06 February 2012, Cape Town – In a significant boost to the cause of responsible environmental stewardship, National Oil Company PetroSA today announced funding of R4,5 million over a three-year period to the Eco-Schools programme, which encourages environmental responsibility among the youth.
Offered by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa and the World Wildlife Fund, the Eco-Schools programme accredits schools that make a commitment to continuously improve their schools’ environmental performance. Currently 51 countries are part of the programme worldwide, with over 30 000 schools participating. Iran, China, USA and Uganda are some of the more recent countries to join the programme.
Kaizer Nyatsumba, the PetroSA Head of Corporate Affairs and Shared Services, said the R4, 5 million funding towards the Eco-Schools programme, as part of the NOC’s corporate social responsibility effort, indicated the company’s commitment to responsible environmental management.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, we at PetroSA take our environmental stewardship seriously. As a caring, proudly South African company, we understand the need to preserve our environment for future generations. The beauty of the eco-schools programme lies in the fact that it exposes young people, at an early age, to the importance of responsible environmental custodianship,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
Amongst the 650 South African schools that received an Eco-Schools award for their efforts in 2011, another 64 were honoured with an International Eco-Schools flag for developing and sustaining their environmental projects over a five-year period. Particularly noteworthy is the range of schools that have earned this prestigious award over the years: from under- resourced rural schools such as Carshalton Farm School in Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal to more well-resourced schools such as Virginia Preparatory in Durban North.
When schools register with the programme, they commit to improving environmental learning and action through the curriculum. Relevant themes are chosen by the learners and teachers, lesson plans are developed and school improvement plans and records of their progress are collected in a portfolio.
Now in its 10th year, the Eco-Schools Programme has become a valuable curriculum framework for schools to work towards sustainable development goals. Since its launch in South Africa in 2003, the number of schools that have registered has increased from 100 in the first year to over 1100 in 2011.
Over the past five years eco-schools projects have focused on issues such as establishing an indigenous garden and wetland, recycling and re-using as much of their school and home waste as possible and installing water tanks and being very active in reducing water usage and waste. Other initiatives have been building and designing solar cookers, introducing a healthy tuck shop devoid of junk food and helping the community by providing home-grown vegetables to those in need.
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