On the 28th of June 2012 SCOUTS South Africa was awarded the Mail & Guardian’s Greening the Future Award for Schools and Institutions. The award is an annual celebration of efforts to create a cleaner planet without compromising progress.
“Environmental training has always formed part of our Scouting programme. With climate change being a hot topic of discussion these days, our annual climate change challenge was a good way to empower our members and get them involved in community based projects,” said Milly Siebrits, chief executive officer of the SCOUTS South Africa.
Approximately 2730 South African Cubs and Scouts, 7 – 18 years old, as well as 329 rovers and adults and 2500 German scouts, participated in more than 120 climate change-related projects. These ranged from setting up food gardens at crèches and schools to a clean-water project in a township and removing alien vegetation. Risk mapping for potential environmental disasters, planting indigenous trees and recycling were also part of the project that addressed two of the Millennium Development Goals namely promoting food gardens as part of the community based projects to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and also contributing to ensuring environmental sustainability. Three local youth also formed part of the World Scouting Organisation’s delegation at the COP17 climate change negotiations.
“Apart from the consistent dedication and hard work it required from the young members, the fun climate challenges also mobilised their ingenuity and passion for our environment. In 2013 the young people built solar devices such as water heaters and solar updraft towers,” explains Mrs Siebrits.