40 schools set to ben­e­fit from R8m em­pow­er­ment ini­tia­tive

Go! & Express - - News - MADELEINE CHAPUT

‘We want to work where it mat­ters so we picked dis­tricts where we could make a dif­fer­ence’

THE Wildlife and En­vi­ron­ment So­ci­ety of South Africa (Wessa) re­cently launched their En­tre­pre­neur­ial and En­vi­ron­men­tal Em­pow­er­ment for South African Youth (EEESAY) project in 40 schools in the East­ern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The project, launched in con­junc­tion with Teach a Man to Fish, re­ceived fund­ing of R8.6-mil­lion from a Euro­pean Union del­e­ga­tion and aims to give pupils an op­por­tu­nity to gain prac­ti­cal busi­ness skills.

“Over a pe­riod of three years, pupils and ed­u­ca­tors from these 40 schools will at­tend train­ing and re­ceive sup­port in top­ics that will build pupil’s knowl­edge, skills and con­fi­dence to­wards ei­ther be­com­ing en­trepreneurs or be­com­ing bet­ter pre­pared for fu­ture stud­ies,” Wessa’s s schools pro­gramme man­ager, Sue Spies said.

The project in­volves pupils from Grade 9 through to Grade 11.

Teach­ers are re­quired to sup­port these pupils in set­ting up and main­tain­ing a sus­tain­able busi­ness at their schools.

Schools can de­cide to set up any small busi­ness such as a tuck shop, food gar­den or car wash and are re­quired to es­tab­lish and run this small busi­ness in a sus­tain­able man­ner.

“A hugely im­por­tant as­pect for Wessa is to teach the youth about sus­tain­able en­ter­prises; the busi­nesses must be good for the earth as well as good for peo­ple and prof­itable. Sus­tain­abil­ity is the key to an abun­dant fu­ture,” Spies said.

Wessa are tar­get­ing ru­ral and peri-ur­ban ar­eas in the two prov­inces; the project will there­fore be tak­ing place in the Amath­ole and Chris Hani dis­tricts of the East­ern Cape.

Schools within these dis­tricts that are tak­ing part in the project in­clude Byletts High School in Mooiplaas, St Matthews High School in Keiskamma­hoek, Bule­lani High School in Queen­stown, Mzontsundu High School in King Wil­liam’s Town and Cath­cart High School in Cath­cart.

“Both these prov­inces have the most se­vere chal­lenges in terms of ed­u­ca­tion, youth un­em­ploy­ment, the dropout rate. There is also a lot more sup­port pro­vided to ur­ban schools, and out­ly­ing schools are not sup­ported. We want to work where it mat­ters so we picked dis­tricts where we could make a dif­fer­ence,” Spies said.

The EEESAY project is based on the suc­cess­ful School En­ter­prise Chal­lenge pro­gramme run by Teach a Man to Fish, and it is in­tensely prac­ti­cal in na­ture.

This in­ter­na­tional awards pro­gramme has al­ready led to 25 prof­itable stu­dent-led busi­nesses in schools in South Africa since 2015, im­proved exam marks in par­tic­i­pat­ing schools in KZN, and en­abled pupils to start their own prof­itable busi­nesses out of school. While still in the be­gin­ning phases, Wessa aims to see the same results with the EEESAY project.

“If a young per­son is able to leave school al­ready able to set-up and run a busi­ness, then they can be­come em­ploy­ers.

“Some young peo­ple could es­tab­lish a busi­ness while al­ready at school and then there is a seam­less tran­si­tion from school to work life,” Spies said. Through­out the project, Wessa will sup­port the schools giv­ing work­shops through ev­ery step of the schools' busi­ness set- ups.

The step-by-step work­shops will help stu­dents to iden­tify busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, ap­ply sound busi­ness plan­ning and im­ple­ment ro­bust busi­ness plans to gen­er­ate a profit.

“It is fun and ex­cit­ing to have a real busi­ness to run, and the learn­ing is mean­ing­ful – the chal­lenges are real chal­lenges that re­quire prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions. The teach­ers all talk about how the project will help learn­ers gain prac­ti­cal skills,” Spies said.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

ALL EARS: St Matthews High School pupils lis­ten at­ten­tively dur­ing a group dis­cus­sion on Mon­i­tor­ing and Eval­u­a­tion (M & E). The M & E is part of their first work­shop, The EEESAY Busi­ness In­spi­ra­tion Work­shop

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.