PACE Champions have featured in our news and Facebook posts for the past six months so we thought it was time to introduce some of these exceptional and committed educators who are using their own energy and means to do so much valuable work on the ground.
Our Champions programme started in July 2016 but everyone involved has been active in the PACE community for much longer than that. They act as a point of contact in their areas, support monitoring and evaluation and local problem-solving, and as far as possible will provide training and follow-up for stakeholders local to them. Penny Fraser, the PACE coordinator since July 2016 coordinates the Champions programme, she is an RGS fellow who has lived and worked conservation and education in West Central Africa for more than 20 years and been using PACE in work with UNAFAS and ISTP in Cameroon since 2006.
Denis AGABA Denis is a primary school teacher and passionate conservationist who works tirelessly with environmental clubs in Uganda. He mentors youngsters, community leaders and teachers locally, nationally and beyond. Denis says he loved nature even as a small boy - at secondary school he joined and became a leader in the Wildlife and Red Cross Clubs “being a leader meant that I went to workshops and seminars where I learned more and was inspired to love nature even more. When I went to college, those clubs didn’t exist so I started them.”
Denis qualified as a primary school teacher at the Kyambogo University of Kampala in Uganda. “When I graduated as a Grade three teacher in 1999, I represented the Uganda Red Cross society at the International Youth Camp in Tanzania where I worked on environmental conservation programmes that included planting trees around Mount Kilimanjaro and Arusha. When I returned to Uganda, I started a program to green first the school where I taught (Mutolere Primary School) and then nearby schools.” He completed a Wildlife Management Course with Wildlife Clubs of Uganda and then took courses on Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Education in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. He organizes teacher training and student educational visits to Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks and working with Wildlife Clubs of Uganda and the Project for the Conservation of Great Apes - the Sebitoli Chimpanzee Project Denis set up YAGA -Young Ambassadors for Great Apes - around Bwindi, Kibale and Mgahinga National Parks. YAGAs use Music, dance and drama for community education to tackle poaching and chimpanzee snaring. In his work with Wildlife Clubs of Uganda Denis has run the innovative Pedal power Cinema Project which takes educational films to rural schools and communities that lack electricity. In 2015 Denis received an International Award of the Primate Education Network's ‘Lessons Learnt’ Challenge. Denis has travelled outside as well within Africa for his work. He took a team of five children to Paris for the International Year of the Gorilla at the French National Museum for National History and in 2013 led a tour that took pedal power films to schools in the UK, to the African Royal Society in the UK and culminated in a fundraising event with Sir David Attenborough at the Savoy Hotel in London.
Denis has been using PACE in Uganda since 2010, last year he was part of the PACE team of five who presented at the EEASA (Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa) conference in Johannesburg.
Dzelagha Banboye Frederick
Banboye Fred, a PACE Champion in Cameroon, is an exceptional educator, social and environmental campaigner. He qualified as a natural science teacher at the Higher Teachers Training College Bambili-Bamenda and then taught biology for 14 years in English speaking Presbyterian Colleges in Cameroon. He earned the highest grades of his class during his bachelor’s degree course at the University of Bamenda in 2014 and is currently completing a master’s programme in Food and Bio-resource technology. Renowned for his energy and commitment, innovative practical teaching and ability to engage learners in dynamic cooperative learning Fred’s students consistently achieve excellent results at GCE Ordinary and Advanced levels. Schools across the country regularly recruit him to provide exam preparation sessions for their students. PACE has been part of Fred’s portfolio since 2012 when he attended a workshop run by our long-standing partners ISTP and UNAFAS at Safari Lodge in Bali.
Banboye’s CV illustrates his commitment to education: he is an A-level biology examiner, has contributed to numerous ESD publications, published a series of books on Biology and Social education, regularly contributes questions to the GCE Board and is an executive member of the North West Biology Teachers Association. Fred mentors teachers in French speaking schools and runs professional development courses which are greatly valued in the education community. Fred contributed to numerous innovative Conservation Values and ESD research and development projects, assisted with undergraduate ESD training, and as a UNAFAS associate co-presented PACE work in Cameroon at the AIDE 2013 conference in Yaounde.
Fred Banboye has been a PACE Champion for Cameroon since August 2016. He is married and blessed with five sons.
Laure Diffomen is newer to PACE, she was a star pupil on the first course we ran at the University Evangelique in Mboua/Bandjoun in 2014. Laure, an experienced and passionate geography teacher was taking a degree course in Education Sciences at the time.
Laure now works as a secondary geography teacher in Nkongsamba at the foot of Mount Manengouba in West Cameroon. The volcanic Bakossi, Manengouba and Kupe mountains are one of Africa’s richest centres of biodiversity. Laure earned a first class degree at UEC and is now an Advanced Skills Teacher within her own EEC school system. She helps with translation (French to English) and co-facilitates the PACE courses we run in the region. She continues to organize regular environmental sustainability projects in her own school, in often challenging conditions – she has a real appreciation of the realities that teachers have to contend with.
Josia is an accomplished researcher and conservation biologist from Madagascar. She completed her PhD in Lemur Ecology at Oxford Brookes University in 2012, the quality of which was acknowledged when she was awarded a prestigious Whitley Award ‘for bringing sustainable benefits to local people while also protecting newly-discovered populations of endangered crowned sifaka lemurs in Madagascar’. Josia has been a central figure in the Malagasy Primate Working Group and does tremendous community development work in Lemur conservation areas through the NGO IMPACT Madagascar. Josia teaches at the government teacher training college Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) at the University of Antanarivo in Madagascar. She has designed and run courses that help trainee teachers at ENS integrate local conservation and environmental issues into their routine teaching work. Many of her students have become involved in community education projects in the rural areas where they teach, or work as trainers in the PACE trainings that IMPACT Madagascar provide for community, government and school education stakeholders. Josia also works on building capacity to realise her governments recent requirement for environmental projects in schools. She was a finalist for a TUSK COnservation Award in 2013.
Josia was on the team representing PACE at the EEASA (Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa) Conference in Johannesburg last October, photographed here with Claude Njoya a PACE partner from Cameroon . The organisers were excited because she was the first participant from Madagascar – we are all excited that the extensive PACE network Josia has built up in Madagascar will now be connected to EEASA members across the wider region.