The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 October 2022
Recently 86 Youth Environmental Service students, funded by the South African Department of Environmental affairs, completed a year of experiential learning. This marked the beginning of a new chapter for them, as they will now need to apply their skills in their prospective work environments.
The Youth Environmental Service programme entails the involvement of unemployed young people in activities that provide an environmental service that benefits the community, while providing the young people with opportunities for personal development, accredited training and exit opportunities.
At the college, it comprises three skills programmes: environmental monitors, environmental awareness and waste management, and recycling training. The students were involved in a range of activities from waste collection and separation, to monitoring of fauna and flora, conservation guardianship, collecting water and animal samples and combatting problem plants to educating various schools and communities about environmental issues. These were all facilitated thanks to a collaboration with the key stakeholders.
The graduation ceremony held at the college was led by programme director Ruben De Kock, who welcomed the guests. This was followed by the project coordinator, Sboniso Phakathi, who gave a brief overview of the project. Themba Lubisi of Mpumalanga spoke on behalf of the mentors and host institutions and gave an insight into the challenges and highlights they’d experienced.
Hunadi Masha, Ruel Dibakoane and Amos Skhosana spoke on the behalf of their fellow students and emphasised the power of education in uplifting youth and how much they’d grown together as friends and developed as people. They went on to thank the various institutions for their efforts in supporting their development.
The keynote address was delivered by Mr Mokotedi Thaga, the director of Programme Planning and Implementation Support in the Department of Environmental Affairs. He outlined where Youth Environmental Service fits into the department’s environmental protection and infrastructure programme and reiterated government’s commitment to youth development through interventions such as this project. The formalities ended with the students receiving their certificates in the various skills programmes.
Issued on behalf of the Southern African Wildlife College