DONATE was founded almost 20 years ago with the purpose of introducing young black South African children to the wonderful world of owls, their beauty as well as their enormous potential as partners in the control and management of rats within the often rodent infested and impoverished communities in which they live. In order to achieve this, it was essential to demystify the negative stigma attached to owls in Southern Africa.

20 years on, 260 000 children and their parents have participated in the programme. A simple question to many urban South African child regarding owls will be met with the instantaneous answer, "they eat rats''.  Many informal settlement schools now enjoy occupied owl boxes of their own and participate in owl pellet dissection programmes that contribute greatly to owl/prey data analysis. The programme has been presented at 2 world owl conferences and was awarded the Birdlife Africa Award for Conservation as well as an award from the International Owl Center in Houston, Minnesota. is now underway with the continuation of this programme into other parts of South Africa as well as into our neighbouring African countries. The cornerstone of this programme is educational, although social and economic consideration is vital for the programme's success. In Africa, with its kaleidoscope of problems, from poverty, corruption, political and social unrest, the maxim "Without education there can be no conservation" could not be more true.