Hunting associations throughout the world not only take a keen interest in wild life conservation but frequently are leaders in environmental education of the youth. Zimbabwe Hunters Association is no exception.
Zimbabwe Hunters Association (ZHA) developed the Rifa Conservation Education Programme. The main objective of the programme is to create awareness and appreciation amongst Zimbabweans, particularly the youth, of the need to conserve the environment.
In 1980 the ZHA acquired a concession over the Rifa safari area of Hurungwe, Zambezi Valley. The ZHA agreed it was the duty of hunters to put something back to the middle Zambezi valley to compensate for the pleasures they were privileged to enjoy in the wilderness of Rifa. It was realized that particularly the young people of this country had less and less opportunity to enjoy and learn about the wildlife resources and wilderness areas of Zimbabwe. Thus was born the idea of establishing an education centre for Zimbabweans, in particular the youth. By interesting young people in wild places it was felt that the foundations could be laid for future conservation endeavours in this country.
Between 1982 – 1986 a succession of courses were run out of tented camps. These camps led to the development of a more permanent facility and programme in 1987.
The present Rifa site 500m down stream from the Chipandaure River, and only 4 ½ Km up stream from Chirundu, has greatly simplified the transport problem.
An average of 1200 Zimbabwean school children and adults participate in the Rifa programme annually.
With the Zimbabwean dollar crashing, funding has become a major concern as the programme expenses exceed ZHA resources. One of the major cornerstones of this programme has been the voluntary input from members of the ZHA, but unfortunately due to many members leaving the country membership has diminished considerably.