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For more information on the Emthanjeni case study click on the above image.









During the long period of struggle for democracy and majority rule in South Africa many and deep relations were established between people and organisations in South Africa and Sweden.  Since the transition from apartheid to democracy conditions were created for formalised partnership between the two countries at a national level.  Thus, Swedish assistance to South African has been transformed from support to the struggle against apartheid into the development of regular bilateral co-operation since 1995.  It is most likely that the regular assistance through Sida will carry on for some years after the shift of the millennium.  After that in all essentials the relations between South Africa and Sweden should be build on mutuality, where for example technical, scientific and cultural co-operation and commercial interaction gradually will replace the assistance.

An important element in the strengthening of this gradual transition into mutuality is the establishment of broad relations between towns and municipalities in the two countries.

When looking for a partner for an inter local development co-operation on Agenda 21, the City of Karlstad was proposed to liaise with De Aar and a first contract was made in February 1997.   Further contacts to discuss areas of common interest and mutual benefit were established towards the end of 1998 and in April 1999 a Swedish delegation visited De Aar in order to make the initial discussions more concrete.  During this visit consensus was reached that the co-operation should be focused on problems relevant to De Aar.   This, however, doesn’t reduce the value and mutuality of the co-operation.

A basic agreement was signed on 29 April 1999 in De Aar.  In the following the intended co-operation between De Aar and Karlstad is outlined, as it has been formulated regarding contents and form and necessary support for its implementation.  The proposed work programme should not be seen as definite, since it should allow for changes according to changing needs and preconditions.


The overall objective is to guide and assist each other in the implementation of the local work with Agenda 21.   Improving the competence of the parties by transfer of knowledge will be an essential part of the co-operation, but Sweden’s official goals for development assistance should also be guiding the co-operation, that is, to focus on poverty alleviation, economic growth, economic and social equality, environment protection and gender equality.

Four fields of co-operation:

Public awareness and training

Water and sanitation improvements

Solid Waste Management

Pilot projects at educational institutions have been reviewed and agreed upon.

  1. Public awareness and training

The Town Council in De Aar is familiar with Agenda 21, but has not implemented it to date.   The city of Karlstad has progressed quite far with the implementation of a Local Agenda 21 Action Plan and experiences gained in Karlstad could be valuable for De Aar.   People’s involvement and their ability to take part in a democratic process in fundamental for a successful work with Agenda 21.

Seminars and workshops for councillors, officials and community representatives with the view of giving a general information of what a Local Agenda 21 is about.
Attitude and responsibility towards the community and the local authority.  Establish a dialogue between the Town Council and the public to deal inter alia with the existing non payment culture, littering etc. and work on a positive view of the town.
What does home-ownership mean and what are the responsibilities thereof ?
Younger as well as older people should be taught how to use water and electricity and why it is necessary to have an organised rubbish removal system.
Introduction of the Agenda 21 concept in the Town Council planning and activities by means of having an Agenda 21 co-ordinator from Karlstad working together with a counterpart from De Aar.
Establishing pilot projects on ecological gardening which would help people to become self sufficient on vegetables (Urban agriculture).

  1. Water and sanitation improvements

In De Aar as well as in the province as a whole water scarcity is becoming a serious constraint for socio-economic development.  The ecological aspects are also evident why water resources management needs to be given high priority.  Some potential projects within this field could be:

Development of a computerised system to monitor the scarce groundwater resources of De Aar in a way similar to the monitoring system in Karlstad.
Water tariff study with focus on a system for (1) prepaid consumption and (2) progressive water tariffs, in order to reduce consumption for conservation purposes as well as to minimise the Council arrears.
Study to look into further possibilities to use purified waste water for irrigation as well as sludge as a fertiliser.
Rain water harvesting.
  1. Solid waste management

This issue is an important matter to the Town Council in De Aar.  Currently, an empty gravel-pit is being used by Council have sanctioning from the Government to use this gravel-pit for dumping household rubbish and building rubble.

Since De Aar is dependant on subsurface water sources, the current system is unacceptable.

The following areas of co-operation are judged as the most urgent and relevant ones.

Providing authoritative advanced training to establish an acceptable system base on ecological recycling principles.
Introducing a system for deduction of tariffs as a reward for keeping an area clean and for recycling certain products in a certain area, products that are attractive at the refuse dump.
  1. Pilot projects at educational institutions

The responsibility for the educational institutions in De Aar, as in the rest of South Africa, rests with the Provincial Administration.  In Northern Cape a number of programs are already going on aimed at improving the quality of the present educational system.

However, without interfering or overlapping these programs, a number of partner activities on environmental issues could be envisaged, like exchange activities based on local initiatives from individual schools in both De Aar and Karlstad.  Co-operation with the Provincial administration has been established and the MEC has given approval for pilot projects at some schools in De Aar which have shown interest in the project.

Projects to deal with environmental issues as well as more practical aspects to make pupils more interested in the nature.

  1. Possible areas for further co-operation

Introduction of solar heaters for households, instead of electrical geysers.
Cultural exchange.


The forms for the co-operation should be characterised by the following:

The co-operation should be based upon a genuine interest and commitment of the parties to maintain the relationship.
The relationship should be characterised by mutuality and thus benefit all parties.
The co-operation should be broad and primarily comprise the municipality’s own fields of operations, but also other organisations such as NGO’s could be involved.
Required knowledge and competence should primarily be provided from the municipality’s own resources.
The laws and regulations applicable to Local Government should be observed.


A broad and extensive community engagement implies financial assistance from the Swedish Association of Local Authorities (SALA) through Sida in order to guarantee the sustainability of the co-operation.  SALA is on behalf of Sida running a development co-operation project in Northern Cape.  “The Local running a development co-operation project in Northern Cape.  “The Local Governement Support programme”.   Within the frames of this project SALA has obtained a supplementary grant to cover the costs of a development co-operation between Karlstad and De Aar.  According to the original plans the project should be carried through at mid-year 2000, but it can be extended till the end of the year.


Karlstad is called the lakeside city where the sun always shines – hence its nickname Sun City.

Karlstad is perfectly located between Stockholf and Oslo, beside  Sweden’s largest lake, Vänern.  The area around the city is magnificent in its beauty and there is lots of scope for leisure activities.  Fishing and water sports are especially popular.   It is said that the sun shines more here than in any other place due to an innkeeper who once spread her happiness throughout the city.


A country where sophisticated technology and efficient industry exist side by side with the wild beauty of great forests and a myriad lakes.

Now deep into its second century without war with a living standard higher than that of the United States and with one of the most extensive social welfare programmes on earth,   Sweden is in many respects the envy of Europe.  But earthly paradises do not come cheaply;  the Swedes carry the world’s heaviest tax burden, and their welfare services cost more than 70 per cent of the national budget.

On the whole, the climate is extreme.  Summers can bring heat waves, but they are brief.   Winters in the north are seven months long and in the south three;  to all areas they bring deep snow and ice.

About half the country is covered by forest, spruce and pine with an admixture of birch – the national tree.

Fewer than 8,5 million people live in this large country.  Most Swedish farmers are owner – occupiers, with the family providing the labour force; produce is sold through cooperatives.

Unemployment is consistently higher in the north, and many “northerners feel that they are living in an underprivileged territory.

Just about every family has a car, many have a motor or sailing boat as well, and everywhere there is easy access to the countryside.  Many families have a second home.

Temperatures drop to their lowest about the end of February, though March can be radiant with sunshine.


Area    :    449 793km²

Capital    :    Stockholm

Currency    :    Krona

Religion    :    Christian (94% Evangelical Lutheran)

Main primary products – dairy products, cereals, potatoes, sugar beet, rapeseed, timber, iron ore, copper, lead and zinc.

Major industries – Engineering and electrical goods, timber products, paper and wood pulp, motor vehicles, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum products.

On Sunday we were shown around Karlstad by Mr Lars-Rune Bengtsson and Lars-Martin Jansson.

Mr Bengtsson is the city architect and provided a great deal of background information and history about the buildings in Karlstad.

After the walking tour of the city, we met Mr Arinell at his home where tea was served and a tree planting ceremony was held to commemorate the agreement between De Aar and Karlstad.   Fortunately the hole had already been dug and the Mayor, Councillor Jenkins, and Mr Lars-Martin Jansson jointly planted the tree.

