Following a R1,5 million investment into three successful eco hubs projects in the last financial year, the Uitenhage-Despatch Development Initiative (UDDI) today extended this innovative programme to include six schools in the Uitenhage-Despatch area.
Coming at an additional investment of R42 000, the eco hubs were unveiled at four primary schools and two high schools over a seven hour period. The eco hubs transform illegal dumpsites in townships into sustainable clusters that produce vegetables using natural and waste resources.
Last year a total of R1,5 million was pumped into three successful eco-hubs in Khayamnandi (Despatch) and two sites in Uitenhage (Middle Street and Wells Estate) which collectively employ 36 temporary and 12 permanent workers of previously unemployed community members.
“First piloted by the UDDI in partnership with the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) in 2012, the eco-hubs involve the development initiatives in four areas which are nursery incubation, vegetable and medicinal plant production, recycling of waste, compost making as well as arts and culture.
“The initiative benefited mainly disadvantaged schools which were selected with the assistance of the regional Department of Education. The four beneficiary primary schools are Nomathamsanqa Primary School (Despatch), Melumzi Primary School (KwaNobuhle), Ilinge Primary School (KwaLanga) and James Ndulula Primary (KwaLanga). The two high schools which participated are Nkululeko and Thanduxolo high schools both located in KwaNobuhle,” says UDDI project manager Wandisile Makwabe.
In addition, a total of 2,200 TOMs shoes were also handed over to the primary school learners which were donated by SESEGO Cares NPO (the giving partner of TOMs in the US).
Makwabe says in order to ensure the longevity of the initiative; the UDDI has enlisted the support of The Waste Trade Company to provide waste bags and educational support on waste management to schools. The company has also pledged ongoing support to the schools which will see the waste management company buy waste from these schools as part of the company’s adopted schools programme.
“This initiative bodes well for the UDDI’s development mandate which calls for partnerships with the community in education and skills initiatives that address the creation of jobs through the development and implementation of community projects.
“Reaching the youth within the community we serve is therefore important as it provides us with a unique opportunity for educating learners on the sustainable use of natural resources, not only as a means for food production, but for promoting self-reliant communities through entrepreneurial activities,” Makwabe adds.
Author: Lunga Mtshizana
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