Charitable contributions are sometimes looked at with scepticism. When we say a portion of our profits go towards African wild dog conservation, it is hard to quantify exactly where it makes landfall and which specific programmes it goes towards, unless it is a direct contribution like the one we make every year to Children in the Wilderness.

The Tusk Trust is a large organisation with many beneficiaries, but our contributions are designated to African wild dog conservation organisations we specify. One of them is the African Wildlife Conservation Fund.

Jeremy got this email

“Hi Jeremy,

I hope all is well your side 🙂

We wanted to forward you the below since the funds received were so kindly designated by you in support of our work, thank you!

The money could not have come at a better time and was used to support the logistical costs of distributing library books to an additional 30 schools – which you will know is an incredible worthwhile initiative.

Thanks again for thinking of us, with warmest regards from Zimbabwe,

Jess and Rosemary”

Children at Machoka Primary carry the books into their new library

The African Wildlife Conservation Fund, like many other organisations we support, believes that uplifting education in the local communities helps uplift the communities, opens a dialogue between communities and conservationists, and will have a long term benefit to the wildlife and humans in rural areas.  As part of its education programme, it supports 123 rural primary schools around the Gonarezhou National Park and the Savé Valley Conservancy

Offloading at St Peters Primary

The AWCF has set up libraries in many of the schools it supports but the logistics of getting books to those remote schools is a bit of a headache. Books for these libraries are donated by the Zambesi Schoolbook Project and Books for Africa and arrive at headquarters in bulk. In May 2017, the AWCF received a full container of library books and, with another one due in September, the pressure to get books out to the schools was immense.

The children at Matikwa Primary get involved offloading the books

The Tusk money allowed them to deliver 30 000 books (1000 books to 30 schools) which in turn will benefit 18 000 primary school students, their teachers and very often, their wider communities as some of the school libraries are open to their immediate communities. The library project has had a significant impact on the literacy levels at these under resourced schools, as well as the pass rates in those schools. According to statistics gathered, the schools supported by AWCF had a 20% higher pass rate, than schools not supported by AWCF. In addition, the slight bias towards conservation themed books in the libraries has increased conservation awareness in the communities.

Victor Chibaya of AWCF helps setup the library at Maronga Primary

The AWCF has now established 106 libraries in the 123 schools they support, and the September shipment will establish the final 14  and top up the ones that are open to community members.

This is not the first time Painted Wolf has been involved helping the AWCF supported schools. Four years ago, in 2013, we completed a Pedals4Paws ride from Mana Pools to Gonarezhou. As part of that ride, we visited local under-resourced schools and presented them with stationery and other school supplies. We were thrilled to be able to see their art projects,  where we were depicted on our bikes alongside African wild dogs. To see all the photos from that ride – visit the album on our facebook page. Or see the film on Youtube

Thank you to our UK people

There will be other projects and other beneficiaries from our wine sales and we thank our distributors, north south wines as well as all the wine merchants who carry our wines and promote them. Most of all thank you to all the wine and wild dog lovers in the UK, who buy our wines and make it possible for us to help some tiny rural primary schools become conservation education leaders.

Come and meet Jeremy

Jeremy will be in the UK for most of September, attending wine pairing dinners and in-store tastings across the country. We will be publishing a full list of times and places on Friday so that you can meet up with him and find out what’s new in the world of wine wanderings and wild dogs