We then were taken on a tour of Värmland, situated along the Klarälven River and the Fryken lakes.  The Fryken lakes (Fryken valley) consists of Övre Fryken, Mellan Fryken and Nedre Fryken narrow lakes with a total length of 80 km, connected to Lake Vänern by the Norsälv river.

The Klarälven River Klar is one of the longest riviers in Sweden and for 270km of its total length of 550km it runs ghrough Värmland.

This is the latest information on the Co-operation Agreement



Rear (L to R) : Gerhard Engelbrecht, Blackie van Staden, Hazel Jenkins, Franscois Taljaard, Romein van Staden

Front (L to R) : Mikael Schultz, Kennith Markman (Mayor), Jörgen Arinell


During the long period of struggle for democracy and majority rule in South Africa many and deep relations were established between people and organisations in South Africa and Sweden. Since the transition from apartheid to democracy conditions were created for formalised partnership between the two countries at a national level. Thus, Swedish assistance to South African has been transformed from support to the struggle against apartheid into the development of regular bilateral co-operation since 1995. It is most likely that the regular assistance through Sida will carry on for some years after the shift of the millennium. After that in all essentials the relations between South Africa and Sweden should be build on mutuality, where for example technical, scientific and cultural co-operation and commercial interaction gradually will replace the assistance.

An important element in the strengthening of this gradual transition into mutuality is the establishment of broad relations between towns and municipalities in the two countries.

When looking for a partner for an inter local development co-operation on Agenda 21, the City of Karlstad was proposed to liaise with De Aar and a first contact was made in February 1997. Further contacts to discuss areas of common interest and mutual benefit were established towards the end of 1998 and in April 1999 a Swedish delegation visited De Aar in order to make the initial discussions more concrete. During this visit consensus was reached that the co-operation should be focused on problems relevant to De Aar. This, however, does not reduce the value and mutuality of the co-operation.

A basic agreement was signed on 29 April 1999 in De Aar.

The agreement regulates the terms of co-operation and the respective roles and responsibilities of the parties that have signed this agreement.

The overall objective is to guide and assist each other in the implementation of the local work with Agenda 21. Improving the competence of the parties by transfer of knowledge will be an essential part of co-operation, that is, to focus on poverty alleviation, economic growth, economic and social equality, strengthening of local democracy, environment protection and gender equality.

This agreement is for a period of 10 months, starting from the date the agreement is signed, the 30th of November 2001. A final report will be submitted to SALA IDA no later than the 26th of October 2002. The parties also agree to aim for continuation of the co-operation for at least one year beyond the initial phase.

The parties agree on the following objectives:

Development Objective. Improvements of the environment, especially in the disadvantaged suburbs, and the establishment of an ecological sustainable environment.
Project Objective. By 2003 the Municipality of Emthanjeni has developed a strategy for an ecological sustainable development and the residents can see real improvements within the areas of co-operation.

The two parties have the responsibility of the implementation of the results and activities listed in an annex to this agreement.

Emthanjeni on the 30th of November 2001

For the Municipality of Emthanjeni

For the Municipality of Karlstad

Kenneth Markman – Mayor

Jörgen Lenz – Chairman of Environmental Health Committee

Faried Manual – Municipal Manager

Mikael Schultz – Head of Environmental Health Department




Development Objective

Improvements of the environment, especially in the disadvantaged suburbs, and the establishment of an ecological sustainable development.

Immediate (Project) Objective

By 2003 the Municipality of Emthanjeni has developed a strategy for an ecological sustainable development and the residents can see real improvements of the environment within our proposed areas of co-operation.

Outputs (Results)

All councilors and Heads of Departments of Emthanjeni will in 2002 have obtained training on Agenda 21
50% of other municipal staff will have obtained similar training before the end of 2003
The residents in the suburbs where the pilot projects have been implemented will be aware of the project and will be able to see real results
The planning of a Nature & Environmental School has started during 2002
More than 50% of the schools in Emthanjeni will be working with practical environmental projects


Establish committees and inform them
Study visit to Karlstad in Sweden to study how a Swedish municipality is working with Agenda 21 and environmental issues within our areas of co-operation - (F. Manual)
Urban agriculture in some chosen suburbs - (Romein)
Pilot projects at schools - (Romein)
Establishment of a Nature & Environmental School - (Tallies / Dept Education)
Training/Information of municipal departments concerned, NGO’s and residents - (Romein)
Pilot projects on recycling and sorting disposal in chosen suburbs - (Willie/Barcelona)
Development of a tariff system to encourage recycling and protection of the environment - (Willie)
Information campaign within the field of water & sanitation - (Tallies)
Development of a system to check the quality of tap water from municipal bore holes - (Tallies)
Investigation of the possibility to make use of sludge and purified water from the municipal sewage treatment works - (Tallies)







2 – 9 MARCH 2002







The conditions in Sweden differ vastly from that of South Africa and specifically the Northern Cape and De Aar.  One should always keep this in mind when looking for ideas and solutions to Agenda 21 and related problems.

Sweden has in relation to its size (449 964 km2) a small population of approximately 8,855 million. It is however a technologically advanced country with good infrastructure, including an efficient transport transportation and communications system. This became very evident during our visit to Karlstad.

Compared to South Africa, Sweden has long and cold winters (temperatures can go below -20°C) with long winter nights.  Summers are mild, average 18 - 20°Järverup of Nobelgymnasiet on the design of the proposed 3 eco houses we intend building in De Aar provided funding can be obtained. Sketches showing the details discussed are attached. The business plan for the fund applications to Sida were also discussed and finalised.

C with long summer days.

Attached is a fact sheet on the geography of Sweden – see annexure “A".

On arrival at our hotel it was evident that the residents of Karlstad are concerned about the environment.  The card used for opening the door lock is also used to switch on the electricity in the hotel room, thus ensuring that the lights etc. do not remain on when you leave the room.   A notice about the use of towels is displayed in the bathroom – see annexure “ B”.


Our visit began with a tour on foot through Karlstad under the guidance of Lars-Martin Jansson.  The history and problems with new developments were explained to us.

It was most interesting to see the large number of open spaces left for recreation purposes.   In De Aar we have very few open spaces and rezoning for other uses is easily granted.  Certain streets in the centre of Karlstad are closed to vehicles and only used by pedestrians and cycles.

If a safe place could be established in the centre of De Aar to leave bicycles, it could encourage many people to use their cycles (especially in view of the rising fuel prices).

The street on the northern side of the Town Hall (Amalia Street) could possibly closed to traffic and used for pedestrians, cycles and small business opportunities.


The Advisory Centre is considered a showcase for the Karlstad Municipality.   Here residents are advised about environmental aspects.  Exhibitions are held monthly and there is close co-operation with other organisations and schools.

This centre is situated very centrally for all residents and covers the following specialised fields:

An information leaflet on the Advisory Centre is attached as Annexure “C”.

The following interesting aspects came to light:

± 50% of the residents of Karlstad recycle and their household refuse is removed only once per month, while the normal practice is twice per month, and they also pay less for refuse removal.

Since the closure of certain streets in 1994 the use of vehicles has declined by 29% in the city centre; there has been a 10% increase in people using buses; people travel together in vehicles (sharing and pooling) and many more cycles are used.

The pollution caused by vehicles has dropped considerably.   To achieve this aim the municipality had to spend more money on public transport and providing infrastructure such as cycle lanes and safe parking.

Households use different energy sources such as wood, oil, electricity.   Alternative sources of energy, which are economical and environmentally friendly, are promoted.   The government pays a subsidy if the heating system is changed to benefit the environment.

The Advisory Centre also makes electricity meters available to the public free of charge to measure the electricity consumption of various electrical appliances in order for them to make informed decisions.

As far as Emthanjeni is concerned we have a great deal of information and advice that we could make available to residents via such an Advisory Centre.  Councillors could also use such a centre to attend to residents.   In the case of Britstown and Hanover the existing Municipal offices could also be used for this purpose.


The Chief : Civil Engineering Services spent about 2 days in the water and sewer division of the Technical Department.  A layout of the different divisions is attached – see annexure “D”.

