2018 WESSA Annual Review

WESSA Annual Review 2017/2018


WESSA is a 92-year-old youth- ful and vibrant organisation and we are extremely proud of our rich history in South African con- servation and environmental ed- ucation. WESSA researches, de- velops and implements focused accredited and non-accredited environmental, ecotourism, ed- ucation and youth development programmes throughout South Africa. We are the sole and proud im- plementor of all the internation- al Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) programmes in South Africa, as well as an im- plementor of choice of various youth programmes on behalf of government and the private sector. Our youth education programmes under the banners of Eco-Schools, Learning about Forests, Young Reporters for the Environment and Youth Entre- preneurship, together with our

four outdoor education centres, make a critical contribution to youth development by involving the 1 036 000 learners and 41 400 teachers we have a reach to every year. We are developing and giving hands-onwork experience to800 unemployed youth by means of our Blue Flag, Green Coast and other Youth Programmes. We have a volunteer member- ship footprint throughout the country, with passionate mem- bers ensuring that local conser- vation and environmental issues are addressed. We are indeed ‘People Caring for the Earth’ and we invite you to join us in our quest to become champions of the environment and achieving a more sustain- able South Africa for all.


Chairman’s Report


CEO’s Report




Ecological Infrastructure and Sustainability


Schools and Youth Programme






Schools and Youth Entrepreneurship


Young Reporters for the Environment


Learning About Forests


Water and Energy


Youth Environmental Services Programme


Work Skills




Treasure Beach


uMngeni Valley


Bush Pigs




WESSA Awards


Strategic Partners and Business Members



Professor Michael Kidd

We are happy to say that the executive management team at WESSA is performing admirably in areas such as financial security and human resources management. WESSA still stands at the forefront of environmental education. Whether the focus is on our Eco Schools programme, with close to 900 mem- ber schools and growing; our education cen- tres; or the highly-successful Work Skills unit; our educational focus is indeed impressive. One of our assets that is really a hallmark of WESSA is the uMngeni Valley reserve, that was running at a loss, and we even consid- ered selling the land at one stage. With an innovative new plan known as e-Steam – Sci- ence, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths within an environmental context – the centre is now running in the black and there are am- bitious but not unrealistic plans to improve even more. Our Bush Pigs centre in Modi- molle, Limpopo, is undergoing significant cap- ital improvements in order to build upon the loyal support it has received from numerous schools in the Gauteng region. WESSA is also heavily involved in various ecotourism initia- tives such as the well-known and established international Blue Flag Beach Programme; WESSA’s new Green Coast initiative; and an- other international eco-label, the Green Key in the hospitality industry. In keeping with our approach to public participation, WESSA also has projects aimed at youth development, where we have been identified as a quality implementer of large government-funded programmes, including two new Youth Envi- ronmental Services Programmes in the Free State and Northern Cape provinces. We still have some member groups directly involved in wildlife conservation, while our Ecological Infrastructure and Sustainability programme is currently aimed at combating one of the

world’s biggest threats to biodiversity: alien and invasive species. I have not mentioned every initiative in which WESSA is involved, but it is clear that in those areas in which we are working, we are produc- ing professional services and are giving very careful consideration on how to remain rele- vant and ahead of the game. At the WESSA annual Strategic Indaba, not only was the substantive thinking impressive, but one could not but be impressed by the energy, spirit and committed teamwork of the sixty-odd employees present. It left us confi- dent of the direction that WESSA is taking. From a Board perspective, we are tweaking things on an ongoing basis in order to ensure the optimal combination of expertise in rela- tion to both corporate governance and WES- SA’s substantive focus, as well as a fair demo- graphic representation. I am convinced that we have a highly competent and committed set of Board Members and I am proud to be at the head of such a team. I particularly want to thank Dr Howard Hendricks, whose sage sup- port as vice-chair is always appreciated. I also want to give special thanks the two regional representatives on the board, Dr Jenny Gon and Dr Paul Bartels, whose efforts particularly in relation to membership and improving its structure in the organisation have often gone beyond what could reasonably be expected. I firmly believe that we are in a position where we can face our uncertain future with confi- dence and continue to be leaders in promot- ing participation in caring for the Earth.



WESSA continues to achieve significantly and with real impact by assisting as many South Africans as possible to become People Caring for the Earth. We see ourselves as a major impact player in the areas of youth develop- ment and catalysts to support in changing human behaviour to benefit the critical role of environmental and social goals as part of a continuous process to transform business imperatives. In our efforts to mobilise public participation for doing good, we remain aware of the reasons why corporations will spend resources to address sustainability and we package our service offerings commensurate with the need, being company image, cost savings, competitive advantage, government requirements, etc. Traditional funding sources are cutting back on their philanthropy and the macro realities of greater needs with fewer re- sources confront us daily. WESSA in 2018, like so many other organisa- tions in South Africa, finds itself in the middle of a national economy trying to recover from junk status and future uncertainties with an election looming in 2019 and the build up to that election, causing a mix of feelings rang- ing from optimism about positive econom- ic change, to doomsday predictions of the economy slipping into the abyss. Irrespective any macro-economic realities, we at WESSA remain proudly South African with the true value of our impactful work a significant goal, and, in this respect, we continued with our investment for sustainable impact in four im- portant areas, namely our people, in finding the right sources of income, in holistic asset utilisation and membership. Our people strat- egy focusses on attraction, retention and de- velopment of our top talent. Talent and per- formance management continues to require a great deal of senior management time and

