Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust: Sharing knowledge

Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust was first established in 1998 by Steve and Anna Tolan who used the land given to them by the local chief, Chief Kakumbi, to build an education center. 

It took them a few years to get it started and in 2001 they opened the Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre. Since then their project has kept growing and now encompasses a wide range of other conservation and community projects. 

Conservation Education

Their conservation education programmes encompass a wide range of educational activities and lessons, including:

• Visits to the Conservation Education Centre from pupils of 6 local schools.

• An expansive conservation education outreach programme with activities and lessons in the Conservation Clubs (senior level) and Chongololo Clubs (junior level) at 17 local schools.

• Regular field excursions into the National Park for research or game viewing.

• The Chipembele Rangers Scheme, with badges awarded for Junior and Senior Ranger status.

• Environmental campaigns in the community (anti-litter, deforestation, anti-poaching etc).

• Tree planting schemes.

• An annual Inter-schools Wildlife Quiz and Pupil of the Year awards.

• Daily computer training programmes.

• Chipembele Conservation Scholarships (in conjunction with Zambian Carnivore Programme) for a small number of starred pupils, encouraging and steering them into tertiary education in sciences or wildlife related fields.

• Access to the Chipembele Student Resource Office with laptops, satellite Internet, widescreen TV and DVD player and a range of wildlife and conservation books, films and magazines for the students to come and watch or read at their leisure.

Chipembele also runs a small but efficient wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre and have, over the years rescued many orphans and injured animals, nursing them to health or adulthood and releasing them to the wild. Their rehabilitation work is authorised by the Zambia Wildlife Authority.

Gender Awareness Programme

Their Gender Awareness Programme compliments Chipembele’s Gender Policy and is threaded through all their programme design and implementation. It also guides the day to day management of staff and administrative practices. 

In addition the Gender Awareness Programme enhances the Chipembele Conservation Programme. It was developed to ensure all their teaching addresses gender equality and encourages respect for all among the students and communities they work with. 

Each month the students in their Senior and Junior Conservation clubs engage in a gender based activity that emphasises how "everyone has equal rights regardless of their gender and that they should respect and value people of the opposite sex as their equals in all aspects of their lives".

Pupil Sponsorship Scheme

Chipembele runs a Pupil Sponsorship Scheme for orphaned and vulnerable students from primary through to tertiary level. 

They also support a number of disabled or sick children with the provision of appropriate medical treatment, equipment or other needs when they arise, and support needy families in the community with monthly food parcels and clothes.

Schools Improvement Schemes

Chipembele has been assisting local Government schools since 1998 and has carried out a wide range of improvement projects including the construction of new buildings (e.g. classrooms, toilet blocks, a 48-bed girls’ dormitory, teacher housing and a library) and the renovation of old buildings. 

It has also paid the wages of untrained teachers, school cooks, supplied furniture (including hundreds of desks), thousands of books and large quantities of equipment, stationery and sports kit. Their projects are ongoing and continually adapting to the needs of the schools and community, as and when they arise and funds allow.

Environmental Protection

Chipembele has a seat on the Board of Trustees of Conservation South Luangwa (CSL). CSL is a local conservation organisation that supports anti-poaching, darting and treatment of snared or otherwise injured animals and various community conservation projects. Steve is also a Senior Honorary Wildlife Police Officer and is actively involved in wildlife and habitat protection.

Scientific Research

Chipembele has also made close ties and links with many scientific research organisations, teams and individuals from all over the world. Help is offered to them through logistical support and practical advice for scientific, archaeological and paleontological research in the area.

To read more about what they do, visit and/or donate, check out 

Picture: Chipembele