The water and sewer division consist of 40 employees with a current budget of 92 million krone (±R92 million).

Previously it was customary to allow stormwater and sewerage to flow in the same pipes which is currently a major problem as the stormwater now also requires purification.

As a result of the totally different circumstances it is difficult to compare the water consumption and water losses of Karlstad (abundant water) and De Aar (water scarcity).

The water figures for the two towns are as follows:

Population 80 000 30 000
Water Abstraction 8,5 milj m³ 2,3 milj m³
Water Consumption 6,4 milj m³ 1,8 milj m³
                               LOSS 2,1 milj m³ 0,5 milj m³
                                            = ±25% ± 22%
Water consumption litre/person/day 220 164

From the above it is evident that the water consumption of Karlstad is reasonably high, but further analysis is required to evaluated losses and consumption.

Discussions were held with Katarina Anderson on her visit to the Chief : Civil Engineering Services in De Aar as from 3 March 2002.  A summary of the various activities envisaged during her visit are attached (see Annexure “E”)


The landfill sites were visited to gather more specific information about the recycling of building material and organic refuse.

Building material such as concrete blocks and tar is crushed and re-used.  The organic material is either incinerated to generate electricity or used to make compost.  In the case of Emthanjeni it would be advisable to separate the building and organic material (leaves, branches, garden refuse) etc. from the household refuse.  Building material such as bricks concrete can be used to fill erosion dongas and for future site filling and streets.


During my visit to Karlstad I also had discussions with Peter Järverup of Nobelgymnasiet on the design of the proposed 3 eco houses we intend building in De Aar provided funding can be obtained. Sketches showing the details discussed are attached. The business plan for the fund applications to Sida were also discussed and finalised.


We were fortunate to experience a trip on the Solbussen (Sun Bus) of the Karlstad Nature School – See Annexure “F”. The aim of the Nature School is to teach children about and to experience nature.The bus is equipped with the necessary material such as binoculars, telescopes, microscopes, magnifying glasses, books etc. The Nature School is operated by the Department of Education, Municipality of Karlstad in co-operation with Swebus. During our visit we also held discussions with Malin Granlund, Biologist and Nature Guide of the Nature School, about the proposed Nature School in De Aar.    She offered the support and assistance of the Karlstad Nature School, if required. Their assistance with the establishment of our own Nature School as well as the planning of the activities and training of the teacher would be invaluable.


I wish to thank the Council for the opportunity of visiting Karlstad.  The visit was very informative and I gained many new ideas about sustainable development. I also wish to use this opportunity to thank Katarina Andersson (Water and Sewer division) and Björn Sefton (Waste management) for their contributions and co-operation during my visit to the Technical division. My thanks also to Jörgen Arinell, Mikael Schultz and the staff of the Advisory Centre Karlstad as well as Peter Järverup of Nobelgumnasiet.



This report will try to summarize my experience during the week’s visit in Karlstad.  This report will only focus on the sites that were visited and interviews with the officials.


It was breath taking to see all the fresh water resources that Sweden have.  With all the various lakes, one cannot help, to compare ourselves with Karlstad in relation to the availability of the water resources. The whole recycling or cleaning process of water is different to our processes from that of Karlstad.  Although specialized machinery is being used, the commitment of the Water Department staff was also very impressive to me as the Municipal Manager of Emthanjeni. Some differences and similarities that I have observe:

Feeding resources are from the biggest lake and other lakes Biggest resources our bore holes and underground water
Have a good quality of water Hard water, average quality
System is well industrialized Semi computerised system
Staff moral is high and well capacitated staff Staff moral is not as high and staff needs more capacitating
Good monitoring system of water supply to consumers Well monitoring control system in place to monitor the usage or distribution of water
Unlimited availability of water Limited availability depends on the life span of boreholes


Karlstad and De Aar are using similar types of methods with the recycling of the sewerage.  De Aar follows a European model, and there the similarities from the system.  Furthermore, it was astonished for me to observe that the recycled water is being pump in the lake for re-use.  The question that came to mind “Is why do Karlstad re-use the recycling sewerage water, because of the unlimited availability of fresh water?”.  A strange feeling that I got there is that we as De Aar, need to look at ways in re-using the recycling sewerage water that just go to waste in De Aar.


Firstly, I want to thank our tour guide official, for the wonderful tour at the different disposal sites.  It was refreshing to see the commitment of almost all residents to ensure that environmental issues are a priority to them.  The whole issue of a clean society and clean living give me a new meaning. The management of the sites, the control, access and the handling process are so well maintain that we could definite learn from the operations of Karlstad.


This visit meant very much to me, in order in comparison to my job description.   The ideas and briefing that were exchanged were very valuable to me.  From the Swedish system it was obvious to note that our current legislation took the similar model as the Swedish.  The lessons that were learnt are that the Swedish government place more focus on local municipalities.   The development of the municipalities’ remains top priority and one can see it with the revenue-base of the municipalities of Sweden.


No focuses were given to this activity.  This could be of the real complicities of this activity.  More support and information in order to develop a strategy could be developing.  Community participation will be very crucial in developing this strategy.


The visit to Karlstad was a real eye-opener to me who work as an official in a municipality in South Africa.  Emthanjeni can learn and draw from experiences of Karlstad.  The development of the Municipality and also the industrialized economy of Karlstad showed how empowered the town and residents are. The differences and comparisons between the two municipalities are very evident in every aspect such as staff moral, capacitating of staff development, community participation, etc. I trust that we will enforce whatever we’re learning in Karlstad and implement it in Emthanjeni Municipality.

Lastly, this is not a technical report but my personal observation.





The purpose of the report is to reflect on some of the valuable lessons drawn that may be refined to improve the lives of South Africans in semi-urban and urban areas.   Economic and socio-political factors also studied to pinpoint areas of strategic intervention to ensure sustainable urban development.


Utilization of available space/land for perm culture oriented development, that would trigger ecological progression and sustenance.  Establishment of promoting groups for urban agriculture represented by different departments for example:

Department of Health, Agriculture and land affairs, NGO’s and the District Council.  The community should also be involved and interested Councillors.  Take into consideration urban agriculture as a means to make the dwelling areas less venerable for food scarcity in the policy of density of plot sizes.   Reinforce the resources for implementing the new by-law and for controlling.   Investigate places for community kraals, city, farms and animal allotment gardens in the town, schools and farms outside town for the urban animals.  Assist in organising and establishing the kraals.  Offer education and training, make workshops on urban agriculture in all communities.  Promote and support pilot projects.  Support and assist on going food garden projects. Besides the possibilities to produce food, urban agriculture is vital as a creative and meaningful occupation, as unemployment among urban population in South Africa is huge and probably will stay at a high level in the foreseeable future.   Most people are basically creative, to be active is beneficial for the mental as well as physical health. Farms for livestock and vegetation have been allocated for small or upcoming farmers. But the farms have not yet been occupied, soon things will fall into place.  A large sustainable project of cherry farming whereby the community of Emthanjeni will benefit for a sustainable period. We are also looking forward to improving the situation by looking for funds which will also help to alleviate poverty in our area. Also with the implementation of Agenda 21 which is a global program for survival at making all development sustainable on a long term basis.


Romein van Staden


1 MARCH 2002 TO 10 MARCH 2002


Amidst all the negativity surrounding our  municipality we are still moving forward with our co-operation with Karlstad.  There is reason for optimism.  The five member delegation that left for Karlstad, Sweden were on a mission.  The mission was to strengthen and consolidate our co-operation.  This was to give a kick-start to the activities layed-out in co-operation.  Each member of the delegation were assigned to specific activities for which they will be responsible for and report on. Our arrival in Sweden was a cold & snowy one but the welcoming by our “now” friends were a hearty & warm welcome.  As we have come to know them, we got down straight to work but before we did that we went scooter skiing.  Just ask the Municipal Manager how it was!!!! Customary to their precision in organisation, I was assigned to my counterpart, Per-Olof Haster, who works at the advisory centre “Radrummet”.  After all the introductions and welcoming, we discussed our working programme for my stay there.  We also took some time to discuss the working programme for the Swedish delegation visiting Emthanjeni from 17 March 2002 to 28 March 2002. In particular we discussed the format of our workshops which will be held when he visit Emthanjeni.  We also discussed the strategies to follow to make the workshops a success.  Consensus were also reached or at least we agreed upon that the training and info sessions should be a continuous process. Lots of time was also spent on conceptualizing on a modus operandi on how to develop and implement an Environment policy for the whole municipality and specifically for each department too.