Dr Thommie Burger

energy. Our sources of income remain to be challeng- ing amidst the tough economic realities. We therefore must ensure that our product and service offerings attract investors, whether corporates, funding agencies, government funds for social impact and schools. Our or- ganisational structure is therefore dynamic and flexible to respond to a fast-changing eco- nomic reality and to ensure that we also have pricing strategies in place that will ensure fi- nancial sustainability and retained earnings growth. We continued with overall improvements in total asset utilisation to avoid cash and other assets not being tied up unnecessarily but be fully applied to growth initiatives. In this way, we have unlocked resources for investment in new strategic initiatives and our continuation of infrastructure upgrades for a better custom- er experience where applicable. We realise that growth without adequate investment can cause neglect and investment in innovative new service offerings like Heads, Hearts and Minds; #WESSA One Million Youth, Eco-Cam- pus, Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE), Green Key and Learning About Forests (LEAF), are all designed to create meaningful youth participation to shape the collective ac- tions in Caring for the Earth. We have dedicated a lot of energy and time with our vision for ‘Membership 2020’. The Regional membership leadership together with the WESSA Executive Committee worked very hard to define the future of membership in WESSA in the context of our socio-econom-


ic realities and demographics of our country.

tal Education (FEE) Programmes in South Af- rica. We are proud to share the international learning points from 63 countries involving 49 000 schools and 16 million students on the WESSA Eco-Schools Programme, and at the same time contextualising the content themes to suit our country’s learner and CAPS requirements. I am once again very proud to report that our overall financial performance was good. WESSA Group Reserves before extraordinary expenditure and investment fair value adjust- ment shows that the organisation has deliv- ered another resilient performance in tough economic times and, thereby, continue to contribute positively to the long-term objec- tive of financial sustainability. Year on year, income decreased by 3.6%, proj- ect book value by 2% and turnover increased by 1%. The most significant change in the Statement of comprehensive Income, is the reduction in the market value of shares in our investment portfolio of R9 million. This perfor- mance of one of the best JSE Top Stocks, is in-

In this annual review, we are once again very proud to present our wide range of impactful programmes and services touching the core of one of our country’s biggest challenges, namely our Youth. The challenges of youth unemployment are so vast and complex, but we cannot throw in the towel and must persevere in helping our youth, the decisionmakers of tomorrow, to acquire the basic skills of the job market and, more importantly, how to care for the earth. WESSA is the significant and competent im- plementor of choice for various critical youth development national programmes in South Africa. The combination of giving the youth on our programmes reputable accredited and non-accredited training and hands on work experience, contribute greatly to equipping those on the programmes, to find a better life for themselves. We continue to implement all the international Foundation for Environmen-



dicative of the overall tight economic situation referred to at the start of this report. Although the fair value downward adjustment is severe, it was reported last year that the Audit, Risk and Assurance Committee in 2017 instruct- ed management to ensure prudent actions were put in place to have flexibility around the diversification of these shares as required. Reserves before extraordinary expenses in- creased by 19%, interest income increased by 10%, and the total debtors Rand value decreased by R3.5 million, resulting in over- all debtor’s days reducing to 43 days. Project funding in advance has decreased which has resulted in a similar decrease in bank and cash. There has been considerable reinvest- ment of funds into infrastructure upgrading as a key pre-cursor for the uMngeni Valley three- year Business Growth Plan. As can be seen from the Human Resources infographic (above right), the total staff num- bers increased from 492 to 836, which is rep- resented by 738 contract employees on our programmes and 98 WESSA employees. Al- most 11 000 people benefited from our var- ious education and training programmes of which the greatest percentage consisted of the youth of various ages. WESSA adopts a systemic approach to social change in our chosen areas of influence, de- livering on our mission of “promoting partic- ipation” through the various ways we involve participants, customers, WESSA members, business, government and the public around a common agenda with shared metrics to track progress. We are “People Caring for the Earth”.

We are economically and financially sustain- able, we are social entrepreneurs, we are rel- evant, and we challenge ourselves to remain relevant. If you are reading this annual review and you are passionate about doing good, rest assured that you have ample opportunity when you partner with WESSA to do exactly that. The challenge we have set for ourselves, is to always be a 21st century relevant entity in our engagement with all stakeholders. We are very grateful to all the individuals and organ- isations who, together with WESSA, remain passionate about “Caring for the Earth”.


The WESSA Ecotourism unit currently offers two internationally recognised eco-labels through the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), these are Blue Flag (beach- es, boats and marinas) and Green Key (tourism establishments). The unit also recently developed Green Coast, a proudly South African award for sensitive and well-managed coastal sites that aim to protect coastal habitats, species or cultural heritage.

