By STEVEN MVULA
THE Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has started training the first batch of 25 youths as safari tour guides at its Nyamaluma Training Institute in the Lupande Game Management Area (GMA) in Eastern Province.
ZAWA communications and public relations officer Mwila Muliyunda said in a statement issued in Lusaka on Wednesday that the 25 youths will be trained in wildlife skills.
Nyamaluma Training Institute is accredited under the Technical Education, Vocation and Entrepreneurship Authority (TEVETA).
Ms Muliyunda said the training will run from September to December, 2014 and upon successful completion, another batch is expected to be recruited and numbers increased from the initial 25 students.
â€œZAWA has positioned itself to carry out such trainings to properly equip prospective tour guides with the necessary skills needed to conduct operations in National Parks, GMAs and protected areas,â€ she said.
Ms Muliyunda said ZAWA is equipping tour guides with skills to guarantee the safety, security and enriched local wildlife knowledge for tourists in national parks.
She said ZAWA will also ensure that majority of the resource persons in the training are drawn from the institution to ensure consistency.
â€œGraduates will also be encouraged to start their own tour guide firms and create employment for themselves and others,â€ Ms Muliyunda said.
She also said the move will supplement Government efforts to empower youths and create employment in wildlife communities.
Ms Muliyunda said this will ultimately reduce poaching as youths will now be given an opportunity to create livelihoods that will be ploughed back to conservation of wildlife resources.
By STEVEN MVULA