Study visits were undertaken to Energi Plants to observe how they generate and utilize their energy sources.  Interestingly and relevantly to our ventures in our establishing of recycling station in Emthanjeni was the visit to their recycling stations.  The visit to their landfill site also gave insight on how to properly manage a landfill site. Study visits were also undertaken to schools where I had to give presentations on how we work with educational institutions in our areas.  Also in sharing our experiences in working with Local Agenda 21. Logistics around the establishment of the Nature and Environmental school were also sorted out with Malin Grunlund.  She will also be part of one of the two remaining study visits to Emthanjeni. This was indeed a honourable and delightfully enjoyable experience one can proud fully state mission and objective achieved.  New friendship and working ties were knot. A daunting task awaits us but I’m encouraged by the fact that we have the drive to make it a success. We could surely built higher from this experience.  This study visit provided the perfect, solid foundation for our sustainable development initiatives.




Minutes of a meeting held with the delegation from Karlstad Sweden and Project Representatives from Emthanjeni (De Aar) on Thursday 28 March 2002 at 12:30 – 14:15


Mr Jörgen Arinell

Mr Per-Olof Haster

Ms Katarina Anderson

Mr Gerhard Engelbrecht

Mr W P A Pool

Mr Francois Taljaard

Ms Jane Mafilika

Mr Willie Lubbe


Mr Kenneth B Markman

Romein van Staden opened the meeting and the following agenda was agreed upon.


Evaluation of the visit to De Aar


Follow-up on agreed activities

Future working visits to De Aar


The minutes were confirmed as correct and adopted.


Mr Jörgen Arinell proposed that someone be appointed with similar duties to his as current co-ordinator. The meeting proposed Mr Gerhard Engelbrecht and he was unanimously accepted as Co-ordinator of all projects involving De Aar which flow from the co-operation agreement between Emthanjeni and Karlstad.

His duties would comprise

to arrange meetings

to provide feedback on progress with the project

to see to it that feedback be provided to Mr Jörgen Arinell

It was also decided that all 5 members of the delegation to Karlstad each submit an individual report about the knowledge gained from their visit to Karlstad. Me Engelbrecht should see to it that feedback be sent to Mr Arinell on 15 April 2002 (a minimum of two typed pages by each member).

All e-mails, letters, faxes should be sent to Gerhard Engelbrecht who in turn would see to it that they reach the correct person. All minutes of Agenda 21 meetings as well as the report of the past two weeks (18 -28 March 2002) should be submitted to the Council for notice. The establishment of a Nature School at Caroluspoort should be discussed with the owner of the farm as the proposed site to the school can only be reached via his land.


See item 3 of the minutes of 8 March 2002.


URBAN AGRICULTURAL  -  Ms Jane Mafilika with Romein van Staden as supporting official.

NATURE SCHOOL  -  Francois Taljaard, Department of Education and Romein van Staden.

PILOT PROJECTS ON RECYCLING  -  Willie Pool will assist Mr Kenneth Markman.

TARIFF SYSTEMS:  Willie Pool and Faried Manuel will attend to the matter.

QUALITY OF TAP WATER:  Mr Kenneth Markman will be assisted by Francois Taljaard



Ms Jane Mafilika indicated that she had already held two meetings with her ward committee but as her ward was so big she would have to hold a further two meetings to process all the information gained from the meetings. She made a special appeal to women to support the project. She promised to have all the information by the end of April 2002 and would provide the information together with details of planning and implementation of the projects to Mr Engelbrecht.  They would also involve Mr John Burgess of the Karoo District Municipality in the project.  One eco-house would be built near one of the eco-gardens.


Nothing to report occured during the past two week. As soon as the schools reopened on 10  April 2002 the pilot school projects would be attended to.

Jörgen and Jabu (Department of Education Kimberley) have also had discussions about input from the schools on the pilot projects. Jörgen Arinell also visited all the schools in Hanover, Britstown and all the schools in De Aar that were not yet part of the project.  He was confident that all schools in Emthanjeni would participate in the project.  A workshop would be held on 17 April 2002 for all schools that were not part of the project. The Department of Education, Kareeville Primary, Zingizani and Emthanjeni School would be responsible for arranging the workshop.  Romein van Staden would provide feedback about the workshop.  Follow-up workshops would be arranged, if necessary.


A great deal of work and planning is required before the project can be realised.  Additional sites would have to be identified for the construction of eco-houses and recycling stations. Approval would also have to be obtained from the Department of Education and Swedish government before the project can proceed.  The task team will decide about the name of the school.


According to everyone involved in the training -  Romein, Aah Sekhesa (University of Cape Town) and Per-Olof Haster (Karlstad) the workshop were very good. The input from Romein van Staden and Aah Sekhesa on the training sessions is attached as Annexure A and B.  Per-Olof Haster will send his report to Gerhard Engelbrecht later.  The input received was of a very high standard.This was only the beginning of the Local Agenda 21 training which would be continued by Romein van Staden. The Electricity Department should prepare their own environmental plan and submit it to the Council of Emthanjeni for notice. Approximately 140 officials, Councillors and ward members received training.  The following Councillors and senior officials did not receive Local Agenda 21 training because of unforeseen circumstances and still need  to be trained.

COUNCILLORS:  Clr H Jenkins, Clr B K Markman, Clr P H van Staden, Clr S W Madyo, Clr D Bantu

OFFICIALS:   Messrs W van Wyk, Tallies Taljaard, H van der Merwe en Willie Pool

The Local Agenda 21 plan should also be included in the IDP process and Skills Development Plan.

Katarina Anderson (Karlstad) will write a letter to Mr G Engelbrecht to explain the importance of a environmental plan for Emthanjeni Municipality.


Construction of refuse containers for dumping of rubbish in Nonzwakazi has commenced already.  The refuse tip next to the Golf Club outside the town needs urgent attention.  The site will have to be fenced and buildings constructed to control access to the site. Organic material such as leaves and grass must be collected for a proper compost heap.  Mr Kenneth Markman and Mr Willie Pool should also be part of the project. An appeal should be made to the public not to throw any food in black bags as people at the dumps tear the bags open and eat the food. Discussions should also be held with restaurants to ensure that their food refuse also does not end up on the tip site. Mr Jörgen Arinell reported that he had heard from SIDA that they had made funds available for the construction of 3 Eco-containers and 3 Recycling stations in De Aar. The recycling stations should be planned and decision taken about the kind of material to be deposited.  Mr F Taljaard will also have to provide input for the project. The meeting was of the opinion that the Chief of the Department of Cleaning from Karlstad should also be part of the next visit to Emthanjeni. The “Keep Our Town Clean” project should also be included in the activities of the co-operation agreement.


It was felt that the residents of Emthanjeni would first have to be educated before a new tariff system could be introduced.  The residents should be encouraged to protect their environment and everyone should participate in the recycling process.


Agenda 21 issues should be brought to the attention of all residents of  Emthanjeni and the Agenda 21 office should be used for this purpose as well as the local newspaper, the “Echo” and newsletters form the Municipality to the residents of Emthanjeni Municipality.  Promotion could also be done at the Nature School.  The residents should also be informed about what liquids could be discharges into their drain pipes and what was prohibited.


Mr Francois Taljaard would take care of this and especially monitor the boreholes near Mziwabantu (Britstown) and the dumping site next to the Golf Club. An environmental impact assessment must be carried out at our dumping site which includes monitoring of the boreholes. Any private individual could sink a borehole on his erf.


These issues have already been addressed. If the Cherry Farm Project commences, it will use all the purified water from the sewage purification works.


The following visit to Emthanjeni will take place during May 2002. 

The following aspects require assistance from Karlstad officials:

Water and Sanitation

Environmental school

Development of tariff systems

Construction of eco-house will require expertise from Karlstad

Department of Cleaning (Waste management)

Three people will visit Emthanjeni during May 2002. 