The 2017/18 period marked some im- portant milestones for the Ecotourism unit. A record number of Blue Flag mem- bers were reached over this period with a total of 62 successful awards issued (44 beaches, seven marinas and 11 boats). In an effort to improve universal access at our Blue Flag sites, the Ecotourism unit, with generous funding from the Ford Wildlife Foundation, purchased specialised am- phibious wheelchairs to be used at four of our beaches. These wheelchairs allow per- sons with disabilities to travel across the beach and enter the water. The Green Coast award was developed through an effective partnership between WESSA and our Membership division, which saw the award criteria developed and tested at five pilot sites in three of the four coastal provinces. This period also saw the start of the Green Key programme in South Africa, which provides a wonder- ful opportunity for the Ecotourism unit to work in the tourism private sector. In the first year of operation, this programme has already developed strong relationships with highly reputable international hotel brands. Our first Green Key establishment, the NH Lord Charles Hotel was awarded in early 2018. As one of the longest running eco-label implementing organisations in the country, it is our intention for Green

Key to become an industry benchmark for sustainable tourism in South Africa. The Ecotourism youth development proj- ects have achieved excellent results in the 2017/18 period, which saw our youth par- ticipants taking part in hundreds of coastal tourism events, environmental education ac- tivities, as well as the largest coastal clean-up campaign in South African history. The Tourism Blue Flag project was one of the lead implementers of the inaugural “Big Clean-up” event which took place on 16th September 2017. The work done by WESSA Tourism Blue Flag Stewards resulted in the most extensive media coverage WESSA Blue Flag has ever received in its 16 year history in South Africa. The 2017/18 period ended on a high with the official start of the Tourism Green Coast project on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. This new partnership with the Nation- al Department of Tourism will see the devel- opment and training of 100 coastal tourism guides at 25 proposed Green Coast sites. The project has captured the imagination of local communities and the tourism sector in the region, and is seen as the epitome of what the WESSA Ecotourism unit stands for.





Ecological infrastructure includes wetlands, mountain catchments, rivers, coastal dunes, and nodes and corridors of natural habitat, which together form a network of interconnected structural elements in the landscape. They give us a whole suite of services, called ecosys- tem services. These diverse ecosystems benefit peo- ple and offer the provision of goods and services. Ecosystem services, just like municipal services, play an essential role in supporting social development and economic prosperity. WESSA has four main projects under the EIS Unit: Working for Ecosystems, Sappi Abanakekeli Bemvelo, Working for the Coast and the Wild Coast Sustain- able Villages project. South Africa’s rich endowments of biodiversity assets and ecological infrastructure play an import- ant role in underpinning the economy. It is for this work specifically that the Eco- logical Infrastructure and Sustainability Unit is a go-to implementer of ecological infrastructure projects in South Africa. The spread of invasive alien species (IAS) is now recognised as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and economic well-being of the planet. ECOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE & SUSTAINABILITY

challenges that threaten both the natu- ral biological riches of the earth and the well-being of our people. These species are causing enormous damage to biodi- versity and the valuable natural agricul- tural systems upon which we depend. Direct and indirect health effects are in- creasingly serious, and the damage to native biodiversity is often irreversible. The effects may be exacerbated by glob- al change and chemical and physical dis- turbance to species and their habitats. Our projects focus on IAS removal and the rehabilitation of the ecological infra- structure, allowing it to perform its func- tions better as a result of improved bio- diversity and water quality and quantity. We also focus on the rehabilitation of broader landscapes including wetlands, natural forests, and grasslands, and we address other forms of ecological degra- dation. Through this combined approach, the landscape is restored to a higher status of functionality so it can provide peo- ple and the environment with goods and services. This work provides em- ployment opportunities, and creates an environment that is conducive for the growth of the green economy.

It is creating complex and far reaching


WESSA’s Schools and Youth programme (S&Y) has been through an interesting and empowering process of change and transformation. Over the past 18 months, a new strategy was de- veloped which culminated in the establishment of five new pillars in the Schools unit i.e. Eco- Schools, Schools and Youth Entrepreneurship, Water and Energy, Learning about Forests (LEAF) and Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE). Through our work with local learners and teach- ers, we are supporting the national curricula with regard to environmental learning, and equip- ping children to live sustainably. Our school pro- grammes are aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and as a key partner of the Global Action Programme of UNSECO, we report our activities via this mechanism. We are proud to report that we now have all three school programmes under the FEE banner as part of the WESSA offering and we are the FEE designated national operator in South Africa. With almost four million youth currently out of work, preparing young people for the world is vital to our economic and social sustainability. Hence, we have designed five new programmes under our Schools and Youth Entrepreneurship pillar, which target early childhood through to school youth. Our vision is to create an enthusiastic youth sec- tor, who are empowered to advance sustainable, social, economic and environmental agendas in their lives and in the workplace.

