Riechelle Prinsloo

Riechelle Prinsloo

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About Me

My School’s Information

My Project's Information

  • Project Name

  • Project Discription

    Eco-Schools is a Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) school based program implemented in over 52 countries worldwide. It strives to benefit the schools in terms of whole-school development and improvement. Eco-Schools is about improving environmental management at the school as well as environmental learning. The program supports the National Curriculum (CAPS). Schools are evaluated after a period of participation and successful schools are awarded with an award. Schools can choose from the following themes: Resource Use, Nature and Biodiversity, Local and Global Issues, Healthy Living and Community and Heritage (WESSA, 2013). Three schools in the Moses Kotane Rural Municipality get registered a year and classes on a specific theme/s are presented during the year.

    This curriculum-based programme offers opportunities to:
    • Improve the school environment
    • Build young people's confidence and sense of citizenship through participation
    • Increase environmental awareness
    • Involve the local community
    • Reduce litter and waste
    • Reduce costs by saving water and energy
    • Gain local publicity
    • Develop relationships with other schools around the world make a commitment to continuously improve environmental performance at their school
    This curriculum-based programme offers opportunities to:
    • Improve the school environment
    • Build young people's confidence and sense of citizenship through participation
    • Increase environmental awareness
    • Involve the local community
    • Reduce litter and waste
    • Reduce costs by saving water and energy
    • Gain local publicity
    • Develop relationships with other schools around the world make a commitment to continuously improve environmental performance at their school
  • What made you start this Project?

    I firmly believe that Environmental Education is the strongest tool to promote sustainable development and sustainable resource use!
    It is said that there is a continuous interaction between our brains, thoughts, emotions, intentions and the environment we live in. According to a philosopher and naturalist, Richard Rorty, humans can only change themselves by changing their behavior. This is the only way that humans can rise above the ecological predicament we are currently in. This notion gets echoed by Janse van Rensburg, 1995 and Allers, 1997 when stating that it is the ultimate aim of an environmental education officer to change the behavior of people so that they also become more conservation orientated, aware, knowledgeable and active participants in sustainable living. During community case studies it was noted that environmental education can support community development and that environmental education is not only about the conservation of natural resources, but also about people working together to make their community a better place. The projects main objective is to improve the environmental literacy amongst learners of the Moses Kotane Rural area, North West Province.

    Due to the magnitude of the region and its diversity of occupants it was decided to focus on a smaller demographic group. It was also noted that the unemployment percentage in Moses Kotane is more than double of that of Thabazimbi, so the need for help is seen as more ‘urgent’ in the Moses Kotane municipality. The persons per square kilometer are almost six times as high in Moses Kotane as in Thabazimbi. This in itself raises a lot of concern in connection with health and safety issues.

    The main threat in the community at this stage is environmental degradation. This is described as where people cannot afford to take proper care of the environment. This issue is mainly caused by poverty and unemployment in the region. The environmental degradation takes the form of littering, soil erosion, over grazing veld by livestock, uncontrolled fires, poaching, cutting down of trees and pollution. This is a very wide spectrum to cover and individual programs will need to be developed to focus on each unit separately and individually. Only when all the aspects have been worked on separately can the environmental degradation be seen in its whole. It is important for the community to understand that the state of the environment affects every individual person either directly or indirectly. While working with schools in the communities it came to light that they are aware of problems such as littering and they are worried about environmental degradation.
  • What portion of the community have you impacted through your project?

    The focus schools were rural schools in the Moses Kotane Municipality. Five schools have been targeted since the implementation of the program in 2009. Two high schools, one primary school, one intermediate school and one crèche have been registered with Eco-Schools since 2009. Not only schools were benefited, but I also trained two assistants during the time period. One young man assisting me got a bursary to study at the Southern African Wildlife College (Conservation and Environmental Education Bridging Program). Through this and his work in the project he got nominated for an Enviropedia, Eco-Logic award in 2011, he got a permanent position at a Game Reserve in 2010 and he is currently studying at the Southern African Wildlife College (Higher Certificate Nature Conservation Implementation and Leadership, NQF level 5).
    I am currently training a new lady assistant.
  • What challenges have you faced with your project?

    The main challenges were interest in the program and communication with the learners in their mother language.
  • How did you overcome those Challenges?

    I got funding from a local Game Reserve and financial support to get the schools started as Eco-Schools. The Game Reserve sponsors the registration of three schools annually.
    The communication barriers were overcome by training assistants who help with the translation of program material.
  • What have you achieved through your project?

    Three schools achieved Green Flag status during the program. Three schools started a vegetable garden as a feeding project.Both assistants got permanent employment on Game Reserves close to their home villages. The assistants get opportunity to study further and improve their education.

    I have received financial support from a local Game Reserve to cover administration costs of the project. This is items such as printing of programs and transport to the schools and workshops.
    The assistant got a bursary from the Southern African Wildlife College.

    This project has received the following recognition: Our assistant got nominated for an Enviropidea, Eco-Logic award in 2011.
  • Have you raised money through partnerships for your projects?

    Yes

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