The Environmental Fellowship Programme is an initiative that was created as a response to a continuous and growing interest for after school activities from the young people in the small rural town of Nieuwoudtville.
Nieuwoudtville’s remote location, paired with a lack of educational resources and after school activities, provides an unappealing learning and growing environment for young learners.
The Fellowship programme aims to create an inspiring, self-motivating environment for children, providing a space for growth and learning on a personal and career oriented level. The programme is centred on environmental themes, thus supporting and exploring the rich biodiversity of the Northern Cape.
Funded by the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, the Fellowship programme and activities are run by Indigo development & change, with support from a Steering Committee made up by representatives from: the local school, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Cape Nature, Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) and the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC).
The programme supports eight local youth between the ages of 11-13, the eco fellows, who meet at the Indigo workshop space after school once a week. Through the weekly sessions they engage in interactive biodiversity activities and general mentorship and skills development. In order to also reach broader spectra of local youth, the weekly sessions are open once a month to all interested learners in Nieuwoudtville. Planned modules include: Introduction to Our Natural Environment; Computer literacy; Self-confidence and handling conflicts; and A day as a ‘’ranger’’. These modules aim to provide a balanced mix of practical activities related to self-development and growth in the environmental field, and will incorporate much of the work that Indigo development & change is active in.
Through learning and participatory methodologies, the program will help create an interest and awareness of the natural environment, support personal development and create a motivation for pursuing careers in a biodiversity field. With a passionate and proactive Indigo support group, the Eco fellowship aims to open the door for future environmental leaders.