 6 years old. It is very important to us to align early childhood education to the cultural identity and everyday reality of the girls and boys from the Odzala-Kokoua National Park region. Many teaching materials in Congo are still taken from France and contain texts and images that are meaningless and incomprehensible for children from a rural area in Central Africa.
Further, education shall take into account the children’s mother tongues. Often the children cannot follow, when the teachers only speak French, the language of the former colonial power. Every child around Odzala-Kokoua National Park speaks the regional first language, which is Lingala. A second language, Mboko, is in use around Mbomo.
The best way for children to learn is by active participation, for example by getting in touch with vegetables and fruit growing in the community garden project or with cooking wholesome lunch. Active participation enables the children to experience their own creative powers. These skills and experiences are passed on to the parents by the children themselves, as well as through parents’ evenings. Learning children make learning parents.
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The community centre Sanza Mobima is supporting a healthy physical and mental development of adolescents by ‘after school activities’ including sports, theatre performance, dance, games, garden activities, school coaching, but also ‘life skills training’ about health, hygiene, and nutrition. The ‘tutorial’ picks up on school lessons and playfully deepens them, e.g. by combining maths with ball games. And creative activities serve to train manual skills and to prepare the youths for their future working life.
It is important to us that these activities are also attended by the girls. In order to make this possible, we visited the parents to explain the Youth Development Program. Now the girls are allowed to participate in their specific programs led by a woman.
Sanza Mobimba has the prerequisites and the motivated staff to help the adolescents to become active, dedicated, and independent. And the adults learn to know and respect the ideas, visions, and needs of the young people.