WWF and ERS are collaborating as co-hosts for 40 interns per year, over 3 years, in the rural Eastern Cape. The focus of the co-hosting is on providing exposure to and skills for fostering careers rooted in the rural green economy and water security sphere, as part of an Ecofutures programme.
The aim this project is to facilitate healthy catchment actions aimed at restoring and
maintaining 1500ha rangeland, including control of 330ha
alien plant infestation
replenish water recharge. An M&E system shall be established to monitor stream flow and
silt load, with target indicators for a 3 year period, as well as a citizen science-based
monitoring system for regular recording and capturing of data and indicators. The outputs
shall be at least six monitoring points with relevant indicators, a user friendly system
in place to record and capture monitoring data in field and office respectively, and a
developed baseline against which monitoring trends can be tracked in relation to targets.
Another objective of the project is to create employment for 120 youth members (40 each year
for 3 years), and to delelop their various skills concerned with the project. The project also
aims at fostering partnerships to sustain an active network of effective catchment role players.
All activities shall be undertaken under written permission for land access for such a task.
The project shall last a year, and provide the youth with some tuition on the following
- Livestock production for income generation which will teach you the importance of taking care of the land and working together as a community to take care of all the land and water resources that benefit you, your animals and your family, and how to make money out of taking care of them.
that will help you as young people in Matatiele to appreciate the beauty of your mountains, rivers, people and the food we eat, and share with others what your area and village can offer to visitors.
- You will learn about food security that is, the different methods that teach you how to produce enough food for your family and still have enough to sell.
- Fire protection and veld condition monitoring – as we all know, livestock production, ecotourism and food production all require healthy productive land, not land that is eroded and has run away wild fires every year. You will learn about fire danger and how to stop the destructive fires, and make the land healthy and productive. You will also learn about the importance of not hunting (ecotourism depends on the presence of wildlife!).
Alien vegetation management
– most of you have come across the teams of people who are cutting wattle (jwabasele) and I hope you have tried to find out why. Wattle is a tree which does not belong to South Africa (alien), that has the ability to kill other plants because it takes up so much water. The teams normally cut the trees and stack them across the slope to prevent soil erosion. A lot of the wood is also taken for use by households as fire wood or as construction material. What we would like to happen now is, instead of just stacking the wood or using it here and there, we would like to introduce a more formal way of converting the biomass (trees, branches and in some cases leaves), to manufacture more useful items for use in households, or for the market. Items made from wattle can include poles, charcoal, green furniture, photo frames and others. It is important for you to learn these skills so that you can support yourselves and your families.
- Bee keeping is one of the businesses that young people can develop and make money out of, and this can be done in the wattle trees and other places. The honey from the bees can be sold and good money made out of it.
- Protection of important water sources – springs and rivers used by the communities are under severe stress from pollution by livestock, erosion and poor waste management including people throwing used nappies in the streams. As a result the water close to the communities is not suitable for drinking or for using in households, otherwise it make people very sick. Government has tried to put piped water in the villages but the pipes get destroyed by storms and it takes a long time to get them fixed. Skills are needed from young people to know how to protect the water resources.
- Waste recycling and re-purposing – general waste such as paper, plastic, glass and metal are generally left on the landscapes and have become a problem for the communities. Some people burn their waste but this not the best way of managing it. What is needed to for people with appropriate skills to recycle the waste and make income out of it.
- Environmental awareness – a lot of people don’t understand that some of their actions such as throwing rubbish everywhere, burning the veld and poor grazing management can cause long-term damage to the surroundings. The young people that will be trained are expected to work hard and make their communities aware of the consequences of their actions, and help them to apply corrective measures.
The concept of YES support would involve:
- Using the Ecofutures model to identify and recruit suitable youth with no tertiary access opportunities, in walking proximity to our project sites.
- Provide 3 month basic training
- Facilitate on-site or in-service training for 9-12 months with local mentors
- Explore placement and support for small enterprise development options post 12-month period
The programme has been presented to the Matatiele Local and Alfred Nzo District Municipalities, including the Deputy Mayor of the District, and Youth Affairs portfolio head, with great appreciation for the contribution by First Rand, WWF and ERS towards tackling youth unemployment.