In­au­gu­ral South African Green Schools Pro­gramme takes off in Lim­popo

The Star Early Edition - - JUNE IS ENVIRONMENT MONTH -

THE De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs launched ‘South Africa’s Green­est Schools Pro­gramme’ at the Mosasane Baloyi Pri­mary School in Lim­popo in April 2017.

“The Green­est Schools Pro­gramme (SAGSP) is still in its in­fancy stage but our vi­sion is to make it a lead­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment and award ini­tia­tive work­ing with pri­mary and high schools across the coun­try,” said Deputy Min­is­ter Bar­bara Thom­son.

“The care for, and pro­tec­tion of, our en­vi­ron­ment has to start at a young age and I would like to express my thanks to every­one in­volved in tak­ing this proac­tive step to nur­ture in our younger gen­er­a­tion an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the im­por­tance of en­vi­ron­men­tal care and pro­tec­tion.

“I am grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to meet so many like-minded in­di­vid­u­als who share our pas­sion for the en­vi­ron­ment and who are will­ing to con­trib­ute to­wards its pro­tec­tion.

“I am par­tic­u­larly pleased with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of so many pri­mary and high school learn­ers dur­ing the pro­cesses that led up to this point where we recog­nise and re­ward them for tak­ing stew­ard­ship of their en­vi­ron­ment.

“In this re­gard, a spe­cial thank you must go to the Lim­popo De­part­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, En­vi­ron­ment and Tourism (LEDET), which worked closely with us on this schools-based aware­ness cam­paign pi­lot project.

“Through im­ple­ment­ing this pro­gramme, we're seek­ing to re­duce our schools' en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact in both every­day prac­tices and sur­round­ings and ad­vance en­vi­ron­men­tal learn­ing.

“We will raise aware­ness about the prob­lem of en­vi­ron­men­tal plun­der­ing and how it af­fects their fu­ture. The pro­gramme will en­gen­der an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for our en­vi­ron­ment by show­ing how it serves as the source of liveli­hood.

“We will turn our learn­ers into en­vi­ron­men­tal am­bas­sadors and ed­u­cate them on how to re­duce and man­age waste by hav­ing zero-waste and litter-free schools,” con­cluded the Deputy Min­is­ter.

As part of the SAGSP ini­tia­tive, learn­ers from at least 105 schools in and around Lim­popo prov­ince dis­played their projects that fo­cus on en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing schools pre­sented the fol­low­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal themes: Waste Man­age­ment, En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion; Water Man­age­ment and Con­ser­va­tion; Land­scap­ing, Tree Plant­ing and Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, Public Par­tic­i­pa­tion and Com­mu­nity Em­pow­er­ment, Lead­er­ship and In­sti­tu­tional Ar­range­ments to the Deputy Min­is­ter and MEC for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, En­vi­ron­ment and Tourism, Sea­paro Sek­wati.

The twelve schools that made it to the fi­nals shared in­sight­ful but sim­ple ex­am­ples of how they and in turn other schools wish­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gramme can green their schools.

Learn­ers from PAX Col­lege shared how they have planted grass and shrubs to re­duce soil erosion in their school in Polok­wane. In­ter­me­di­ate phase en­trant, Sudzu­lu­sani Pri­mary School em­pow­ers and in­volves the public in its green school project by en­cour­ag­ing par­ents to assist with the veg­etable gar­den.

The Blue Crane award re­cip­i­ent, Ra­matlho School shared how it uses sod cov­ers over the grass and soil to pro­tect soil from be­ing washed away by rain­wa­ter.

Win­ning schools re­ceived prizes up to the value of R100000, which were not given as cash but en­abled the schools to choose projects, which fur­ther the ob­jec­tives of the broader man­date of DEA, such as pur­chas­ing of water tanks, veg­etable gar­den im­ple­ments and seeds, ini­ti­at­ing a re­cy­cling pro­gramme, in­stal­la­tion of re­new­able en­ergy, cre­at­ing school and com­mu­nity parks.

Win­ners of the in­ter­me­di­ate phase of the in­au­gu­ral South African Green Schools .

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