Jozi’s eco guides plant seeds of green culture
As part of the City of Johannesburg’s commitment to create a sustainable green culture, the Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) is equipping community-based environmental education facilitators with knowledge and skills to positively transform their communities.
About 50 members of eight non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in community and schools initiatives throughout the city are currently undergoing a five-month training initiative in critical green issues to benefit their communities.
The Eco Guides Training Project, as the initiative is called, was launched at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens on January 15. Its focus is on environmental themes such as World Wetlands celebrations, Water Week awareness, water and biodiversity, energy and climate change, youth and the environment, and the promotion of green living.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe says once the eco guides graduate, they will become environmental ambassadors and will, with the assistance of the city and through their NGOs, be involved in community education and environmental awareness. “We hope that by the time the participants return from the training, they will be equipped with the knowledge to change their communities in a positive way,” saysMMC Mfikoe.
She says to reach a wider audience the facilitators willtake the project to schools, homes, shopping malls and other public and private amenities.
Some of the accredited modules the NGO representatives are being trained in are:
• Separation, handling, storage, treatment and transportation of waste;
• Recognising and identifying basic functions of the ecological environment; and
• Nature conservation.
Environment and Infrastructure Services Department’s Executive Director, Tiaan Ehlers, says environmental specialists from the City will also be involved in the training of the eco guides through the sharing of their day-to-day experiences and lessons.
“Many site visits and practicals are also incorporated into this learning experience,” Ehlers says.