Combatting desertification in the Northern Cape
Desertification is a global pandemic, it is the process where fertile land becomes desert due to overgrazing, climate changes and deforestation. Annually on the 17th of June the United Nations (UN) declared ‘World Day to combat desertification’, the aim of this is to raise awareness on desertification and the methods on how it can be combatted.
The Northern Cape had a week-long initiative to educate and create awareness on this pandemic, especially seeing that we are a province that suffers from drought. In schools across the four local municipalities; Sol Plaatje, Dikgatlong, Magareng and Phokwane, learners were given the task of creating a poster educating the attendees on desertification and the various methods to combat it. Initially there were 18 schools that partook and on Monday and Tuesday four schools were chosen for the finale that took place on Friday at the Ikhutseng Community hall. The winning school was Thlatlogang Intermediate School from the Sol Plaatje Municipality walking away with R40 000.
The school that came in second was Isago Primary School winning R33 000, third place was Pabalelo Primary School winning R23000 and in fourth place was Delport Primary School winning R13 000. The money that the schools have won will come in the form of a voucher to shop at Makro. The Department of Environmental Affairs will accompany the schools when going to purchase goods to assist them in buying things for the school that will improve the schools environmental sustainability. Rolihlahla Intermediate School presented a stellar performance in their play, educating the audience on desertification. The learners were between the ages of ten and fourteen years. The schools Drama and Social Sciences Educator, Ishmael Mobungwa said, “The learners performed very well and they made us all proud, the learners are extremely hard working and talented”.
On Monday EPWPs were work shopped on waste separation, domestic and veld fires as well as climate changes, the aim of these workshops is to educate the community. Yards were identified in Warrenvale community, town, station residence and Ikhutseng township where trees were planted. The aim was to plant 300 trees; 94 have been planted already. Thlatlogang Intermediate school was visited by officials and EPWPs where they planted vegetation in the school as they also have a feeding scheme there. Ntobeko Dyani, Control Environmental Officer stated, “The school was a suitable place to plant vegetation as they had ample space, they also had a fence for protection of the vegetation and there are people there that will be able to take care of the plants, there is no point in planting in a place that will not be favourable to the vegetation”.
A theme of waste management and overgrazing was formulated in line with the events that took place, a local stakeholders dialogue took place whereby leaders representing various churches, NGO’s and government were present. The aim was so that everyone can engage on the issues at hand and stipulate how, as a province it can be combatted and more awareness created in communities.
These initiatives were partnered with: Women against Women and Children Abuse, Source Point NPO, CWP & 3L Development, WESSA, Patra Security & Cleaning enterprise, Greater Magareng ministers fratenal, Warrenton Tourism Association and Institute for Justice & Reconciliation.