The meeting closed at 14:15. 



DATE:             18 to 20 March 2002

VENUE:          Emthanjeni Municipality

The participants were divided into groups of five to six people per group, and were all asked to address the following questions:

1.                  What can your contribution be towards Local Agenda 21?

2.                  How do you think Local Agenda 21 can be used in everyday activities in your work or home?

3.                  For what reasons should your council implement Local Agenda 21?

Since the questions are closely related, they neither follow the order in which the questions were asked nor do they reflect the order of priority.   From the group presentations in both morning and afternoon sessions, the following common issues emerged:


·                     There is need for an on-going education and awareness raising on Local Agenda 21/sustainablility issues amongst officials and councillors in the Municipality.  Simultaneously, capacity must be built amongst other stakeholders including non-governmental organisations and other civil society groupings.

·                     There must be sustained communication between the municipality and all other role players to build trust amongst all parties.

·                     Education and awareness raising initiatives on Local Agenda 21/local sustainability issues should be designed and targeted to appropriate groups so that they can bear fruitful results.

·                     Different departments within the Emthanjeni Municipality must communicate regularly in their planning and decision making processes.

·                     Different media including videos, road shows, school competitions and exhibitions, posters and others should be used to increase awareness on sustainable development issues within the Municipality.

·                     The Municipality must implement projects that are sustainable.  Long-term implications of all projects should be considered.  More significant, such projects should be targeted at eradicating poverty and crime within the Municipality.


·                     The Emthanjeni Municipality has the Constitutional responsibility to ensure that the people living within the Municipality live within a clean and healthy environment.

·                     There is need for information dissemination on Local Agenda 21 / sustainability issues amongst all Council officials including politicians.

·                     The Council must “lead by example”.   For example, it must develop policies and implement sustainable practices such as water conservation measures energy saving initiatives, recycling of paper and others.  Information should also be disseminated to schools and churches.

·                     Local Agenda 21/sustainability practices must “begin at home”.  Households should be encouraged to sort their waste, use pre-paid meters for water and electricity so that they can appreciate the cost of consumption of resources and possibly change their unsustainable consumption patterns.

·                     The local authority is better placed and has financial capacity to facilitate development of partnerships within the Municipality.

·                     Precautionary measures should be taken for all new projects that are likely to have negative impacts.  The social, economic and environmental impacts of all projects should be considered prior to implementation.

·                     Local Agenda 21/sustanability principles should be used in planning new residential areas so that they are sustainable socially, economically and environmentally.

·                     Local Agenda 21 should be promoted to facilitate job creation and reduce poverty within the Municipality.


·                     There is need to disseminate information on Local Agenda 21/sustanability issues amongst all Council officials including politicians.

·                     Local Agenda 21 must be “packaged” and promoted in an attractive manner so that decision makers can be committed to its implementation.

·                     Local Agenda 21 should be used to build capacity and empower the historically disadvantaged communities.

·                     There is need to establish an all-inclusive multi-stakeholder forum in Emthanjeni in order to move the Municipality towards sustainability.

·                     The Municipality must promote dissemination of information on sustainable practices such as putting up non-smoking signs;  water and energy conservation measures;   recycling and other practices.

·                     Local Agenda 21 in Emthanjeni Municipality should address health and safety issues.

·                     A logo for Local Agenda 21 in Emthanjeni Municipality must be developed in order to create awareness amongst all the stakeholders.

·                     A comprehensive plan on Local Agenda 21 for Emthanjeni Municipality should be developed.  Preparation of the plan should be inclusive of all groups.


·                     There is need to disseminate information on Local Agenda 21/sustainability issues amongst all Council officials including politicians.

·                     There is need to improve communications between officials in the Municipality and with the local communities.

·                     Local Agenda 21 should be used as tool to improve service delivery within the Municipality.

·                     Education in schools must be made practical and address the key issues facing the Municipality.

·                     Emthanjeni Municipality must promote dissemination of information on sustainable practices such as water and energy conservation measurers, recycling and other practices.  These practices must be implemented both at home and at work places.

Local Agenda 21 must be linked to the integrated development plans for the Municipality.



DATE:             25 MARCH 2002


Group reports – Agenda 21 Workshop

Participants were divided into 4 groups and were asked to discuss/elaborate on the following questions:

1.                  What can your contribution be towards Local Agenda 21?

2.                  How do you think Local Agenda 21 can be used in everyday activities in your work or home?

3.                  For what reasons should your council implement Local Agenda 21?

NB:   Since the questions are closely related they neither follow the order in which the questions were asked nor do they reflect the order of priority. 

From the group presentations the following common issues emerged:

-                      Emphasis was made on workers efficiency and decreasing

unnecessary expenditure i.e. saving petrol, periods when watering the gardens.

-                      There is a potential of tourist attractions in the town

-                      More opportunities should be presented to community members, officials and councillors to interact on issues of common interest and mutual benefit there is a dire need for communities to be more informed on Local Agenda 21

-                      Information should be disseminated to the abovementioned

-                      Forming partnerships will enhance community participation and ensure sustainable development

-                      Concretize people on Local Agenda 21 and inform them on unsustainable practices

-                      To promote co-operation amongst departments (municipal departments) and to render effective and efficient services

-                      A definite plan of action should be drafted on Agenda 21 for the Municipality

-                      There should be a commitment from officials, councillors and community members to successfully adopt and implement Agenda 21

-                      Through Agenda 21 more sustainable job opportunities could be created

-                      There must be a striving towards unity in the whole of Emthanjeni Municipality

-                      Agenda 21 could address the social issues i.e., criminal activities within  society

-                      Opinions of officials should be take into cognisance

-                      There is a common outcry that Agenda 21 must be successfully implemented.



DATE:             26 MARCH 2002


Participants where divided into 2 groups and were asked to address the following questions

1.                  What do you think is the most important development issues of Emthanjeni?

2.                  For what reasons should your council implement Local Agenda 21?





NB:   Since the questions are closely related they neither follow the order in which the questions were asked, nor do they reflect the order of priority from the presentations the following common issues emerged;

-                      Information centre for residents promoting safety and conservation (savings)

-                      Promoting waste recycling, enhancing job creation and income – generating opportunities

-                      Addressing social issues and placing emphasis on education and awareness

-                      Upgrading housing /provision of sustainable housing

-                      Providing proper sanitation (alternative sanitation options i.e., VIP,UDS)

-                      Proper public transport

-                      Providing environmental education

-                      Local Agenda 21 is very important because it educates the public to save money, electricity and water.

Council should lead by example through information/ dissemination and empowering the public on issues of the environment, economy and social aspects.                                                         


Minutes of a meeting held with the delegation from Karlstad, Sweden and Project Representative from Emthanjeni (De Aar) on Wednesday, 22 May 2002 at 11:00 – 13:00


Mr Jörgen Arinell

Mr Björn Sefton

Mr Gerhard Engelbrecht

Mr W P A Pool

Mr Romein van Staden


Mr F Manuel

Mr F Taljaard

Gerhard Engelbrecht opened the meeting and the following agenda was agreed upon;



Urban Agricultural

Nature School

Pilot projects School

Pilot Projects on Recycling

Tariff Systems

Quality of Tap Water


2.1                       URBAN AGRICULTURAL

That the building of eco-houses was to commence during June 2002.  Karlstad Commun still has to sign the agreement with SIDA

The committee should discuss the following:

-                      where the gardens are to be established

-                      which plants are to be planted

-                      who will participate

-                      what will be done with the produce

-                      what can be done to motivate people to plant vegetable gardens at their homes.

Councillor J Mafilika would have to submit another report dealing specifically with her experiences and observations during her visit to Karlstad.

2.2                       PILOT PROJECTS AT SCHOOLS

Romein indicated that he had already handed the progress report to Jörgen Arinell.

The minutes of the previous meeting of co-ordinators is attached.

The workshop for co-ordinators took place on 17 April 2002 with only Hanover not present.

A follow-up workshop should be held to inform Hanover and all the other schools who were not yet part of the project about the discussions on 17 April 2002.

50% of all schools should participate in the pilot projects.

