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South Africa Cape West Coast environmental education class

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South Africa

South Africa is a vast, vibrant, and varied country blessed with unsurpassed natural beauty and wildlife, and also blessed by dedicated local environmental non-profit organizations committed to preserving South Africa's unique ecological treasures, as well as chart a path forward in the 21st century that integrates environmental, social and economic sustainability.

We believe in a step-by-step incremental process in developing relationships. After preliminary research, the EcoCatalyst Foundation recently visited five non-profit organizations in South Africa to learn more about their mission and goals, about them as people, and the communities they serve. The Foundation is now following up, working with these amazing non-profit and community-based organizations to explore opportunities where ECF can provide capacity building services, a cornerstone of ECF's approach, providing them with the tools they need so that they can grow their organizations. In addition, ECF may supply some direct funding, including $1,000, $5,000, $10,000+ grants. These funds, in turn, may be leveraged as co-financing by other international donor organizations.


Dzomo la Mupo

The Sacred Forests of Venda are located in the most northern and rural area of South Africa. These lush forests, waterfalls and mountains have a mystical and spiritual atmosphere. The area contains the burial grounds of Venda chiefs, and Lake Fundudzi, sacred and only accessible by permissions of the current chiefs, is believed to be the home of the great python fertility god. The forests offer very special and unique hiking opportunities.

The program of the Dzomo la Mupo community organization is focused on securing local food sovereignty, climate change resilience and protection of and access to biodiversity for marginalized indigenous communities in the Vhembe District of Limpopo Province. The communities are focused on the strengthening of traditional agricultural indigenous knowledge and seed saving practices, securing land, cultural and ecological rights, enabling inter-generational transfer of knowledge culture, biodiversity and livelihood strategies. It is an ecological holistic approach in a uniquely beautiful area of South Africa,

ECF next step support goals:

  • Strategic/business planning workshop
  • Fundraising workshop


    Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve

    The Cape West Coast Biosphere ( stretches northward from Diep River in Cape Town, South Africa to the Berg River, includes the West Coast, and covers 378,000 hectares of coastal lowland plains. It is unique in terms of its natural beauty, biodiversity, history, culture and location but the future of the area requires special management if it is to thrive. Cape Town is rapidly developing northwards along the West Coast because, according to census, its population is projected to double between 2002 and 2012. Housing estates, industries and increased traffic through the area threaten to destroy its integrity and character. This conflict between urban, industrial and agricultural land uses and the terrestrial, marine and aquatic natural ecosystems requires careful planning and management to ensure socioeconomic growth.

    Civil society on the West Coast recognized that urgent action was necessary to ensure that appropriate development plans be put into place. The decision was subsequently made to proclaim the Cape West Coast Biosphere, and the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program reviewed and designated the area a biosphere reserve. There are 598 biospheres globally, 74 of them in Africa and 6 in South Africa. All of them promote a balanced approach to the development of humans and the preservation of bio diversity in a particular region.The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve is unique in that it is led by all volunteers.

    This amazing all volunteer led team has created and implements programs on youth environmental education and entrepreneurship, invasive species removal, nature trail building, awareness raising community theater and art, ecotourism, and school grey water reclamation and food gardening.

    ECF next step support goals:

    • Strategic/business planning workshop
    • Fundraising workshop
    • Ecotourism - community development workshop
    • $2,500 for High School Water Quality Monitoring-STEM Learning kits
    • High School Water Quality Monitoring-STEM Learning workshop


        Flower Valley Conservation Trust

        The Agulhas Plain in the Cape region of South Africa is a well-known biodiversity ‘hotspot’. It is home to the largest storehouse of the lowland Elim fynbos and Rhenosterveld vegetation types, two of the biologically richest, yet most threatened vegetation types. The area is also home to 112 “Red Data Book” plant species, many on the verge of extinction, and it is therefore an important component of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

        Aside from the conservation challenges, the Agulhas Plain is also facing numerous social challenges. The unemployment rate is very high - particularly in the small towns situated here. Economists recently suggested the jobless rate could be as high as 80 percent in certain areas
        across the Plain.

        The Flower Valley Conservation Trust is taking a multi-faceted and integrated environmental, social and economic sustainability approach to address these challenges. During our visit we were very impressed by the wild, natural beauty of the fynbos, as well as the professionalism of the FVCT leadership.

        ECF next step support goals:

        • invasive species-biomass business planning workshop
        • Fundraising workshop focused on Early Learning Centre
        • Ecotourism - community development workshop


          Kruger 2 Canyon Community Holistic Cattle-Bush Ecosystem Conservation Management Project

          Cattle is known as the “African man’s bank”. Rural livelihoods depend on cattle for food, income and insurance for the future. Unfortunately active herding of cattle on communal lands is very rarely practiced and therefore the cattle have been left to graze the land unsustainably into a degraded state. This degradation has major impacts on the health of the cattle, the health of the environment and in turn the health of society. Activating Africa (AA) is actively involved as the project manager in partnership with Kruer2Canyons, Buffelshoek Trust, Conservation South Africa and University of Pretoria to change the manner in which cattle are herded, allow communities access to good animal health practices and also gain access to market for their cattle.

          Through holistic management the cattle can increase productivity and improve health, rejuvenate the eco systems which lies within the greater Kruger 2 Canyons Biosphere and even contribute to local croplands and economic income for the villages. AA is assisting communities with project management of the area, training and monitoring of holistic grazing plans, market access for meat and animals products and even additional benefits such as crop and water security.

          The initiative aims to be sustainable by empowering the cattle owners to create a farmer co-operative that will learn how to create a holistic grazing management plan, pay professional herders to take herd into the field, and have a basic knowledge of animal health. The capacity building needs for the community empowerment are good business skills and governance structures as well as training for herders and local farmers, monitoring and evaluation.

          ECF next step support goals:

          • $1,000 grant for 3 training sessions for farmers and herders on the Holistic grazing method

          So now that you've seen the organizations that we are working to support, perhaps it might be helpful to learn a little about us.

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