CapeNature creating jobs for rural communities

by CapeNature

CapeNature is mandated to promote and ensure nature conservation, render services and provide facilities for research and training and generate income.  While fulfilling this mandate, the organisation further addresses the need for job opportunities and provides training and social development opportunities through the implementation of projects within the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). These projects provide much needed employment opportunities to mostly previously disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape.

Job creation is geared towards:

• developing skills within targeted groups
• maintaining natural heritage assets
• providing income generating opportunities for previously disadvantaged communities
• exposing participants to biodiversity management

CapeNature is driven by the vision to conserve nature for a sustainable future. The organisation’s mission is to manage, conserve and promote our human, natural and heritage assets through best practice, access, benefit sharing and sustainable use.

The growth of job creation initiatives

CapeNature’s job creation projects evolved from Siyabulela Projects in 2006, which started with a R3 million grant from DEADP. A decade later, approximately 500 jobs have been created from a R24 million grant received for current projects implemented under the EPWP banner. This has contributed to addressing the number of unemployed people living in the Western Cape.

Through the implementation of job creation initiatives, CapeNature contributes to the national job creation targets. The planning framework around the EPWP is aligned to the National Development Plan, provincial government strategic objectives (PSO), and both the Strategic Plans of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) and CapeNature.

Making a difference in the rural landscape

The organisation’s job creation initiatives are aimed at maintaining the Western Cape’s natural heritage assets. This means that the efforts of the EPWP are aimed at improving ecological infrastructures. CapeNature implements EPWP projects on 25 rural nature reserves and two urban reserves across the Western Cape. The project participants work on islands, provincial nature reserves, state forests, wilderness areas and mountain catchment areas.

The participants are involved in the following tasks:

Fire and Alien Vegetation Management:

• Construction of fire breaks;
• Basic fire fighting;
• Block burns (preparation, execution and post-fire patrols);
• Alien vegetation clearing.

Management and Maintenance of Tourism Infrastructure:

• Road maintenance;
• Construction and maintenance of hiking trails;
• Construction and maintenance of fencing;
• Mitigation of soil erosion.

Eco-Tourism Services:

• Cleaning services;
• Gate guarding services.

Training, skills development and social interventions

The EPWP training objectives are aligned to the National Skills Development Strategy. The focus is for participants to receive functional, compliance and capacity building training, as well as social development interventions to improve their level of readiness for the job market should they decide to exit the EPWP.

On-the-job training allows previously unemployed and now participating youth to start or develop their careers. Most of the training they receive is accredited and there are various successes with the transition to mainstream jobs within organisations such as CapeNature, local municipalities and private companies.

Training provided includes, but is not limited to:

• Customer Service
• Visitor Information Management and Customer Care
• Financial Management
• Chainsaw
• Field Safety and Survival Snake Awareness
• Health and Safety Levels 1, 2, and 3
• Brush Cutter First Aid Levels 1, 2 and 3
• Basic Security

The Value of Partnerships for Social Development Interventions

The EPWP teams come from poverty stricken areas and their communities are faced with social ills ranging from substance abuse, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, to malnutrition and domestic violence. CapeNature partners with various organisations and companies in an effort to provide social interventions to deal with these social issues, which may result in positive changes in the attitude and behaviour of the participants.

People & Parks within CapeNature

CapeNature keeps the Western Cape People & Parks Steering Committee abreast of the regional and corporate job creation initiatives. The committee convenes on a quarterly basis to monitor progress in the implementation of the People & Parks action plan and local economic development opportunities in their respective neighbouring protected areas with respect to job creation initiatives.

For more information on the EPWP please contact your nearest CapeNature office or visit our website

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