Phindile Mangwana, a UWC Environmental and Water Sciences graduate on a two-year Table Mountain Fund (TMF) internship programme at WESSA Western Cape, has won a prize for his Khayelitsha Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) and has been selected to join the 2010 Bayer Young Environmental Envoy Programme.
The Programme aims to identify youth leaders in environmental protection, to provide them with learning and global networking opportunities and thereby to promote greater youth involvement in environmental issues around the world (see www.bayeryoungenvoy.com).
Phindile was one of two successful applicants who each received a prize of R10,000 towards their projects and who have been selected to represent South Africa as Environmental Envoys on a study trip to Leverkusen in Germany early next month.
The winning project put forward by Phindile is a youth-based environmental education programme that aims to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of wetland ecosystems, and to assist young people in Khayelitsha to devise innovative approaches to the problem of wetland degradation and loss.
Applicants were required to submit essays outlining their environmental project and explain how it addresses environmental challenges such as water conservation, litter and waste management, energy efficiency, and climate change. Five candidates from around the South Africa were short-listed from 13 originally-qualifying applicants and travelled to Johannesburg on 6 October to present their projects to a panel of judges with representatives from Bayer, the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) and media partner SAFM.
On his trip to Germany Phindile will join envoys from around the world in a study tour, which will provide them with a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience of best environmental protection practices. The program is focused on the interplay between industry, households and governments in the achievement of sustainable development goals, and will include a visit to Bayer’s state-of-the-art waste management facilities; the viewing of a land remediation project; and a visit to Bayer’s agricultural research center to view how products are continually being developed or refined to minimize the impact of the product on the environment.
The envoys will have the opportunity to learn from the speakers of the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) about the broad range of environmental protection measures that have been standard practice in Germany for many years. They will also visit the municipal waste management office of Leverkusen to learn about citizen education programs on waste management and see for themselves the municipality’s recycling center.
Finally, the envoys will hold discussions with Bayer experts and Bayer Board members, high-ranking representatives of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and other external experts for Sustainable Development.
To ensure sustainability of the programme, Phindile and his fellow envoys from across the globe will be encouraged keep in contact after returning to their home countries and to pass their new experiences on to their communities and organizations.