In 2017/2018:

1 025 000 learners participated in the S&Y programmes

1 434 schools participated in the S&Y programmes

40 916 teachers participated in the S&Y programmes




The WESSA Youth Division aims to ensure innovative and creative investment into South Africa’s youth, who make up almost 21 million of our 56 million population .



Eco-Campus Late 2018 saw the 5th Foundation for Environment Education (FEE) pro- gramme coming to South Africa and being implemented by WESSA. The Eco-Campus programme is an interna- tional programme for Higher Education Institution’s under the FEE banner. This programme offers defined, controlla- ble ways for educational campuses to take environmental issues, innovation and research from academic depart- ments, and apply them to the day-to- day management of the campus. The programme can be successfully used for all tertiary level institutions (not just universities), and WESSA aims to work with and encourage participation of all 487 Higher Education Institutions in South Africa. Eco-Campus provides WESSA with strengthened, longer term influence on youth moving from our schools’ programmes to our tertiary institutions. There has been excellent responses to our introduction of the Eco-Campus programme, with plans for us to sign up pilot universities before the end of 2018. Eco-campus is struc- tured around seven steps and requires commitment from students and man- agement structures to review the cam- pus’ environment, plan future actions for a more sustainable campus, monitor and evaluate progress, link the process to wider learning and create awareness across the student and management population. The programme aims for the development of a campus green charter for a more sustainable learning institution.

African German Youth Initiative (AGYI) Commissioned by the African Union Com- mission, and in the spirit of the African Youth Charter and Agenda 2063, the AGYI is working to improve the quality of youth ex- change and volunteering, and increase the number of youth who can access these op- portunities. With funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, this programme aims to make exchange and volunteering more meaningful, relevant and enabling for the youth sector. Our role is to implement the initiative at lo- cal level and carry our work into the SADC region over the pilot phase, which ends in September 2020. We work in close part- nership with the two other pilot countries, Tanzania and Benin, to ensure the initiative is evolving towards the desired continental impact. #WESSAOneMillionYouth Mobilised youth is one of our most powerful forces of change. #WessaOneMillionYouth is our umbrella initiative that will mobilise a campaign that aims to actively engage with and provide real opportunities for targeted youth. The campaign with use various mar- keting and communications platforms to engage. #WESSAOneMillionYouth is a WES- SA Youth Outreach Programme we have de- veloped to enable us to attract, build and communicate effectively with a ground- swell of young WESSA supporters and am- bassadors. The campaigns will be sponta- neous, and WESSA will provide support for the initiation of change-action-projects at grass root levels.


The WESSA Eco-Schools Programme is the flagship education programme within the WESSA Schools and Youth Programme of WESSA and started in 2003. About 4500 schools have been part of the programme over the past 15 years. Eco-Schools help students to experience active citizenship in their school. It benefits the schools through an improved environment and financial savings, as well as increased environ- mental awareness. Most importantly it promotes student empowerment. Cur- rently more than 51 000 schools in 67 countries and 19,5 million learners are involved in the Eco-Schools Programme, making it the largest international net- work of teachers and pupils in the world (UN Final Report on the DESD, 2014, Nagoya). WESSA’s long-term goal is to enable young South Africans to achieve their full potential (environmental knowl- edge, skills, behaviour and values) to- wards a sustainable future by taking environmental action in their own areas and seeing the positive results that can be achieved. The WESSA Eco-Schools Programme is implemented in all 9 Provinces with as- sistance from WESSA programme staff, funders, partners and volunteers. Our national partners include Department of Basic Education (DBE), Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Depart- ment of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Water Research Commission (WRC) and Nampak who have been funding

the national WESSA Eco-schools Pro- gramme for the past 6 years. Being an international FEE programme we par- ticipate in international initiatives such as the annual NOM (National Operators Meeting) to network with other coun- tries and showcase our successes, the

African network as well as international twinning between schools (11 of South Africa’s Eco-Schools were twinned in 2017 with International schools from Czech Republic, Malta, Greece, India, Wales, Romania and Turkey). In 2017, 853 schools registered, 460 received awards translating into at least 1556 environmental projects implemented nationally. Schools achieving the De-



In 2017/2018:

cade awards have been part of the pro- gramme for over 10 years. Shea O’Con- nor Combined School in Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal have been in the pro- gramme for 14 years and achieved their Gold Decade award for 2017. A number of learners that were in- volved in the Eco-Schools Programme have gone on to study environmental degrees. (e.g. Honours in Environmen- tal Sciencies, Rhodes University; BA in Environmental and Life Sciences, UKZN; Masters in Environmental Sciences spe- cializing in Tourism, UKZN; Degree in Geography and Environmental Scienc- es, UKZN). One of our ardent Ecoschools teachers, Ms Mkhabela from Shea O’ Conner Schools went on herself to do her Masters in Environmental Educa- tion at Rhodes University as part of her personal and professional development as a teacher. Through the Eco-Schools for Ecosystems project (ES4ES), funded by RMB, within 2 years (starting 2015 to 2017) Shea O’ Conner restored the wet- land on their school ground to now be an outdoor learning environment. They removed alien trees and plants to lower the use of water in the area and they even managed to get sponsorship to replace their toilets. This is an exam- ple where they embraced the support WESSA Eco-Schools could provide. Be- cause of passionate teachers, learn- ers and community involvement, they achieved amazing results.