During Jörgen Arinell’s visit to De Aar in August 2002 follow-up work will be done in conjunction with the Department of Education, Jörgen Arinell and Romein van Staden.

2.3                       NATURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCHOOL

Mr J Mongale, the National Environmental Education Co-ordinator from Kimberley, as well as Mr Masuabi, Deputy Director, Education Department were aware of the school and support it.

The Task Team is to meet in De Aar on 29 May 2002.

The Task Team consists of the following:

1 Teacher  -  Britstown, De Aar and Hanover

1 member from Economic Affairs and Tourism

Tallies Taljaard

Romein van Staden

Mr Dapula  -  Department of Education

Platberg Bewaria

Department of Agriculture

The Task Team will meet twice per month.

Negotiations have been conducted with Umgeni Valley Project (Howick KwaZulu Natal) to provide training in De Aar for all co-ordinators from schools.  They will present the training course over four days and the weeks beginning 12, 19 or 26 August 2002 were possible dates.

Agreement has also been reached on a workshop with Malin Grunland of Karlstad, Sweden.  Possible dates were the week of 9 September 2002 or the week of 16 September 2002.  The training will last four days with each group receiving two days of training.

The Nature School will be opened on 28 or 29 August 2002 at 12:00 and Gerhard Engelbrecht will arrange for the MEC of Education, Ms Tina Joemat-Peterson to officiate.

The Task Team should consider a name for the school and also develop teaching material for the Environmental School.

The report from PO Haster was still awaited.

Certain Councillors, Heads of Departments and other officials still have to receive training and Romein van Staden was attending to the matter.



Francois Taljaard was already busy drawing up plans for this project.

Refuse bins would be constructed in Nonzwakazi, Barcelona and De Aar East.  The three houses would also be constructed in these three areas.

The recycling bins would be designed in such a way that tins, bottles,  plastic and paper were recycled separately.

The “Keep Our Town Clean”  Committee was also engaged in projects to assist in this field.  A separate report would be submitted.

SIDA has provided R250 000.00 for the eco-houses and recycling bins.

A few recycling bins have already been constructed  in Nonzwakazi.  A compost heap has also been started.

2.5                       DEVELOPMENT OF TARIFF SYSTEM

The Committee held discussions with Mr Björn Sefton and after discussions of tarriffs and his explanation of the system in Karlstad, it was decided to retain our tariffs in De Aar.

A start would be made to provide separate removals for businesses.

The plastic containers, bottles and foodstuffs not fit for human consumption would be removed separately and everything except the foodstuffs would be transported directly to the recycling concerns to prevent this waste ending up on our refuse dump.

This will done as from Monday, 5 June 2002.

The report from Katarina Anderson required attention.

2.6                       CHECK ON QUALITY OF TAP WATER

Nothing to report.

2.7                       USE OF SLUDGE AND PURIFIED WATER

The outcome of the application to establish the Cherry Farm Project in De Aar was still awaited.

The meeting closed at 13:00



The agreement regulates the terms of co-operation and the respective roles and responsibilities of the parties that have signed this agreement.

The overall objective is to guide and assist each other in the implementation of the local work with Agenda 21.  Improving the competence of the parties by transfer of knowledge will be an essential part of co-operation, but Sweden’s official goals for development assistance should also be guiding the co-operation, that is, to focus on poverty, alleviation, economic growth, economic and social equality, environmental protection and gender equality.

This agreement is for a period of 12 months, starting from the first of February 2003.  A final report will be submitted to Sala Ida no later than the first of February 2004.  The parties also agree to aim for a continuiation of the co-operation beyond the initial phase.

Development Objective

Improvements of the environment, especially in the disadvantaged suburbs, and the establishment of an ecological sustainable environment.

Project Objective

By 2003 the municipality of Emthanjeni  has developed a strategy for an ecological sustainable development and the residents can see real improvements within the areas of co-operation.


Development objective

Improvements of the environment, especially in the disadvantages suburbs, and the establishments of the ecological sustainable development.

Immediate (Project) Objective

By 2003 the municipality of Emthanjeni has developed a strategy for an ecological sustainable development and the residents can see real improvements of the environment within our proposed areas of co-operation.

Outputs (Results)

50% of municipal staff will have obtained training on Agenda 21 before the end of 2003.
Environmental plans have been established and put in place by all Departments 2003.
The residents in the suburbs where the pilot projects have been implemented will be aware of the purpose of the project and will be able to see real results during 2003.
Three Eco houses will be built during 2003.
More than 50% of the schools in Emthanjeni will during 2003 have started their work with practical environmental projects.
A plan to secure the quality, quantity and cost efficiency in water production and distribution will be put in place by the end of 2004.;
Ecological recycling projects both in waste handling and waste water treatments in daily work in the municipality will be introduced not later than 2004.
Six recycling stations for was will be established (put in place) in chosen suburbs before the end of 2003.


Officials from Emthanjeni visiting Karlstad for mutual exchange of knowledge and experience and working with their counterparts.
Urban agriculture in some chosen suburbs.

agri.jpg (28219 bytes)

Here is an example of results achieved in Hanover. This woman is self-supportive and even sells her produce on a small scale.

Promoting the use of solar energy by designing, planning and constructing solar energy low cost houses, Eco-houses and solar collectors.

eco house 1.jpg (17489 bytes) eco house 2.jpg (16044 bytes)

Here Mr Gerhard Engelbrecht is seen with a group of Swedish students from Nobel Gymnasium, assisting with the eco-house at De Aar College (assisting with solar panels)

Pilot project at primary schools extended to nursery schools.

child proj 1.jpg (14738 bytes)

Left and right Mr's Romein van Staden and Jörgen Arinell and others envolved with the Karlstad Child Project.

Pilot studies within Environmental Education areas at the Nature School.

poortjie skool.jpg (16634 bytes)

Here Mrs Catherina Anderson can be seen with a group at the Poortjie Nature School.

Training / Information of municipal departments concerned.  NGO’s and residents.
Production of a project newsletter to all residents, which will be regularly distributed.
Pilot projects on recycling of waste and sorting disposal in chosen suburbs.
Information campaign within the field of water conservation & health.
Development of a system to check the quality of tap water from municipal boreholes.
Investigation of the possibility to make use of sludge in different ways and purified water from the municipal treatments works.
Develop environmental plants for each department.
Feasibility study for as built plant for water distribution network.
Feasibility study of a safe and secure environment for children.


As agreed upon in our agreement, the overall objective is to guide and assist each other in the implementation of the local work with Agenda 21.  Improving the competence of rhte parties by transfer of knowledge will be an essential part of the co-operation, but Sweden’s official goals for development assistance should also be guiding the co-operation, that is, to focus on poverty alleviation, economic growth, economic and social equality, strengthening of local democracy, environment protection and gender equality.

There’s been a lot of talk about Local Agenda 21, but often not much progress in reality.  As a result of this co-operation, Emthanjeni has led the way in the Northern Cape and indeed in South Africa in putting environmental and sustainable development principals into practice.  Very little has changed where attitudes to the environment are concerned elsewhere.   It still has low status at the political level, but locally, it was possible to discern popular support for environmental work.

We, as a municipality, have gained important experience and acquired contacts on a previously unknown entity.  Our co-operation has fostered solidarity and partnership as a prerequisite for sustainable development.   The  co-operation have been important as a demonstration co-operation for other municipalities to follow.  It has increased the community involvement pertaining to environmental matters and issues of sustainability.  It has also distilled a sense of pride to community life.

It goes without saying, the co-operation has created positive awareness towards the environment and the importance of sustainability.  It has fostered good working relationships between different sectors of the community who might not have necessarily have had the opportunity to work together otherwise.  It is indeed in excellent example of a win-win partnership between two municipalities from the north and south respectively.  Imperatively, the co-operation has created the space for a new way of doing business by orientating our municipality to sustainable development objectives.  The meaningful partnership with the community hint at this new way of doing business.

The success of this co-operation can be attributed to the diversity and commitment of the individuals, the municipality and institutions involved.  Through the hard work and vision of those involved, a viable co-operation has been developed, which not only aims to bring together different stakeholders and partners, but also aims to remedy past injustices.




