YOU – uBuntu Earth
At the heart of Wildlands work is the spirit of ‘uBuntu Earth’. uBuntu is an African term that is often translated as “I am who I am because of who we all are.” It speaks to our interconnectedness, our common humanity, goodness and the essence of being human. It says “we do not exist in isolation; we are all part of the human community.” We are also part of the Earth community. To Wildlands, the concept of uBuntu Earth means remembering this, and acting from this understanding. It means remembering that whatever we do to one another and to the earth, we do to ourselves and to the rest of the world. And that now, more than any time in history, we need to seek out a new definition of what it means to be human, a new definition of ‘citizenship’; one which sees individuals taking personal responsibility for their role in creating a sustainable future for us all, and generations to come.
The uBuntu Earth programme works with a range of the Trust’s stakeholders with particular emphasis on our project team and top performing Green-preneurs. The emphasis is on building capacity and enabling this group to ‘progress through the system’ or move on to other green jobs and entrepreneurial enterprises. Our work is increasingly looking at whole person development and nurturing a new sense of ‘citizenship’; one that sees individuals seeking out and taking responsibility for their role in creating a sustainable future,
Special Events: COP17 and an ‘uBuntu Earth’.
During COP17, Wildlands partnered with the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) and Conservation South Africa (CSA) to create the ‘Oasis of Fresh Thinking’, a hub of learning, reflection and networking held throughout the COP for interested local and international stakeholders and delegates. Participants were brought up to date with critical trends in climate change and sustainable development, both globally and regionally, and given the opportunity to discuss their own challenges and innovations.
Wildlands also hosted a series of ‘COP Big Day Out’ events, together with Ogilvy Earthand sponsors Bonitas Medical Fund, Unilever SA and Rand Merchant Bank, for 1200 children from our top recycling schools in Pietermaritzburg, as well as 800 Scouts from the Durban area. The children were given an opportunity to visit the COP17 exhibition area, enjoy theatre and storytelling by two top local performers and write messages to our global leaders, which were bound together into a book on permanent display in the Durban Botanic Gardens.
Reward Trips for Green-preneurs
Thanks to partner Bonitas Medical Fund, Wildlands has continued to reward our Green-preneurs with trips into KZN’s spectacular national parks and small reserves near their home communities. 600 Green-preneurs enjoyed Nature experiences this past year in False Bay Park, Mkhuze Game Reserve, Mthethomusha Nature Reserve and Wagendrift Nature Reserve. Along with walks and game viewing drives, the Wildlands team led discussions and activities around environmental challenges we are facing in Africa and the world today, including climate change and how the Green-preneurs themselves are contributing to its mitigation through growing trees, collecting recycling and sharing their learning with others. Participants are encouraged to explore their connection with nature through silent walking, opening their senses and reflecting on what they can learn from nature and its intricate ecosystems. The team have also introduced some leadership activities this year aimed at building confidence and creative thinking.
Wild Series “Big Day Out” Events
In 2012, with support from the Bonitas Medical Fund, N3 Toll Concession, Old Mutual, Coca-Cola and local partners Wildlands launched the Wild Series Big Day Out series. These day-long events build on the legacy of the ‘Mini-challenges’ started by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff to include their neighbouring community children into the buzz and fanfare of the main event. Wildlands has added these ‘mini-challenge’ runs to all the Wild Series events this year and worked with local event partners Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, South African National Parks, Karkloof Conservancy and Cowan House School to add a fun learning element. Between 100-200 local children per event are taken through a series of activities aimed at nurturing their love and fascination for the local fauna and flora, building confidence, inspiring creative thinking and exploring ways they can ‘be the change they want to see in the world’. The teachers are kept busy during the day with Old Mutual’s ‘On the Money’ money management training. There is also a ‘legacy project’ associated with each event where funding is allocated to local partners to support their existing work in these schools. Young ‘Green Heroes’ are also being identified at each event and selected to attend a ‘Green Hero’s Indaba’ held over 4 days at the end of the year, focused on nurturing the potential of these young change-makers with a focus on citizenship, leadership, sustainability, and the human-nature connection.
Wildlands now run KidZones for all our ‘Green Heroes’ at Wild Series events as well as at the Durban Old Mutual Music at the Lake concerts. Wildlands activated 14 KidZones in the past financial year, focusing on fun environmental learning for the very young with emphasis on endangered species, recycling and general environmental awareness and learning.
Women in Conservation
This initiative was launched in Woman’s month (August) 2011 and focuses on bringing young female role-models from our project teams and partner communities together to spend time in the wilderness reflecting on their own development and their responsibility as female role-models and changemakers in their communities. In partnership with the Kenchaan Foundation, Wildlands has facilitated two Women in Conservation wilderness walks in the past financial year in iMfolozi Game Reserve and the Drakensberg World Heritage Site. The second walk also included a two-day cultural learning experience with eight Dutch women who are passionate about personal development and environmental sustainability.
TRAINING & SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
Doris Mthembu; Tree-preneur, eSikhaweni
I started growing trees with Wildlands around 2004 and I was rewarded with training in sustainable agriculture in 2010 because I was a ‘super-grower’. I have learnt a lot since then and my garden is looking more beautiful every single day. With organic farming I am able to use recycled and composted crop waste and animal manure. I know that farming organically produces nutritious food, feed for animals and high quality crops to sell at a good price. I am now making money out of my vegetable garden. What I do is, I make a small research around the community and find out what type of vegetables are in demand at that particular moment. It can be cabbage, green pepper or beetroot. Then I start planting way before everyone else does, in that way I know that if people need vegetables they will definitely come to me and buy. Ncami is the best trainer I have ever met in my life, she teaches us in a very good manner and she is patient. When we are lacking a drive in our training she makes us stand up, sing and dance.
Business & Enterprise Development Training
Just over 650 Wildlands Community Facilitators, Green Team Members, Ecosystem Restoration Teams and Green-preneurs have received Enterprise Development training through support from The Foschini Group across all Wildlands partner communities over the past financial year. The Basic Business Skills and New Venture Creation training is held over two days and covers topics such as the business idea, needs and wants, goods and services, prices and profit, basic business bookkeeping, feasibility studies, and business plans.
Many of our top Green-preneurs also opted for an additional two days training in Sustainable Agriculture in order to sell vegetables in their communities (as ‘Food-preneurs’). This was made possible through support from Time Freight and Sunshine Seedlings. Others have paid for JABBA Mobile starter kits with their trees, enabling them to earn profit from the sale of airtime, electricity, sim-swaps and package migrations with their cell phones, and have received half-day training in topics such as record keeping, calculating profit, marketing and customer care. Other businesses started by the trained participants include hair salons, tuck shops, car washes, livestock sales, craft sales and sewing businesses.
A small grant and micro-loan facility is also currently being piloted this year to deserving project beneficiaries who show potential to evolve into fully-fledged entrepreneurs.
Through a partnership with Old Mutual, 170 of our staff and project beneficiaries have received training in financial literacy and money management. Old Mutual’s ‘On the Money’ training includes advice on debt management, savings, investing, budgeting and planning for the future.
|Training||No. of People Trained|
|Basic Business Skills||
|Basic Business Skills & JABBA Mobile Training||
|Basic Business Skills & Sustainable Agriculture||
|FET New Venture Creation||