1 018 500 learners participated in Eco-Schools

1 358 schools registered as an Eco-School

40 740 teachers involved with Eco-Schools

28 funders and partners for Eco-Schools

460 awards received for Eco-Schools

1556 environmental projects


The five Schools & Youth Entrepre- neurship programmes aim to make a positive contribution to preparing young people to become active par- ticipants in a sustainable economy. #1 Head Start: In this programme, WESSA’s attention is on stimulation for Early Learning. Head Start provides cre- ative workshops for parents, caregiv- ers and early childhood development practitioners on how to create effective and useful tools, games and learning support materials for young children. #2 Triple H: Head, Heart & Hands. This programme gives young people the knowledge, passion and skills to make their way in the world. Head is for theo- ry, thinking and learning. Heart is about caring for the earth, people and sus- tainability, and finding passion. Hands is about being able to apply the theory and ways of thinking in a practical sense. There are two components to this part of the programme - Grade 7 Entrepreneur- ship, and High School Business Clubs. #3 High School Business Clubs have been shaped by the experience gained through the award-winning EEESAY project undertaken with Teach AMan To Fish. High schools in KwaZulu-Natal and theEasternCape set upabusiness that is run by the learners in order to gain prac- tical skills that support them to either become entrepreneurs or improve their academic achievement and progress.

#4 Greening the School Tuckshop is a programme that enables a tuckshop to become a learning tool for busi- ness development. The programme also addresses waste management through the creation of eco-bricks for building outdoor classrooms. #5 Eco-Hub ‘eco’ implying both econom- ic and ecology – focuses on the more than half of learners who leave school before reaching matric. This three year programme provides young people with a self-directed learning journey that enables them to gain practical skills in entrepreneurship and an under- standing of their role in the economy. It also supports them to set up and man- age their own internal support struc- ture along with other school leavers.



In 2017/2018:

EEESAY (Entrepreneurial and Envi- ronmental Empowerment for South African Youth), which is a European Commission funded project in partner- ship with Teach-a-man-to-fish, is in its second year of implementation and fo- cuses on developing school businesses within high schools. It is a three-year partnership with Teach A Man To Fish. Over the project period, a total of 6 000 learners in 40 schools gain knowl- edge through the planning, setting up and running of a school business. In addition to experiential learning, young people also gain essential life skills such as creative thinking, prob- lem-solving, leadership and team work. Schools are supported with a num- ber of workshops, field visits and an annual gathering where learners and educators can share their learn- ing, showcase their business and gain some insights about their own prog- ress. Cathcart High School in the East- ern Cape has gained international rec- ognition and was awarded a prize for the Best Business Idea in the School Enterprise Challenge awards 2017. The EEESAY project won the Gold Award in the prestigious Green Economy cate- gory of the Eco-Logic Awards in 2018.

38 schools involved

1899 learners involved in school businesses

32 number of businesses started

16 school businesses making a profit

182 people supported through workshops



YRE in 2017/2018: 36

students involved. 36 countries involved.

“Words , pictures, photographs, lyrics, sculp- tures and sports are but just a few examples of plac- es to start if you want to see the world through the eyes of the young people” (Zimasa Magudu, 2014). It would be remiss of us to ignore such a bold state- ment by a young South African leader, which is why WESSA welcomed the Young Reporters for the En- vironment (YRE) programme to our existing suite of educational programmes. YRE is an international education programme imple- mented by 34 countries with the aim of ‘giving our environment a voice’ and is managed by the Foun- dation for Environmental Education (FEE). South Af- rica, represented by WESSA, joined the global YRE network as the third (after Ghana and Morocco) Af- rican country in August 2017. YRE provides a platform for the youth to engage with local environmental and social issues, risks and best practices and highlight these through articles, photography and short videos. The WESSA YRE pro- gramme was officially launched with five Gauteng high schools on the 20th of February 2018. At the launch, the young reporters engaged with profes- sional environmental journalists like Bertus Louw from 50/50, social journalists from The Daily Vox and The Institute for Investigative Journalism, pho- tography lecturers from The Market Photo Work- shop, and short film-makers from MindAd Media. The WESSA YRE programme’s vision and strate- gy was presented at the 2018 National Operators Meeting in Slovenia, and was well received by FEE and other implementing countries. Since our launch, the young reporters from the five participating high schools have grown their interaction with the nat-

151 people reached.

ural, social, political and economic surroundings and are now able to see a link between these spheres. WESSA YRE has already made na- tional news and a few of the young reporters’ photographs will be pro- filed in an exhibition at the English Museum in Grahamstown.



