Using Social Media Platforms innovatively - to submit data on Environmental problems and track Environmental Education

By Keneilwe Mmushi
“Environmental Monitors (EMs), working in the Department of Environmental Affairs’ EM Programme in the K2C BR landscape are doing a splendid job in strengthening partnerships though environmental education, research support and identifying pressing environmental issues. These contributions are getting documented.” Mr Vusi Tshabalala, K2C EM Programme Manager said. 
Doing EE at Buffelshoek 
Since September 2017, community-based EMs have been collecting real-time spatial data on environmental issues and social engagements that contributes to a healthy relationship between nature and the society. The data collected is then shared on a social platform (WhatsApp messenger) and recorded in a spreadsheet”.
Erosion at Acornhoek 
The data is used to compile reports that serves to raise awareness and a shift towards achieving a healthy environment by trying to mitigate any environmental threats. K2C is in partnership with some of the major role players like LEDET, MTPA, SANBI and local municipalities which play a vital role in addressing the environmental issues identified by the Environmental Monitors on the ground. The main objectives of having the database is to: monitor change in the environment; identify environmental issues like erosion and invasive species; develop a spatial, graphic and temporal representation of the key issues in the landscape. It is also used as an educational tool (peer-to-peer education platform) and management tool for monitoring Environmental Monitors performance.
Farmers meeting at Seville B Diptank
The set of incoming data has improved vastly, with an initial number of 83 entries in the first month to an average of more than a 1000 recently. The data did not only increase quantitatively but with hard work from the EM Management team also qualitatively. Their investment to capacitate and guide the EMs paid dividends. The EM Managers developed with each EM group a data submission protocol which is a constant reference for EMs when they are in the field. 
With all this hard work our database to date has 8191 entries that outlines the key aspects of human-nature integration.
Nappies at Brooklyn Village - near a River


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