According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, the South African Environment Outlook Report indicates that the environment continues to deteriorate. This phenomenon has a negative impact on the goals of the National Development Plan and National Framework for Sustainable Development.
One of the major challenges is high levels of pollution emanating from littering and illegal dumping of waste, which affects the health of citizens and contravenes the Constitution.
In response to these challenges, the Department of Environmental Affairs has made a strategic decision to expand existing environmental education and awareness initiatives to reach out at ward level and enhance youth participation. Thus the establishment of the Youth Community Outreach Programme (YCOP) – a national programme to clean local municipalities and create jobs for young people.
Makana Municipality is faced with a serious challenge of illegal dumping. We are therefore extremely happy to receive 22 young people who will be placed in Makana for a period of three years in an effort to address issues related to illegal dumping through education and physical work through the YCOP.
Youth are regarded as agents of change and the community based environmental education and awareness programme aims to nurture a cohort of young people to be Environment Ambassadors who will educate their communities about environmental management.
The expected outcomes of this programme are active participation of communities in environmental management; awareness about conservation and sustainable use of the environment; improved waste management; patriotism; active participation by youth in environmental management; and socio-economic opportunities for youth (work opportunities, SMME development and skills development).
The DEA will appoint 205 young people on a three-year contract at salary level 6, who will be deployed at local municipality level to coordinate the programme in the local municipality.
Young people who are former participants of the DEA or municipal environment programmes will be given priority. Those who meet the set criteria will be selected from the DEA and local municipality databases of unemployed people. Appointments will be aligned to the DEA recruitment policy. The criteria for local municipality coordinators will be a degree or national diploma and knowledge of environment attained through participation in environment projects. Place of origin also counts, as we would to place youth in their areas of origin.
The DEA will provide the tools of trade – computers, transport and mobile phones. The office accommodation will be provided by local municipalities or within local DEA infrastructure.
Environmental Education Coordinators and Ward Champions
Environmental Educators will be responsible for the implementation of environmental education at ward level, meaning they will conduct community workshops. The selection criteria will be Grade 12, an accredited environmental education certificate and experience in environmental education. The appointment for this category will be facilitated by the District Project Management Company and the Local Municipality and be contracted for two years. They will be appointed under the EPWP policy.
Ward Champions will be in the mass employment category, responsible for the implementation of environmental projects. The appointment for this category will be facilitated by the District Project Management Company, DEA LGS team and the Local Municipality. They will be appointed under the EPWP policy. The payment method will be through either Project Management Company, Post Office or Labour Centres: this will be confirmed in due course.
The estimated number will be approximately 22 young people for this category per local municipality and 44 young people for this category per Metro.
DIssemination of Environmental Information
Environment library corners will be established in 2000 community and school libraries within three years. The DEA link will be created to all community and school libraries with ICT and connected to internet within three years. The Local Municipality Coordinators will also be responsible for overseeing this project.
We are very excited to welcome these young people once the programme begins and we look forward to working with them to towards creating a healthy and safe environment.
Honourable Executive Mayor Councillor Mzukisi Mpahlwa