Promoting an integrated approach

2016-11-09 06:00

THE Duzi-Umgeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) is to pilot an environmental river health and youth service and skills development project in 2017 in Ashdown and Imbali in partnership with two local township based youth and environment organisations to test innovative solutions towards addressing both environmental and local economic development challenges in the city’s Edendale townships.

The Msunduzi River Health Youth Situated Learning Pilot Project is being undertaken under the auspices of DUCT’s Msunduzi Green Corridor Project.

It is a learning and capacity building initiative to provide 12 carefully selected unemployed, out-of-school post-matriculant youth in Ashdown and Imbali under the age of 25, with an opportunity to become “enviro champs” and undertake a structured and supervised one-year programme of practical environmental project implementation as well as skills development in environmental research, monitoring and education in their local community.

The enviro champs will be required to assist a local river restoration project, remove alien species, facilitate clean ups, engage in conservation agricultural enterprises, and undertake systematic monitoring functions along targeted sections of the river.

As importantly the enviro champs will be supported to develop skills and experience as part of their vocational development in order to create sustainable livelihoods and enterprises in the green economy in fields such as recycling and up-cycling, conservation agriculture, arts and craft, and environmental education.

The project is being undertaken in partnership with Liberty NPO in Imbali and Sakhisizwe Community Education Programme (SCEP) EP in Ashdown, and is being partially funded through the Global Environmental Fund Small Funds Grant Programme (GEFSGP) with co-funding from WWF Nedbank Green Trust through its support of the Msunduzi Green Corridor

Candidates need to be out-of-school youth between the ages of 18 and 25 who have completed matric and live permanently in Imbali’s Wards 15, 17 and 19, or in the Ashdown-Peace Valley 2 (Ward 23) localities. Successful participants will need to have good language skills in Zulu and English, good English reading and writing skills, enjoy working with the community and children, and enjoy working practically in the outdoors.

Although the project is not currently formally accredited, the intention of the pilot project is to develop it into an accredited programme and ensure its replication more broadly across the city.

Eco champs will receive a stipend (living allowance) for the duration of the structured programme in 2017 (one year), which will cover their living expenses, local transport and communication costs.

The project is designed to contribute towards addressing three priority problems in the Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) Municipal area and local city economy.

Firstly, the rapid environmental decline of the health of the Msunduzi River and the broader catchment due to high levels of sewerage, solid waste and industrial pollution and alien invasive plant infestation with significant consequences for water security, community health and the local and regional economy if not arrested and reversed.

Secondly, the high levels of unemployment in Pietermaritzburg’s townships, particularly among youth under the age of 25 and their diminished prospects for finding employment in the struggling formal market economy.

Thirdly, the challenge of securing relevant skills development and work experience for post-matric youth living in townships where significant numbers under the age of 25 are neither working nor attending formal training and education institutions due to high levels of household poverty and issues of affordability and education and training accessibility.

For application inquiries contact Imbali - Liberty NPO – Mlu Ntuli on 073 196 1071, Ashdown – SCEP – Sibu Khanyile on 083 329 4554, DUCT – SLP Project liaison officer – Lethu Mahlaba on 033 345 0123 or 072 086 6059 or lethu@duct.org.za

- Supplied.

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