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Wildlands Conservation Trust

IMAGINE a world where the poorest of the poor could feed themselves, clothe themselves, educate themselves, house themselves – by growing and bartering trees and collecting waste, all while conserving their natural environment and heritage.The life changing work that Wildlands does is structured through seven programmes carried out across 12 Community Ecosystem Based Adaptation (CEBA) clusters in six provinces. Our programmes are complimentary and all contribute towards our core focus of building robust ecosystems that underwrite human wellbeing and sustainable development. They are focused areas of intervention aimed at sustainable natural resource use and the development of a green economy.Where all seven programmes are implemented together it unlocks the ability of communities to address environmental degradation and poverty.The seven programmes are innovative and inspirational – they are:1. Trees for Life – This was first piloted in northern KwaZulu-Natal in 2004 and gives jobless and marginalised individuals the chance to “grow” themselves out of poverty by propagating indigenous trees and bartering these trees for livelihood support. We call these inspirational souls – Tree-preneurs. Tree-preneurs are local community members who grow indigenous trees at their homesteads and then barter these for goods they need such as food, bicycles, building materials and water tanks, as well as education support in the form of school and university fees, school uniforms and stationery.2. Greening your Future – Through this programme, the trees propagated by Tree-preneurs, are planted into restoration sites, restoring indigenous forests, riparian zones and sequestering carbon that local communities can trade as a source of annuity income. More than 1 million indigenous trees are planted into degraded areas – covering thousands of hectares, annually.3. Recycling for Life – This programme allows poverty stricken and marginalised people to collect and trade recyclable waste for livelihood support. Wildlands’ network of Waste-preneurs fulfil a very important function of cleaning their communities, removing glass, plastic, cans and paper from local water sources and communal areas, and ultimately creating clean environments for local residents. Waste-preneurs are local community members who collect recyclable waste both in and around their homesteads which they then barter for livelihood support items – such as food, bicycles, building materials and water tanks, as well as education support in the form of school and university fees, school uniforms and stationery.4. Clothes for Life – This is a new programme which was launched in April 2015. Green-preneurs (the collective term for Waste-preneurs and Tree-preneurs) , will now be able barter their trees and waste for bundles of good quality, second hand clothing, collected by schools all over Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Clothes-preneurs, Green-preneurs who barter their trees and waste for bundles of second hand clothing in addition to the health and well-being hampers and other livelihood support items, can use the clothing to create an informal store, and essentially use profit generated from the sale of this clothing to buy more stock, as well as generate an income for themselves.5. Ubuntu Earth – This programme is founded on the principle that human well-being and environmental health are directly linked. Central to this is the realisation that there is only one planet and that humankind has been developing irresponsibly, abusing resources and inducing environmental degradation, landscape transformation and resulting in climate change. To address these issues, Wildlands is developing a comprehensive training and capacity building process, developing core skills and nurturing the leadership, ambassadorship and citizenship of the extended Wildlands’ team and network of Green-preneurs.6. Khuthaza Business – This is a Wildlands’ Small and Micro Enterprise Development project, started in 2013, anchored by Mondi, Mondi Zimele and the South African Sugar Association (SASA) has enabled over 90 capital grants in exchange for trees. In addition, these micro-entrepreneurs are supported with mentorship, training and skills development to kick-start their small businesses and ensure a self-sustaining and viable business in the long term.7. Conservation SPACE – (Species, People and the Conservation of the Environment) This programme aims to expand the conservation of natural areas through various means. This includes direct land acquisition and proclamation, working with local communities and landowners to secure and proclaim land, and through funding the work of other organisations. Working with communities to secure land and use it as an engine for development, especially in rural areas, has historically been a niche of Wildlands.

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