IFHC takes conservation educational outreach model to Kazakhstan

31 January 2023, 14:36
IFHC takes conservation educational outreach model to Kazakhstan

ABU DHABI. KAZINFORM The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) has launched its first pilot creative short story competition for rural school children in Shayan, Kazakhstan, where the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre – Kazakhstan is located.

The announcement is based on a decision by the IFHC's Board of Directors to expand the educational conservation programme to countries where the Fund operates its overseas centres, WAM reports.

The competition is designed to encourage the youth to love nature and become conservationists, while boosting IFHC's relation with the local community; an effort that aligns with the Fund's objective to provide socio-economic support to the countries where it operates.

The key theme of the competition, «Challenges and Solutions in Biodiversity Conservation», was highlighted in 40 creative illustrated short stories about endangered native species from participants of the various surrounding schools. Fifteen stories were shortlisted and published in a book in Kazakh and Russian.

Organised by the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre in Kazakhstan (SKHBC-KZ), the ceremony was attended by key Kazakh officials and from the Shayan region, with active participation from Reneco International Wildlife Consultants’ employees and full support from the UAE Embassy in Astana, which provided all facilities to the work team.

Following a welcome speech from IFHC Director-General and teachers from participating schools, awards were delivered on a background of traditional music and pre-recorded short interviews with the winners. The event concluded with a small concert featuring local folk bands.

Commenting on the event, Mohammed Saleh Hasan Al Baidani, Director-General of the IFHC, said, «Outreach and communication are integral to our work. Educating the youth about protecting nature and wildlife species is key to ensuring the future of our global environment. After successfully working with schools in the UAE over the past few years, we are now bringing our educational outreach program to Kazakhstan. We were delighted with the overwhelming response from students who enthusiastically took part in the short story competition and carried out extensive research to identify endangered native species.

«The different characters featured in their stories included the red wolf, the snow leopard, the saiga antelope, the argali mountain sheep and of course the bustard, an emblematic species in both our countries. This event was highly successful and garnered positive feedback from both teachers and students. We are encouraged to know that our future youth generation is eager to support our work, and we hope that some will become advocates for nature protection and conservation of heritage and wildlife in the future.»

The IFHC delegation, led by the Director General, included Hamda Al Ameri from the Education Department; Ali Al Shamsi and Olga Tanasevych, Comms Specialist at the IFHC.

Al Baidani expressed his thanks to the UAE Embassy in Kazakhstan, and to local officials who attended the ceremony, along with school principals, teachers, participating students, Reneco International Wildlife Consultants’ management, and all those who contributed to the success of the ceremony.

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