Resources for Grade 7 ambassadors to make a difference in Southern Africa

(From l-r) The author, IFAW Supporter Development Representative Ronelle Petersen, Ambassador Yumnah Suliman and E-Classroom’s Christine Horsley.When I was 12 years old, I wanted to put my compassion and love for animals into action. But there were no such opportunities to do so.

At the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) Southern Africa office, we have developed an initiative to provide young people much like my 12-year-old self with the opportunity to share their knowledge of animals as sentient beings and being an integral part of our lives with peers, family and friends. 

Together with long-term partner E-classroom, we are providing the necessary resources and tools to assist our ambassadors to make the difference they so desperately want to make, in their small part of the world.

Fourteen ambassadors have officially been chosen to fulfil specific responsibilities during their Grade 7 year of primary school. Although we have chosen this age, we firmly believe that all children can be ambassadors for animals.

In their role as ambassadors, they will be sharing IFAW and E-classroom curricular aligned resources—focusing on conservation and animal welfare principles—with their educators and fellow learners. They will work on their own initiatives, using specific school calendar events such as Entrepreneurs Day, school assemblies and classroom activities, to highlight conservation and animal welfare issues, including writing blogs to keep everyone updated on their progress.

A sample of the "goody pack" given to Ambassador Yumnah Suliman.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the challenges of today, for young and old – we know that for so many young people, like our chosen ambassadors, they want to follow the starfish principle, to be the one to make a difference for that one animal and person. One such is Nathan Maistry from Fairlands, Johannesburg:  “I am passionate about animals, big, small, slimy, creepy, fluffy, furry and hairless.”

During 2017, IFAW’s “Animal Ambassador” initiative will allow 14 young people from across South Africa to be the advocates for animals they want to be through exercising their empathy and compassion. We’ll keep you posted on their achievements.

--LCH

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