Acornhoek is a rapidly growing rural centre situated in theBushbuckridge Local Municipality in Mpumalanga. The extended Acornhoek community is severely impoverished, characterised by high unemployment, HIV Aids prevalence rates and poor education and health infrastructure.
Nedbank has partnered with Wildlands and Kruger2Canyon to catalyse and support a unique partnership that will enable the transformation of the Acornhoek community into one that is cleaner, greener, and more sustainable, whilst empowering local residents.
The Partnership is anchored by financial support from Nedbank, ENGEN and the National Department of Environmental Affairs, who collectively contributed over R 6 000 000 to initiate the Project, and a further R 2 000 000 per annum over the next two years. The partner organisations are the Global White Lion Protection Trust, Klaserie Eco-Training, the Timbavati Foundation, Nourish and Hlokomela.
The initial Partnership objectives are:
The establishment of networks of Tree-preneurs and Waste-preneurs throughout the Acornhoek community, growing trees and collecting recyclable waste to be bartered for livelihood goods.
The establishment of Tree-preneur and Waste-preneur inspired schools (and school children), enabling them to generate income on a sustainable basis to progressively improve their facilities.
The expansion of the Eco-schools and Star Lion Eco-cubs Projects across the community.
The greening of Acornhoek and restoration of the Blyde River area in partnership with the Moletele Community.
The partnership was initiated in September 2014. Since then the partnership has:
Enabled the creation of 42 full-time jobs, facilitating the establishment of the Tree-preneur and Waste-preneur networks, and greening and restoration activities;
Activity in 24 Schools, 3 Creches, 1 Old Age Centre and the Hloklomela HIV /AIDS Support Group.
The recruitment of 423 Tree-preneurs, who have propagated over 60 000 Indigenous Trees and 19 500 Moringa seedlings;
The establishment of a pilot Waste-preneur based recycling network.
The recruitment of 10 Eco-Schools and 5 Star Lions Schools.
The seedlings and recycling will be bartered for a range of livelihood support goods including, product hampers, education support, building materials, bicycles, water tanks, solar equipment and Hippo Water Rollers.
“The project has helped the empowerment of participating individuals who were once marginalised from the local economy to become viable small businesses in their own right. Nedbank is proud to be part of this ground-breaking partnership which aligns so closely with our vision of integrated sustainability,” concludes Nina Wellsted, Sustainability Manager at Nedbank.
Acornhoek Project Visit (Picture: Kirsten Oliver)
(From L to R) Mokgadi Mokgode (K2C), Mbali Mashele (K2C), Principal Raganya Eckson, Corne Havinga (Klaserie Eco – Training), Dr Andrew Venter (Wildlands CEO), Nina Wellsted (Nedbank) and Lineth Sekgobela (K2C) celebrate the successes of their environmentally beneficial interventions at Seganyane Primary School. The group are surrounded by hundreds of indigenous trees and Moringa seedlings, which will not only benefit the school, but also the sustainability of this area.