We had the pleasure of spending the day with Sandile and David from Wildlands.
Wildlands have a compelling mission, one that we can all agree with. This is it: Imagine a world where the poorest of the poor could feed themselves, clothe themselves, educate themselves, house themselves – by growing and bartering trees and collecting waste, all while conserving their natural environment and heritage.
As simple it sounds, it takes incredible amount of passion and commitment to make it a reality.
We spent the day with Sandile and Michael at Cato where they are creating a food garden. This garden is the used to teach members of the community how to grow their own food in a sustainable way. Food security is a very big issue in South Africa
These are the other programs they have:
Trees for Life – This was first piloted in northern KwaZulu-Natal in 2004 and gives jobless and marginalised individuals the chance to “grow” themselves out of poverty by propagating indigenous trees and bartering these trees for livelihood support. We call these inspirational souls – Tree-preneurs.
Greening your Future – Through this programme, the trees propagated by Tree-preneurs, are planted into restoration sites, restoring indigenous forests, riparian zones and sequestering carbon that local communities can trade as a source of annuity income. More than 1 million indigenous trees are planted into degraded areas – covering thousands of hectares, annually.
Recycling for Life – This programme allows poverty stricken and marginalised people to collect and trade recyclable waste for livelihood support. Wildlands’ network of Waste-preneurs fulfil a very important function of cleaning their communities, removing glass, plastic, cans and paper from local water sources and communal areas, and ultimately creating clean environments for local residents.
Clothes for Life – This is a new programme which was launched in April 2015. Green-preneurs (the collective term for Waste-preneurs and Tree-preneurs) , will now be able barter their trees and waste for bundles of good quality, second hand clothing, collected by schools all over Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
Ubuntu Earth – This programme is founded on the principle that human well-being and environmental health are directly linked.
Khuthaza Business – This is a Wildlands’ Small and Micro Enterprise Development project, started in 2013, anchored by Mondi, Mondi Zimele and the South African Sugar Association (SASA) has enabled over 90 capital grants in exchange for trees.
Conservation SPACE – (Species, People and the Conservation of the Environment) This programme aims to expand the conservation of natural areas through various means. This includes direct land acquisition and proclamation, working with local communities and landowners to secure and proclaim land, and through funding the work of other organisations.
And now Sustainable Food Gardens!
WILDLANDS, a leading Hilton environmental NPO, is dedicated to conserving South Africa’s biodiversity and, with the Msunduzi Municipality, launched the “Kerbside Programme” in 2013.
The kerbside-orange bag programme is aimed at providing residents with a convenient and hassle-free recycling collection service.
“Wildlands is proud to say it assisted the Msunduzi Municipality with the establishment of the orange bag recycling model. However, after almost three years of recycling collections Wildlands has decided to hand over this service and the rolling out of this programme to the new and upcoming network of SMMEs. We are shifting our focus to more catalytic interventions that have defined socioeconomic benefits,” said Wildlands CEO, Dr Andrew Venter.
Wildlands will now focus its efforts on its wastepreneurs, community members who collect and barter their waste for livelihood support and school networks. These are both strong networks that have a significant impact on waste management in the two municipalities, Msunduzi and uMngeni.
“As Wildlands we convey our sincere and heartfelt appreciation to the Msunduzi Municipality for their amazing contribution and continued support in ensuring the kerbside programme success, and as a result will continue collecting from the seven recycling villages which we have across the two municipalities, because these provide an important community service,” said Venter.
The recycling villages can be found at Hayfields Mall, Quarry Shopping Centre in Hilton, Greensdale, WESSA in Howick and Curry’s Post in Nottingham Road.