Junior Achievement South Africa announced on Monday the launch of its Environmental Entrepreneurs programme. The programme focuses on promoting an understanding of the challenges of climate change, and how changes in behaviour can mitigate these challenges. It aims to encourage responsibility and cooperation among the learners, as these characteristics are necessary to drive personal habits which can ensure environmental sustainability. The programme culminates in the launch of a recycling project, initiated by the learners, encouraging socially responsible businesses.
Funded by HSBC Global, the Environmental Entrepreneurs programme has been developed for implementation in schools for learners in Grades 6 and 7 – ages 10 – 12 years. The programme was initially piloted in Latin America and has been redesigned to suit the environmental needs of South Africa. The launch in Africa has been made possible by a further generous grant from HSBC Global of £1,200 000 – £600 000 for South Africa and £300 000 each for Nigeria and Kenya. Isabel Correia, Head of Marketing and Company Secretary for HSBC South Africa noted “If we are successful in promoting environmental awareness and care amongst the young people who are our future leaders, we have a far greater chance of mitigating challenges to the environment and achieving higher levels of environmental sustainability.”
During the seven week programme, learners will be taught about climate change and the effect it has on the world and its economies. They will also be introduced to the concept of sustainable development and how it relates to care and conservation of our natural resources. They will learn about the three “R”’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Finally the learners will be divided into teams, which will be required to develop, plan and launch their own sustainable recycling businesses.
“South Africa is perfectly positioned to be at the forefront of environmentally and socially responsible business in the world. With our high rate of unemployed youth and high levels of pollution, Junior Achievement South Africa and HSBC Global identified an opportunity for us to translate the issues of our country into a key development focus. The Environmental Entrepreneurs programme will help create environmentally conscious, social entrepreneurs from a very young age, while addressing youth unemployment and global warming,” stated Linda McClure, Managing Director of Junior Achievement South Africa.
“All eyes will be on South Africa during the COP17 conference next week, when representatives of the world’s governments, international organizations and civil society will meet in Durban to discuss the global effects of climate change. This programme aims at diminishing the causes of climate change as well as diminishing poverty and unemployment in South Africa through promoting entrepreneurship as an alternative option to employment,”she added.