South Africa boasts land- scapes of rich flora, divided into nine different biomes. These biomes form a significant part of the South African economy and the well-being of our peo- ple. Yet, it deteriorates every day because of human inter- ference. The LEAF programme focuses on the importance of forests. In South Africa, the programme takes a different approach because our natural forest biome has become very fragmented, covering less than 1% of our land. Instead, WESSA LEAF focuses on all nine biomes to ensure that schools across the country can respond to biodiversity challenges through project-based learning. The programme aims to reconnect communities with their natural, cultural and historical heritage while developing the necessary skills to recognise the impor- tance of our biomes. LEAF schools develop indige- nous gardens that are inspired by the biome that surrounds them. These gardens are used as an outdoor classroom to fa- cilitate practical project-based learning, and act as a safe space for learners who are academ- ically challenged. One of the benefits of the programme is its Science, Technology, Engi-

neering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) approach to learning about our natural environment. WESSA LEAF is well suited as a supporting programme for the national CAPS curriculum to assist teachers with practical and hands-on ways of engaging learners in complex STEAM con- cepts. The WESSA LEAF programme also highlights career options for learners to start developing the skills to become entrepre- neurs supporting their commu- nity and the country. The City of Tshwane has recognised the importance of the WESSA LEAF programme for their schools and communities and have partnered with us to pioneer the programme in 14 of their lo- cal schools.

In 2017/2018: 28

countries involved.

210 students involved. 56 teachers involved. 14 schools registered.


Water, energy and food form the basis of a self-sufficient economy, and as such, also forms the basis of the WESSA Water and Energy Programme. South Africa is a water-scarce country with small amounts of arable land, and a heavy reliance on fossil fuel energy. The Water and Energy Programme offers integrated projects which aim to identify innovations in energy efficiency and water conserva- tion with South African learners. The resultant positive actions contribute to the sustainable use of water and energy, and the associated learning develops prac- tical skills for a sustainable future. Mitigate Now!: Learners and their families audit their elec- trical consumption. They then implement mitigation strategies and challenge other schools to do the same through an on-line system. Amanzi Ayimpilo: Amanzi Ayimpilo, or ‘Water is Life’ supports learners in rural areas to build adaptation installations which will increase their resil- ience to a changing climate. Clean Currents: High school learners build small-scale re- newable energy installations and intro-

duce these to their community at open days. The Clean Currents project is imple- mented in 12 schools in 6 provinces and learners have been building installations at their schools, experimenting with various designs of solar cookers; solar water heat- ers; and water harvesting projects. River Stewardship Project: Young learners test the water quality of the river and compare their results with oth- er schools from upper catchment to lower catchment areas. Water-Energy-Food Nexus Project: The relationship between water, energy and food is supported in rural villages with the school as the demonstration hub. Learners kick-start their projects with the installation of an integrated biogas system which generates gas that is used to cook the school meals; generates biogas slurry as organic fertiliser for use on the school food garden; provides water for the food garden and thereby provides fresh vegeta- bles for the school feeding programme. Energy and Change Project: Grade 6 learners from rural areas are pro- vided with energy kits which enhance their learning of electricity and simple circuits. This project is directly aligned to the CAPS curriculum.

Clean Currents Sustainable Energy Projects:

6 participating provinces

180 students involved

96 planned installations

12 participating schools




The Youth Environmental Services (YES) Programme is an environmentally-fo- cused youth development and training programme funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and imple- mented by WESSA in the Northern Cape and Free State. The programme provides training and workplace-based experience for 270 un- employed youth per province, for 2018 and 2019. At the end of the learnership, the 540 participating youth will receive a year of mentoring and work experience. Youth living in areas with the poorest so- cio-economic circumstances and high unemployment rates were the target for YES recruitment. Conservation and tour- ism were identified as two sectors that can contribute significantly to the NDP goals. The YES Programme thus also di- rectly addresses the UN SDGs to develop sustainable communities, reduce poverty, provide decent work opportunities and stimulate economic growth. YES addresses the need for climate action, protection of life on land, advocates and educates for responsible consumption and engages in partnerships with local stakeholders to achieve these outcomes. The programme has three components through which it delivers success. Training We are developing skills and competencies enabling entry-level employment; quali- fying learners to access opportunities for further development and training in the tourism, nature conservation, eco-tourism and environmental education sectors. To date we have trained 132 Northern Cape and 101 Free State participants.

Workplace Experience Participants are exposed to aspects of practical environmental management that grounds their theoretical training. Work ex- perience includes: waste management, con- servation general assistant work, ranging, community liaison and stewardship work; bio-monitoring, alien species recording and control, compliance monitoring, supportive administration work, ecotourism support work, environmental education, awareness raising in their own communities and more. We have partnered with 14 host institutions in the Northern Cape and 16 in the Free State to create year-long internships, includ- ing government departments, NGOs, mu- nicipalities, national, provincial and private game reserves and private environmental companies. Community Service For two days every month, participants en- gage with the issues facing their communi- ties through their chosen activity. Thus far, these initiatives have focused on three ar- eas: supporting local care institutions such as crèches and old-age homes; environmen- tal education at schools and awareness-rais- ing (door-to-door), and stepping in to assist with service delivery –which has ranged from clean-ups around the community and admin assistance at clinics, to installing electricity in RDP households. An important aspect of the programme fo- cuses on developing exit opportunities for each participant. These exits are assisted by WESSA and may be in the form of a job at the institution in which they are currently placed, or enrolment for further study. Con- sidering that unemployment amongst youth (aged 18- 35) is at a staggering 38.2 % in 2018, the YES Programme is a much needed intervention to address unemployment.