The  African forum for Local Environmental Management is an organization of institution established by participants of Local Environmental Management Course.   The course organized by  Life Academy in Sweden is sponsored by the Swedish International Development Agency and is run on a  yearly basis from participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America.  The first training program takes place in Karlstad, Sweden for six weeks followed by a second step in participants’ continent for two weeks.

At the second step for the Africa participants’ in 2002 in Tanzania and Kenya, a need arose to establish a forum/network of African participants due to the desire to initiate a process of establishing networks amongst participants and to support each other.  Other opportunities that exist are the following:

The outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002

African Mayor’s Forum that has been established and the Declaration that has been adopted.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
The African Union

Within this context, during the Second Step for Africa participants, it was decided that a forum be established to further the capacities achieved in the training course in Local Environmental Management into implementable actions within our respective countries.  In the long term the forum should be developed into a fully fledged organization / center that will serve the needs of Africa’s communities in relation to local environmental management excellence.


Local sustainable development is enhanced amongst African countries by 2015.


To bring together people with diverse views to achieve the goals of sustainable development at local level through the preparation of long term strategic plans.


There is referred to the photograph in the Echo of 6 December 2002 regarding the project “SAVE THE CHILDREN SWEDEN”, which will also be implemented in the Emthanjeni Munisipal area.

In this outline “child” means a person under the age of 18 years.

The Municipality will take the ownership of the project with different roleplayers in the community.  In the first phase of the project training on “children and their environmental rights” will be an essential part of the project.

Workshops for councillors, some municipal staff, school co-ordinators, social workers, children and other roleplayers that are working with children will be organised.

To improve the environment of the children, it is very important to listen to the children themselves, and get their views.  This could be done by building on the existing school environment councils.

From these councils a municipal children’s environmental committee could be established, which would be given opportunity to raise the children’s views and needs to the town council.

There is a intimate link between the physical environments that children occupy and the quality of their lives.   Their housing, the water they drink, the air they breath, the traffic on their streets, and the quality of their schools and neighboorhoods all have impacts on their health, happiness and long term development.

In many ways, and for a number of reasons, these effects are more pronounced or different for children than they are for adults.

Although it does not prescribe specific physical conditions for children, the right to save supporrtive physical environments is implicit throughout the documnet, and can be most effectively summed up by the folowing four basic priciples:

First of all, children are recognized as having the right to survival and development.

Secondly, fundamental principal rejects discrimination. All children, regardlessof their ethnic background or  place of residence, have the same rights.

A third principal requires that the best interest of children be a primary consideration in all action that concern them, whether in the pulic of private sphere,

and closely related to this:  children have the right to a voice in decisions that concern them.



A decent, secure, affordable home is fundamental to the realization of children’s rights.  The quality of housing affects the health and overall development of girls and boys. Its location determines access to schools, services, family livelihoods and opportunities for play and recreation.

Security of tenure affects not only children’s emotional security, but also the capacity of their families to provide a stable base.

A secure home is critical to children no matter how humble it is. Having no dependable place to live undermines a child’s security and sense of identity. Emotional problems of children in homeless families include anxiety, sleep problems, aggression, withdrawal and regressive behaviour.
Adequate shelter and secure tenure provide families with a foothold from which other problems of poverty can be tackled more easily. Housing can serve as a most significant asset in the effort to achieve stability and move beyond chronic need.
Affordability  -  Especially in urban areas. Few low-income households can afford rents or the cost of land for building, so they occupy land illegally.
Infrastructure  -  Local governments and private utulities often refuse to provide piped water, sewers, drains and electricity to those living in illegal settlements, in part because this would give legitimacy to the settlement. Absence of water and sanitation undermines health. A lack of electricity increases the chance of  fire and burns from lanterns.
The threat of eviction discourages improvements.  When eviction is a possiblility, families and communities are less willing to invest in the kinds of improvements that improve the quality of home and neighborhood life for their children.
Eviction’s devastating impacts.  Hundreds of thousands of children experience evictions every month, many of them forced and even violent.  Outcomes include not only homelessness, but the loss of livelihoods and supportive social networks, removal from school, the destruction of family stability and often long term trauma for children.
Poor housing and natural disasters.  The housing of the poor is often built from the flimsiest and most inadequate materials, which make it difficult to withstand events such as floods, landslides and high winds.
Poor housing materials and health.  Poor construction threatens health and well-being in other ways too.  Diseases from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, cockroaches and rodents can be hard to avoid.  Flies contaminate food.  Hard-to-clean-floors and surfaces mean contact with pathogens, especially for babies and young children who crawl and put everything in their mouths.  Dampness, mold, mildew and poor ventilation contribute to asthma and other respiratory illnesses in children.
Housing and self-esteem.  Wretched housing and surroundings are not only a threat to health and stability, but for many children around the world they contribute to humiliation and sense of worthlessness.


Children’s health and survival depends as much on healthy environments as on health services.  In spite of progress on this front, inadequate sanitation and drainage, uncollected waste and a lack of sufficient clean water still contribute to high levels of child mortality and morbidity.  Almost two million children under five die each year from water and sanitation-related diseases;  hundreds of millions more are debilitated by illness and discomfort.  Health problems related to water and sanitation include diarrhoeal diseases, intestinal worms and various eye and skin ailments.  Malnutrition is also closely connected to unsanitary conditions,  Although inadequate water supplies and sanitation have an impact on people of all ages, young children’s health and well-being are particularly affected.

Water quantity and quality.  Contaminated drinking water can cause outbreaks of disease.  But water quantity is even more important than quality for children’s health.  30 to 40 litres a day are needed per person for drinking, cooking and basic hygiene.  Too little water makes it difficult to maintain the sanitary conditions essential for preventing chronic poor health.

Accessibility of water.  Distance to water points, irregular supplies, time spent waiting in line and the cost of water are all serious problems  -  and cause households with young children make do with much less than they really need.  Children, food, utensils, floors, cooking surfaces and latrines are all less likely to be kept clean when water is not easily available.

Unhygienic water storage.  Water that is not piped directly into a house or yard needs to be stored in containers, where it can easily become contaminated  -   for instance, when children dip dirty hands into the bucket or leave water scoops on the floor.

Sanitation-related illnesses affect young children most heavily because of their lower immunity to pathogens, but also because they have a drive to play and explore, and have less appreciation of hygiene.  This means that they are more likely to come into contact with excreta, the primary source of diarrhoeal disease.

Human waste disposal.  The only safe sanitation methods are those that eliminate the possibility for contact with excreta.   Safe stool disposal is far more effective as a safeguard against disease than any amount of handwashing.  But almost 60 persent of the world’s households lack a sanitary means for disposing of human waste.

Problems with latrines.  Many poor settlements are served, at best, by filthy, foul-smelling, crowded communal latrines.  The darkness, smell and large pit openings make their use unpleasant and even frightening for young children.  In underserved communities around the world, most of children’s excrement ends up in yards, streets and open drains.

The quality of provision within schools and childcare centres.  Disease transmission is higher when a large number of children are together.  Inadequate toilets or hand washing facilities may allow parasites or disease to spread quickly from child to child.

Inadequate drainage and waste removal contribute to chronic poor health.   When sanitation is poor, excreta and garbage are often dumped in waste piles and drainage ditches, which can quickly become clogged.   When waste-water and storm-water cannot be drained, flooding spreads waste and excreta widely through the surrounding area.  Standing water can also be contaminated by blocked sewers and overflowing septic tanks.

Flooding due to poor drainage is especially serious for communities on steep or swampy land where many illegal settlements are located, and where major flooding once or twice a year is not uncommon.

Disease vectors such as mosquitoes, flies and rodents breed and feed in pooled water and piles of organic waste.  One significant effect is the contribution to malaria which kills many children.  Other diseases spread by water-based agents include bilharzias, yellow fever, dengue fever, guinea worm and filaria.


Biological pathogens are a serious threat to children in countries and communities with inadequate basic services.   But safety is a worldwide concern, as are toxics and pollutants.  Millions of girls and boys are killed or disabled every year as a result of preventable injuries in their homes and neighborhoods.  In countries where disease is well controlled, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children.  Pollutants that afect children’s health and funtioning can be found in water supplies, foods, inside homes, in the air and in unprotected dumps.  Children are particularly vulnerable to damage from these substances.

