South African National Lottery Supports AfriOceans Warriors
I am so delighted to announce that we, AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, have been allocated a handsome grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) for the AfriOceans Warriors Environmental Education Programme, an exciting 3 year environmental education programme that aims to reach 170 000 learners along our coast!
God/ the Universe, has been so kind to us! The last year and half was a tough time for the organisation as we struggled with limited funding after the unexpected and sudden withdrawal of support from our previous funder after many years of loyalty toward them, which shocked and surprised many. But it never stopped us from continuing the good work we were committed to doing – at the same time that I was being asked by our sponsor to hand over the Shark Centre, which was an AfriOceans project, our vision which we created and from which we ran our environmental education programmes for children, we were laying the foundation for our new future, independent of restrictions that were once placed upon us. Our mandate clashed with that of our sponsor at the time: while their approach is passive education and awareness, we, as an organisation with a reputation for leading innovative awareness campaigns, follow an ‘action’ and activism-based approach to education and awareness.
So just before leaving, and taking a lateral approach to what we felt was becoming staid environmental education models that ceased to really inspire the youth and make a difference, we broke the mould and on 2 December 2009 AfriOceans created a new African Tribe, the AfriOceans Warriors. The launch event included 430 learners from 14 high schools and junior schools in Cape Town, South Africa, including 30 learners from COSAT in Khayelitsha, who walked 8km in howling South Easter winds along a stretch of the coast to give a ‘Voice to the Oceans’. After forming a symbolic S.O.S. on the beach they reached their final destination where invited dignitaries welcomed them, and to whom they handed a scroll. The scroll highlighted their concerns regarding the state of our oceans, and requested our country’s leaders to take action and allow the youth of South Africa their constitutional right to inherit healthy oceans. These young people are the AfriOceans Warriors!
Though the young AfriOceans Warriors continued to be involved in amazing initiatives such as river and beach cleanups, the forming of an AfriOceans Warriors Vuvuzela Band, video productions and much more, the potential to grow the Tribe was limited due to financial constraints – until today! Money rules our world, including what we as a non-profit organization can achieve, and just how much of a difference we can really make. Now with more funding than we have ever been awarded for environmental education before, I am filled with gratitude toward the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund for believing in AfriOceans, in our children and the need for this Programme. This Programme is unique, and special in many ways, the NLDTF saw this, and many others have too – it has, and will continue to make a huge difference in the lives of many young South African’s, as well as toward the conservation of our oceans.
I feel confident to say that this Programme will lay the foundation for many great initiatives in environmental education both locally and internationally. We look forward to collaborating with many other NPOs, and to bringing on many partners and making sure that together we provide our youth with the correct guidance and tools to ensure their constitutional right is met – if not they are the ones that will suffer the most.
Last but most definitely not least I need to thank the many people who have supported us, and in particular two special people who were part of the creation of the AfriOceans Warriors, Leonie Jacobson, Deputy Head Master of Muizenberg High, and Terry Corr, Head of Education of AfriOceans. A special thanks to Terry for believing in AfriOceans and this project, and bringing to my attention the Lottery ad for proposal submissions, and for all his hard work since – it has paid off Terry! Many of the old team are back together, and growing, and there is much to do during our programme setup phase which we have now entered with great enthusiasm. We did it then, we’ve done it now, and together we will keep doing it!
Watch my space!