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What is the PawPrint Africa Project? PDF Print E-mail
         

 

The PawPrint Africa Project is a non-profit organisation, which Animal Adventures in Africa firmly supports. It aims to increase literacy, as well as encourage children to develop a love for wildlife, and to motivate them to protect endangered animals and the planet, as they grow up. The goal of the PawPrint Africa Project is to donate books in the Animal Adventures in Africa series to disadvantaged children at rural and no-fee primary schools, in areas around game reserves in Africa. The Project aims to promote literacy in sectors that need radical upliftment, as well as in communities that would benefit the most from conservation of wildlife. The campaign addresses the needs of poor and disadvantaged children, who have little opportunity of getting to love the written word, or to experience the true beauty of wildlife up close and personal.


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PROBLEMS WITH LITERACY

Over 33% of South Africans are functionally illiterate and SA has been rated as one of the 10 worst countries in the world, in terms of literacy. (Mail & Guardian). Social change is brought about through literacy, and promoting literacy is a crucial component of effective strategies to address human rights, economic development and health care issues throughout the nearly 50 nations that comprise sub-Saharan Africa. Literacy is one of the only opportunities that children have to break the cycle of poverty and attain social upliftment. Books are at the foundation of a strong educational system and most children in Africa who attend school have never owned their own book.

“Unfortunately, today many schools across the [African] continent remain in need, and millions of children and adults are still without access to books and the tools to reach their full potential.” (Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary-General)



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PROBLEMS WITH CONSERVATION

It is imperative to the future of South Africa, and the African continent, that our children learn to love animals, and want to protect them. Conservation is crucial to their futures. Game reserves and wildlife are critical to the development of the tourism industry in Africa. For many communities living in and around game reserves, their survival has resulted in a depletion of wildlife and the environment, e.g poaching to eat, and environmental poaching. The bush meat market poses one of the greatest threats to Africa’ wildlife populations. Research has shown that between 1.9 and 3.5 million tons of bush meat is consumed in Central and Southern Africa on an annual basis (VFAPU). Poaching on the environment has grown exponentially. Plants are being taken for food, sand is being used to make bricks for shelter, quarry stone for construction purposes, and trees are being cut down for firewood, carvings, and structural supports.


Our children need to learn to break this cycle, and ensure community sustainability through other means, e.g. jobs and the creation of tourism. Up to 3% of GDP is generated by the tourism industry in South Africa, and much of this is directly attributable to our wildlife and game reserves. Our children need to sustain and grow this industry, to ensure the future of Africa, and become actively involved in protecting their planet as they grow up. It is only through developing a real interest in or love for wildlife, that children will really commit themselves to caring for the planet later in life. By donating books that provide an alternative means of understanding wildlife, and the importance of protecting animals in their natural habitat, we have a chance to make a difference to our environment and to the future of our children.

 

 


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THE BENEFITS OF THE PAWPRINT AFRICA PROJECT

The benefits of book donation campaigns to children has been proven by internationally funded programmes such as Books for Africa and in South Africa by the Exclusive Books Reading Trust. "Ever since the inception of this project, we have seen our grade-four learners' literacy skills developing continuously; their reading level has improved unbelievably, their comprehension level cannot be explained." (Emfundisweni Primary School). By participating in the PawPrint Africa Project, companies will be helping to achieve the United Nations’ Education For All literacy goals, set to be achieved by the year 2015. Companies in South Africa will also benefit from a BEE perspective, through this Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.

 

The greatest benefits will be to the children, who receive the books - namely, increased reading ability, an awareness of wildlife and conservation issues at a level they can understand, exposure to moral principles of honesty, integrity and friendship, and the opportunity for social upliftment.

 

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