Our vision for the Work Skills training unit has always been one of progressive growth and a “can do” attitude. Devel- oping new material to match customer and market needs is a priority together with providing the best possible trainers, assessors and moderators to exceed cus- tomer expectations. Being a recognised player in the blue and green economies

to do exceptionally well and has estab- lished a very good reputation in govern- ment departments as training service provider of choice, delivering high quali- ty professional training efficiently and on time. Robust financial and administrative systems and experienced staff have man- aged multi-million rand projects for gov- ernment throughout South Africa over

is attainable, and to this end, the 2017/18 financial year can be viewed as a step to- wards this goal. Work Skills has indeed developed into a bigger and better unit responsible for training in projects and programmes across WESSA. Materials were purchased for two new additional qualifications in a new SETA, CATHSETA (where tourism and conserva- tion skills development sit). We received notification of our programme approval towards the end of 2017, which is a sig- nificant milestone. Work Skills continues

many years. The fact that the DEA-NRM programme has awarded another training phase to WESSA after many years of fund- ing is testimony to the high standards of service and products delivered. Current National Qualifications • National Certificate: Environmental Ed- ucation, Training and Development Prac- tice (US 22901) • National Certificate: Tourism: Guiding (US 17174) • National Certificate: Nature Conserva- tion: Resource Guardianship (US 59389)



Current Partners • DEA-NRM Training Working for Water • Cape Nature • WESSA YES NC & FS • WESSA Working For Ecosystems • WESSA Tourism Blue Flag • WESSA Tourism Green Coast • DUCT • Groundtruth • Children of the Wilderness • Champions of the environment • Aller River Project New contracts include DEA-YES, Children of the Universe, Cape Nature, DEA-NRM. Tourism Green Coast is another new con- tract funded by NDT and involves training 100 stewards for their Tourism Guiding qualification. This is still in the planning phase. Since receiving additional qualification ac- creditation, all marketing material for our training offering has been improved and is available on our website, social media

and email to prospective clients. Goals for 2018/2019 include growing non-govern- ment funded clients, launching an online training platform and expanding our qual- ifications offerings. The Work Skills unit is registered as an accredited training pro- vider with the ETDPSETA, LGSETA, CATHS- SETA and FP&MSETA. Many of our aims are described by UNE- SCO in the 2030 plan, particularly SDG 4, that compels nations to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and pro- mote lifelong learning opportunities for all, including substantially increasing the number of youth and adults who have rel- evant skills, including technical and voca- tional skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship; eliminating gen- der disparities in education; and ensuring equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, in- cluding persons with disabilities and chil- dren in vulnerable situations.

Training Successes:

12 185 people trained

3 national qualifications

530 credits across four SETA’s




The coastline at Twin- streams is truly unique. Dune succession here is regarded as being one of the best ex- amples in South Africa and has amazing education op- portunities. A key feature of the Twinstreams Education Centre, situated near the village of Mtunzini is that it is only one of two places in South Africa with a pro-grad- ing shoreline i.e. the coast is advancing seaward at two to three metres per year as a result of the Thukela River depositing sand north of its mouth. The endless, pristine sandy shoreline is superb for edu- cation activities and one can walk for kilometers without encountering another per- son. Twinstreams Education Centre is the oldest environ- mental education centre in Africa; is the most success- ful example of dune forest rehabilitation in Africa; was founded by one of South Af- rica’s environmental educa- tion pioneers Dr Ian Garland; has the headwaters of the Siyaya River passing through it; has unlimited access to mangroves, grasslands, wet- lands, dune forests, sandy shores, streams, raphias and

swamp forests; has a depend- able, mature staff comple- ment; has a wide range of accommodation facilities. Our research projects are all CAPS curriculum based – research students have a wide variety of topics such as river catch- ment management; mining; biodiversity and many others that can be conducted in and around Twinstreams in com- plete safety. Twinstreams has attracted funded projects amounting to more than R3 million over the past 10 years primarily from corporates and the DEA. The funding received from the De- partment of Environmental Affairs covered the costs of transport, accommodation, meals, environmental edu- cation and activities within the Umlalazi Nature Reserve. Twinstreams is constantly seeking additional funding to enable us to make this expe- rience accessible to the thou- sands more in disadvantaged schools. Many of these learners have made life changes, which have resulted in diminishing their environmental foot- prints whilst increasing their environmental handprints.

