WESSA Eco-Schools Programme
The Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concession (Pty) Ltd has since 2017 supported 10 schools between Moedwil and Zeerust in the North West Province to develop the green skills of educators and learners so that they can be part of the WESSA Eco-Schools programme. Eco-Schools is a school-based environmental management, certification, and sustainable development education programme implemented in 67 countries. It is a global initiative of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), managed in South Africa by WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa). The Eco-Schools process is an excellent fit for the Sustainable Development Goals that were developed by the United Nations to end poverty and protect the Earth’s resources. Moreover, the Eco-Schools model is a way for teachers and learners to lead the mobilization of government departments and the private sector from grassroots level. Key features of the programme are a multidisciplinary, participatory approach which promotes actions to improve the environment of the school and local community. In addition, the integration of the curriculum to real-life situations benefits learners in terms of delivering quality education. The Eco-Schools programme is described in seven understandable steps and starts with establishing an Eco-Committee to manage, plan and report on actions, curriculum links and whole school involvement. The schools are working on growing food, making compost with microbial composters and earthworms, water management and recycling in order to achieve an award each year. Recently a ‘work to earn’ project with Qhubeka bike has been facilitated whereby schools can earn a bicycle by collecting bottle tops. The process involves the school governing body, teachers, admin and grounds staff as well as parents, but it is the learners who are empowered to take positive action for a brighter future.