Zimbabwe as a whole hasn't had a great start to 2019 with spiralling inflation, riots in some places and shortages of various goods, including fuel, all of which have impacted on the work we do, particularly the fuel shortage which is causing problems with anti-poaching work and, of course, running the pumps at waterholes still dependent on diesel. Fortunately, many of the pumps in Hwange are now operating using solar power so they have managed to keep running - just as well as the rains so far this season haven't been too good.
Unfortunately, even solar pumps have had problems and in early November Stephen Long at Sinamatella discovered that the solar installation at Shumba pan had suffered extensive damage (see above). Stephen wasn't sure whether to blame elephant damage or the recent high winds but either way the damage needed to be repaired which is exactly what he and his team did:
'It took us one day to travel out to Shumba, dismantle the mess and bring it back to Sinamatella, the next day to make a new frame from bits of the old one and a third to get it all re-assembled and pumping.....We were slightly lucky with this pump. It normally runs off nine panels but it will pump in good sunlight with just seven. Only two of the panels were completely wrecked so we got it re-started on those as soon as we had 'panel-beaten' the frame. I was afraid we might struggle to find replacements for the other two because solar stuff becomes obsolete so quickly but Trevor Lane had one in the store at Victoria Falls and Forster Irrigation in Bulawayo had one so as soon as those reached us we slotted them in as well and we were back to full power.'
It seems fairly clear to HCS that solar power is going to become increasingly important in the years to come. It offers a lot of advantages over using diesel-fuelled pumps - the pumps are much quieter, there is normally an abundance of sunshine in Zimbabwe (ie free power) and of course it is a much more environmentally friendly way of powering the pumps. The only downside, and it's a big one, is the huge start-up cost. However, we have decided as one of our major projects this year to help a sister organisation, Friends of Hwange, with a project to put in a solar-powered installation at Kennedy 1 pan and we have donated £3,000.00 towards this project. We hope to have regular updates on the progress of this work through the months to come.
We also ended 2018 on a very positive note with the award of a grant of £3,500.00 from the T.D. Paton Trust, a great end to the year with the certainty of being able to contribute a decent sum to the above project. Our thanks to the Trust for continuing to support our work so generously.
Needless to say, this doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels and we are still fund-raising hard. Our Christmas cards sold very well and the HCS notelets continue to be a good fund-raiser for us - please do consider buying some if you can - order form below. If anyone feels they can contribute any further donations of whatever size, please do feel free! Every single penny, we promise, will be used for the benefit of the wildlife of Hwange National Park.
IMPORTANT APPEAL - PLEASE HELP WITH OUR ANTI-POACHING WORK!
If, like us, you love animals and hate seeing them suffer, please could you donate towards our anti-poaching work? The work is very important, even more so these days as poaching is a huge problem in this area due to the dire economic situation currently obtaining in Zimbabwe. Animals are losing their lives every day and we are doing our level best to help as much as we can. If you can find it in you to make a donation, however small, please know that every penny will go towards alleviating the suffering of the wildlife. If everyone who visited this site would just donate £1.00 it would be a big help. Please consider doing this. Just visit our How to Help page or contact any of the committee members on the Contact Us page.
If you have enjoyed visiting this web site and reading about what we do to help Hwange National Park and its wildlife, would you be prepared to help us further? The best way to help us is by joining as a member or making a donation but we recognise that many people are unable to give this commitment; however, there are many ways of helping the wildlife of Hwange National Park at no cost to you:
- Could you display a poster about HCS somewhere in your local community?
- We also have home collecting boxes which people use to collect small change in. Perhaps you would consider taking one of these and sending us the small change from time to time? Small change can make a big difference! Maybe you could even persuade friends, family or colleagues to take one?
- Perhaps you know someone who loves wildlife and would be interested in our work - please pass on our contact details and encourage them to get involved. We are particularly keen to get people to visit our web site and Facebook page so if you could encourage people to do this, it would be a great help.
- We also save postage stamps which we use in different ways to raise funds. Perhaps you could save stamps for us and encourage others to do so?
If you would be interested in doing any of the above, please contact Anne Wilkinson (full details on CONTACT US page). Posters and/or collecting boxes can be sent out at no charge and we are always happy to send out information on our charity to prospective members.
A NEW WAY OF FUNDRAISING FOR HCS ...
HCS is now registered as a charity on easyfundraising.org.uk - if you ever shop online with retailers such as Amazon, John Lewis, etc., you have the chance to raise a little extra for Hwange's wildlife at the same time. Simply register on the site and then search for the shop or item you wish to purchase. You can then click through from easyfundraising to the relevant supplier's web site and make your purchase in the normal way. This visit is recorded by easyfundraising and a percentage of your purchase price is donated to HCS. It costs you nothing extra so we do hope that people will take advantage of this free way of raising funds for us. I have tried it myself and it really is as easy as it sounds! Please take a look at our dedicated page at:
Hello to all Ebay fans ... do you use Ebay to sell items? Did you know you can now donate a percentage of your profits to HCS when you sell something? If you qualify for gift aid you can even arrange for Ebay to collect the gift aid on your behalf. HCS is now registered as a charity on Ebay in conjunction with PayPal Just Giving. If you are interested in helping us in this way, please go to the main Ebay page, go to the bottom and click on the link 'Buy for Charity' or 'Sell for Charity'. Either link will take you to the charity information page where you can get more information about how to use this method of fundraising. You can even make a one-off donation!