Environmental education sets a platform that increases knowledge and awareness of the environment around us. EE exposes various individuals of all backgrounds to environmental problems being faced, and therefore provides a social platform to discuss a better way forward.
The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve is committed to the environmental education of the public and wants to place a strong focus on schools, especially in the surrounding areas. The CWCBR is currently working on developing an Environmental Education and Training strategy, which will provide a framework for planning and the implementation of awareness, education and training intervention strategies.
Current educational projects:
Mountain to the Sea Environmental and Life Skills Project
The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve Company have partnered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning ("DEA&DP), local communities and local organisations in order to provide an initiative to young and inspired leaders who posses a passion for nature. The project aims to provide groups of young people from the disadvantaged communities an opportunity to explore and experience the beauty of nature, and an opportunity to learn about our natural environment. Many of these individuals have never been on our Mountain before, neither have they set foot on our warm sandy shores and cool waters.
The project, which has two donors, namely the DEA&DP covering the administration and management of the project and the Dutch Embassy covering implementation costs, seeks to utilize the opportunity to educate our youth about the importance of conserving our natural environment, as well as on social problems we face in the community.
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We aim to utilize our national monument, Table Mountain, our internationally renowned RAMSAR site, our Langebaan Lagoon and our national park, the West Coast National Park to instill a sense of pride in our youth as well as our San community project, !Khwa ttu.
To date, the majority of our community youth are extremely aware that these sites are visited by tourists, who are able to learn more about our mountain and coast than the people living in our communities, adjacent to these natural wonders. We, the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve Company, are attempting to bring the Mountain and Sea to our Communities. Further educational aspects include the importance of Conserving Water; how to use Water Wisely, and without Misusing our Water. Littering is a very large problem within our communities that create a bad reflection to our Tourism whom visit our Townships and Communities, so this initiative also aims to educate the youth about littering. The different aspects that this project covers, includes empowering disadvantaged youth with regard to:
- Training in facilitation and leadership skills
- Social issues and how to address them
- The history and cultural value of Table Mountain, the Langebaan Lagoon and the West Coast Fossil Park
- Our precious floral kingdom
- Awareness in sustainable utilisation of our natural resources, including wise water usage
- Our role to accomplish a clean environment where we live
- Bio diversity conservation
- Hope by visiting a successful community driven and owned project within the West Coast National Park
- The underlying basis of this project proposal is partnerships, where existing and/or possible partnerships include Government; schools; organizations such as !Khwa ttu, The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, the West Coast Fossil Park, WESSA, SANParks; and the private sector.
2. Why these are the best places to solve our problems
Firstly, we want the groups to experience the Mountain and the Sea, so that they can have a sense of ownership and belonging to them. These places are different environments to what they are accustomed to in the community environment. On the Mountain it is quiet and peaceful; at the sea it can be both powerful and tranquil. It is within that quietness, tranquility, peacefulness and power that we will utilize spreading the awareness about littering, the vitality of water, our Cape Floral kingdom, and other discussions. We felt that the Mountain and the Sea would be the exemplary places in regard to the issues that we want to tackle with our youth – here there is no litter, so when we discuss litter, the mountain and the sea are tangible examples of what we expect out of our Communities.
The focus will not only on be on environmental issues; it is critical that social issues are tackled as well. The Mountain and the Sea can be used as tools to address these social issues - as places of refuge; spirituality and power. Issues that will be addressed include HIV/Aids. This discussion will focus on HIV/Aids as the malicious killer of the Nation, so that our young people can be reminded about the dangers and consequences of unprotected sex.
3. Beneficiaries of the project
Youth from different High Schools across the greater City of Cape Town, Atlantis, Mamre, Pella, Darling, Hopefield, Du Noon, Witsand, Brit Bay, Saldanha, St. Helena Bay, Vredenburg, Abbots, Illinge Lethu, Velddrift and Malmesbury Environmental Clubs situated within our Communities.
The reason for focusing on these target groups is that the youth are a large majority of the ones that litter and who waste water. However, more importantly, they can then in turn educate their parents who spend their day working and do not have the same opportunities that their children have because of this; and they can also educate other learners about what have learnt through this project.
In order to achieve the implementation of the project, the CWCBR Company approached a number of organisations, both local and national, including:
- The City of Cape Town:- The City provides much needed resources for this programme as part of their YES Programme
- The Dutch Embassy: - Specifically The Netherlands Ministry Of Agriculture, Nature And Food Quality for funding through their KNIP Programme. The Ministry provided the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve R250 000 to implement this project.
- The West Coast Fossil Park: - In order to incorporate their existing training programme into this project programme and to utilise their facilities in order to reduce expenses
- The West Coast National Park: - For technical advice on bio diversity related topics specific to the West Coast and its ocean; to encourage opportunities for synergy in their educational programme provided through the park into this project, and in order to utilise their facilities at a reduced rate where appropriate
- Table Mountain National Park: - Through this project we will be meeting the capacity building agenda that TMNP has for the youth and thus will be combining our expertise to effectively implement the mountain component whilst utilising the TMNP accommodation and facilities at a reduced rate.
- Windstone Backpackers and Riding Centre: - In order to incorporate their existing educational programme where appropriate into this project programme and to utilise their facilities at a reduced rate.
- WESSA: - More specifically the Eco-Education Trainer for the communities situated within the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve boundaries such as Atlantis, Mamre, Pella, Darling, Hopefield, amongst other, junior and high schools as an entry person into the schools and in order to gain access to the appropriate age group and facilities; such as transportation where possible
- IKhwa Ttu:- !Khwa ttu is our West Coast's San Community Project. This project brings in culture as well as origin for many of our communities on the West Coast.
- The Partnerships that have been sought will benefit the project through the provision of expertise, the use of facilities at reduced rates, for example, whilst at the same time broadening the touch, see, smell, hear experience to topics that include awareness and education emanating from the existing programme being implemented in the area, such as the West Coast Fossil Park and West Coast National Park educational programmes.
- LandCare Youth and education project:
- The objective is to help young people to develop their physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual capacities as individuals and as members of society, and thus contribute to the implementation of sustainable development with respect to our natural resources, and finally to the development of a better world.
- The project aims to empower disadvantaged youth with regard to:
- Training in facilitation and leadership skills
- Awareness in Sustainable agriculture
- Implementing small projects that directly aim to promote LandCare principles and indirectly to promoting the LandCare programme
- Providing the skills necessary to increase food security at homes and at schools (through provision of skills in: making food gardens; soil conservation; water utilization; alien vegetation eradication etc)
- Awareness in sustainable utilization of natural resources
- Bio diversity conservation