WEI’s Community Engagement and Environmental Education Initiative has been developed to integrate and involve local communities in nature conservation programmes.
Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Facilitation Workshops
The CBNRM approach towards sustainable nature conservation creates mechanisms where local communities can truly value and benefit from areas under conservation. Although the term has commonly been used for any conservation project involving local communities, the CBNRM concept should facilitate a structure whereby local communities have a direct stake in the long-term management of the area. This is especially appropriate for state-run nature reserves set up on community trust land, and areas recently acquired via the land claim process.
The WEI CBNRM facilitation workshops are set up to gain a better understanding of social structures within communities, investigate local perceptions towards nature and conservation, and assess aspirations for the conservation area in question. We investigate potential revenue generators for the reserve, important cultural and religious values of the area, and the skills and resources within the community for conservation management.
Applied Environmental Education Workshops
On evaluation of the CBNRM workshops, WEI highlight the core environmental education requirements for those specific communities, and host workshops to address these topics. Examples of these include sustainable wood harvesting and anti-poaching programmes.
Primary School Terrestrial Environmental Education Programme
Aligned with the Grade 6 CAPS syllabus, this course aims to establish a fascination, love and respect for nature and wildlife, and contribute to its protection. The workshops are dynamic and interactive, involving a variety of education techniques, including outdoor games and investigations, creative group work and writing & recall skills. Students attend a three hour workshop once a week for a total of eight weeks.
Primary School Coastal Environmental Education Programme
This program is delivered to Grade 5, 6 & 7 learners living close to Marine or Coastal protected areas. Running throughout the year in local schools, the workshops enhance the learners understanding and interest of their local environment, including the marine, intertidal and terrestrial Ecosystems. Field trips to local locations of interest reinforce the monthly workshops.
Children’s Holiday Eco-Clubs
WEI’s holiday eco-clubs provide an opportunity for children to explore and experience their natural environment, in a fun, safe, and structured way. The aim is always to engage children during the holiday period in fun outdoor activities that will build a range of life skills and demonstrate the benefits and importance of conserving nature. The eco-clubs demonstrate opportunities and ideas of how to help protect and care for our environment.
Water Management Course
Having identified a need for education in water utilisation and wetland management, in partnership with The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), WEI have developed a Water Management Course. The course consists of 8 workshops including both practical and classroom elements and is flexible to the location it is delivered in. The course investigates the nature of the worlds limited freshwater resource, sustainable water usage, the importance of wetland and riverine habitats, and ways in which to protect them. The aim is to inspire local students to become ambassadors for the protection of wetlands around them.