Our future plans for Twin- streams include increasing the number of beds from 74 to 100 and to upgrade one of our camps. Highlights of the year in- cluded many repeat book- ings, with 12 schools having visited Twinstreams every year for more than 10 years.

In 2017/2018, 15 355 learners visited WESSA’s four Education Centres (Twinstreams, Treasure Beach, uMngeni Valley and Bush Pigs).


WESSA Treasure Beach is located on Durban’s Bluff Peninsula. The centre is surrounded by protected coastal grass- land, dune coastal forest and the best rocky shore learning platform on the entire Southern African coastline. Not more than 20 minutes away, visitors can access wetlands, Durban Harbour, estu- arine habitats, mangroves, river lagoons, coral reefs, sandy shores and the histori- cal and socio-economic characteristics of Durban. Programmes offered here have been designed to include a visit to uShaka Marine World, The Natal Shark’s Board, Moses Mabhida Stadium and the numer- ous museums and cultural experiences available within the area. Our passionate marine team comprise of qualified ma- rine biologists, environmental scientists and teachers. They work together with Blue Flag Beach Stewards to make all pro- gramme offerings hands-on and practical. 2018 saw the launch of our new marine laboratory.. This, together with our new state-of-the-art technology and equip- ment provide the optimum learning envi- ronment for curriculum-based fieldwork and environmental education. Treasure Beach offer curriculum-based One Re- search Projects that meet all the require- ments for budding marine scientists. We have introduced statistical analysis into our programmes, which elevates the level of the research and prepares high school students for university. The Coastal Ge- ography Programme focuses on coastal management practices and engineering examples, of which there are so many in the Durban area. From dolosses to rip- rap, revetments, dredging, and the wid- ening of the Durban harbour mouth, we

research, analyse and measure specific coastal engineering examples, conduct beach profiles, long-shore drift, erosion and deposition experiments and sand particle analysis to relate the effect of human engineering on the natural ocean processes. With Durban’s coastline under threat, we expose our groups to specific marine processes and the engineering solutions used to deal with them. Geograhical Information Systems (GIS) Our mobile GIS technology gives us the opportunity to expose students to GIS ap- plications while analysing issues along the coast. Students can physically map out what they see and analyse their findings in a structured way. We design in-depth research projects looking at the histor- ical reasons for Durban’s spatial layout. We also study the Durban harbour and its economic significance for the area. From tourism activities through to histor- ical tours, we offer programmes that are aligned to the CAPS curriculum.. WESSA Treasure Beach is getting a facelift. We are improving all the facilities, increasing our accommodation and cater- ing offerings and ensuring that each field trip is accompanied by excellent food and a fun experience. WESSA Treasure Beach now offers the 3-year President’s Award Programme. We offer Bronze, Silver and Gold Journeys and a five-day Residential Project on-site. We have also very successfully run both the Phakama and ABCD programmes, and facilitated the related skills requirements too.



Treasure Beach


The WESSA uMngeni Valley team is our biggest asset. From qualified teachers, ge- ography experts and environmental science practitioners through to nature conserva- tionists, hike leaders and #PeopleCaring- ForTheEarth, the team working at WES- SA uMngeni Valley bring the courses alive through practical experiments and tasks, and their enthusiasm for outdoor learning. We have made significant investments to ensure that our new programmes and facil- ities provide the optimum learning environ- ment for curriculum-based fieldwork and environmental education. Over the past six months, we have upgraded and launched the following: • An IT and Geographical Information Systems hub with 20 computers loaded with ESRI ArcGIS and QGIS software. • An Ecology Hub with microscopes, digi- scopes and the resources for collecting, observing and identifying specimens found in the field. • An e-STEAM Hub, which is our own creative space for brainstorming, prob- lem-solving and thinking. • A permanent weather station network that collects live weather data and feeds it onto our data-collection platform. • Three large classroom and presentation areas to accommodate larger groups of students. We have also invested in state-of-the-art technologies that can be used during pro- grammes to improve the accuracy of data collection, which include: A Facility with State-of-the-art Technology

• A full set of data-loggers and probes to measure a wide range of abiotic factors. • 6 weather stations with wi-fi capa- bility for the field. • A drone and two Go-Pro cameras for live video recordings. • Water and soil testing kits. WESSA uMngeni Valley has a safe and comfortable 900Ha education facility with accommodation, ablutions and upgraded catering facilities that have been expanded to cater for larger groups. The road and trail access into the reserve has improved so groups can visit and study several unique habitats in a beautiful and stimulating environ- ment. Due to our location, we can also offer field trips to study History, Social Geography, Environmental Quality Sur- veys and leadership and team-building activities in the local area. WESSA uMngeni Valley is now offer- ing the three-year President’s Award Programme. We offer Bronze, Silver and Gold Journeys and a five-day Res- idential Project on-site. We have also successfully run both the Phakama and ABCD programmes and facilitated the skills requirement too. Our team has also undergone an abseiling qual- ification course, and over the past year, we have hosted seven trail runs, two mountain biking events and many climbing experiences.


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