Photos and video's are coming! Read on for more information on Educo Africa and refer to our website to see pictures of our work in action!
Where do we work?
Educo Africa's administrative base is in Plumstead and our Wilderness based Outdoor Learning Centre is in the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, run in partnership with Cape Nature. Our base camp manager Alex lives here with his wife and twin toddler girls.
From the centre one can only see wilderness in every direction, a starck contrast to the busy, bustling homes and communities of the Cape Flats that most of the Educo Africa's participants come from. The wilderness provides an opportunity for these youth to explore their potential, share their life journey so far and develop awareness of their developmental areas. For many it is their first time in such pristine natural surroundings and they practise strict leave no trace policies, water conservation and re-cycling at the centre. Through these experiences they develop a consciousness about sustainable environmental practise.
The participants are led into the wilderness in small groups of twelve facilitated by two Educo Africa facilitators who are rigorously trained in both hard and soft skills. In the wilderness they have to work as a team, resolve conflict, take turns at being the leader of the group taking responsibility for navigation, and any decisions made.
Educo Africa delivers their interventions in partnership with community based youth, HIV/AIDS and Leadership programmes. The wilderness intervention acts as a catalyst to acheiving the personal change the programmes are working towards. The underprivileged communities battle with HIV/AIDS, drugs, broken families, abuse and often low self esteem and limited personal ambition. Educo Africa takes the youth out of this environment and places them in the wilderness where they are held in a safe space emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually, which enables them to trust more, share more, risk more and dream more.
The increased self awareness and self concept that results from what they acheive in these seven days is transferred back to their day to day experience through constant reflection, circle time and use of metaphors whilst on the course.The staff from the community programmes are trained by Educo Africa in their capacity to support the youth on their return from thte wilderness. This capacity building training is made up of personal development and skills based interventions.
What impact do the interventions have?
One of the most common feedback comments from our one day Wilderness interventions in Silvermine is that the youth in the Cape Flats see local areas of nature as being for white people and have no sense of ownership for these areas. In 2010 Alice Ashwell completed her PHD research on Identity and belonging, Urban nature and adolescent development in the City of Cape Town. Coupled with Educo Africa’s research into the long term impacts of wilderness leadership interventions these two bodies of research endorse the value and deep lasting impact of connecting youth to nature and delivering deep reflective processes, personal challenge and small team work. The youth in Aswell’s study found that activities that were debriefed well and applied to every day challenges were most impacting and helpful, and helped them relate to nature and their experiences their in a more personal way. Such debriefing and transferring of learning is core to Educo Africa’s experiential wilderness methodology.
‘It is encouraging that, in their evaluations, 80% of youth credited nature-based programmes with helping them to change attitudes and practices, saying that they had become more aware of their dependence on the environment, were behaving more responsibly, and even considering conservation-related careers.’ (Ashwell 2010)
Educo Africa’s own Monitoring and Evaluation of courses reflects such shift in attitudes and behaviours as a result of the wilderness leadership and personal development interventions.
Sustaining the work
Educo Africa seeks to sustain it's interventions with youth at risk partly through the provision of corporate and international wilderness based interventions. These can be delivered locally to Cape Town or from our Base Camp. Anyone who wishes to know more about these please contact Educo Africa on 021 761 8939. Whilst our website is currently being updated it does provide an overview on the work Educo Africa does, take a look and see if you have skills, gifts in kind, donations that can support the work we do, we are always delighted to welcome new friends to Educo Africa. Ram Mountaineering have been a particularly faithful sponsor of Educo Africa!
Don't forget to see photos and fund out more visit our websitewww.educo.org.za call us on 021 761 8939, e-mail me at email@example.com or even better come and see us at 7 Dalegarth Road Plumstead.
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