Falls are the most common cause of injury among young children  -  from unprotected stairways and heights, to walkways and open roadside ditches.  Where there is no waste removal, puncture wounds and cuts are also common and often lead to infection.

Burns result from floor-level cooking, open fires, unstable kerosene heaters and crowded conditions.  In high-income countries burns are more often related to faulty wiring, defective heating equipment and the absence of smoke alarms.

Poisoning is common for young children, especially from kerosene, pesticides and medicines in homes where there is a lack of safe storage space.

Traffic-related accidents cause the highest number of injury deaths among children.  Streets are often the only open space for children to play.  This fact, together with the lack of sidewalks and safe crossing places and the heavy use of road sides, can make it hazardous for children to play outdoors, walk to school or run errands.  Children’s capacity to judge how fast a vehicle is moving is limited before the age of six or seven.  Even when they are mature enough to respond appropriately to danger, the drive to play can override the need for caution.

Toxics affect children more seriously that adults.  Their greater intake of food, water and air relative to body weight increases their potential for excessive exposure, as does their closeness to the ground and their drive to play and explore.  Their rapid growth and immaturity, both physiologically and metabolically, puts them at greater risk of harm from their exposure.

Indoor air pollution is the most serious toxic threat to children’s health.   In houses with open fires or poorly vented stoves, concentrations of particulates are many times higher that the worst cases of outdoor air pollution, and contribute to acute respiratory infections that are still the most common cause of infant or child death.  Caregivers who spend long periods indoors, and the children who stay with them, are at highest risk of respiratory illness, chronic coughs and eye problems.

Outdoor air pollution contributes to asthma, pheumonia, coughs and other ailments in many urban areas;  in Latin America, over 2 million children are estimated to suffer from chronic coughs as a result of urban air pollution.  Where leaded fuel is till used, the exhaust is a serious threat, especially for children living and playing near heavy traffic.  Lead ingestion affects children’s behaviour and capacity to learn, and at high levels even leads to death.  (Flakes or dust from lead-based paint are also hazardous.)

Contaminated water an land.  Rivers and other open water sources used by those without piped systems are often seriously contaminated with chemicals from industrial effluent:  Many industries avoid disposal costs by illegally dumping toxic wastes.  Heavy industries can contaminate the air and soil for large areas around them.   Because of their play behaviour, children are at highest risk.

Working children are especially likely to be exposed to hazards  -  through the use of equipment designed for adults, heavy loads, pesticide use, work in dumps, and exposure to by-products of various industrial processes.  Also at high risk are children in households where toxic processes and unsafe procedures are part of home-based livelihoods.


Inadequate living environments have been recognized for years as contributing to stress and leaving people depleted in both body and mind.  Stress lowers the body’s resistance to illness and disease, increases anxiety, undermines coping strategies and interferes with social relationships.  The resulting mental fatigue can contribute to apathy, irritablility and even violent and abusive behaviour, which adds still further to the stress levels of others, both in the home and in the wider community.  Stressful physical environments affect children directly, but also indirectly through the impact on those around them, and hence on the quality of care and support that they receive.   The consequences can be disturbing for development on every front.

Overcrowding.  Culture has been widely considered to moderate the impacts of overcrowding and other stressors.  Recent research, however, suggests that residential crowding is stressful for people in the same ways, regardless of cultural differences in the perception of whether a given situation is in fact “crowded”.

Environmental chaos, which is defined to include high levels of noise and crowding, many people coming and going, and a lack of physical and temporal structure in daily life, has been found to affect children’s motivation, their capacity to concentrate and learn, and their achievement in school.

Stress and parenting.  Crowded and choatic onditions have also been found to decrease parental responsiveness to young children and to contribute to more restrictive, controlling and punitive parenting.  Under the many pressures of poverty this can more easily escalate to neglect or abuse.  The situation is complicated in many urban areas by the frequent lack of social support during difficult times.

Poor housing and fear of crime.  When housing is built from flimsy and inadequate materials, it can be difficult to protect possessions from crime, creating a further source of anxiety.

An absence of safe informal public gathering places  -  parks, plaza’s, courtyards, playgrounds, benches, cafes, front steps and other havens  -  can mean that children and their families have little respite from their overcrowded homes.  At the neighborhood level, environmental factors that discourage the regular presence of people in shared space contribute to the likelihood of vandalism and criminal behaviour.

A lack of easy access to opportunities for safe play and exploration can result in more anxious attachement between parent and child, with implications for the child’s emotional and social development.

The absence of constructive opportunities for young people.  Millions of children and young people around the world live in communities where their social, cultural and recreational needs receive little attention.   This contributes to boredom and to a propensity for anti-social behaviour, which in turn makes public space less inviting for everyone else.  Vandalism, drug use and gang-related criminal behaviour by young people are the source of fear and insecurity in communities worldwide.

Repeated exposure to violence can lead to anxiety, depression and aggression in children and erode a child’s capacity to face normal development challenges.  Whether children are the victims or merely the witnesses of violence, the consequences can be far reaching, and can include a tendency to see agression as the solution to problems.

The cumulative effects.  Especially for those in urban poverty, crowded and sub-standard housing and stressful neighborhood conditions, such as heavy traffic, pollution and high noise levels, dilapidation and inadequate provision often co-exist with community tensions and insecurity.  The cumulative effects of all these stressors cannot be overestimated.


Desolate, rundown physical surroundings are a hallmark of many of the institutions that children are exposed to   -  schools and child care centres, as well as residential institutions, hospitals and other facilities.  Little attention is given to girls’ and boys’ needs in design, maintenance or improvements.    The excuse of cost is commonly used for these poor quality environments, but the quality of their environments does much to support or undermine the potential for meeting children’s needs.

The inappropriate location of schools can have significant effects for attendance.  Even in densely populated urban areas, the tendency is to centralize, rather than establishing small accessible neighborhood schools.  Location can be especially significant for girls, who are more likely to be prevented from attending when school is at a distance.

Large schools are said to offer more opportunities, but it has been found that children engage in a greater range of activities in small schools.  When schools and other facilities are too large, it is difficult for staff to be aware of individual children’s needs, it is harder to build a sense of community, and parents are less likely to become involved.

Isolated schools.  Schools often support a formal approach to learning, separated from children’s everyday culture, environment and pre-occupations.  This is reflected in buildings isolated from the community and in bare classrooms with little evidence of local life and concerns.  The potential of a school building to serve as a community resource after school hours usually goes unrecognized.

  Poor building conditions.  Too many children around the world attend schools in dark, overcrowded, poorly ventilated rooms which make attention difficult.  Often they sit on the floor or crowded on backless benches.  When they can move around and make use of outdoor space, these conditions are less of a problem.

Children with disabilities, in particular, are seriously penalized by schools and other facilities that completely ignore their need for access and suitable modifications.  This cuts them off, not only from education, but from a chance to become integrated into the larger community.

Formal inflexible schools. Most schools attended by poor children are spatially organized to allow only for attention to a teacher and blackboard at the front of the room.  Little attention is given to the flexible and creative use of space, to the use of local materials, or to the possililities for working alone or in groups on a range of activities.

Undifferentiated schoolyards.  Most schoolyards, for those schools that have them, are barren, undifferentiated spaces that fail to take advantage of the many inexpensive and simple ways in which the outdoors can be inproved to serve as a place for physical exercise and sports, for play and informal learning with peers, for environmental studies and as valuable resource for the community.

Inadequate provision of water and sanitation.  Many schools and child care centres lack an adequate supply of water and even the most basic provision for sanitation, and can become the means by which disease is passed from child to child and through the community.  Lack of provision contributes to attendance problems, especially for girls.   Poor provision within the larger community can also undermine children’s chances of attending school by increasing their work loads along with those of other family members.

Barren child care centres.  Centres should offer opportunities for physical activity, social interaction, and learning through exploration and spontaneous play.  Many centres, however, are only bleak holding pens, offering little beyond an empty room and some supervision.  This may be a way to keep children safe while caregivers work, but far from supporting development, such monotonous and constrained surroundings may actually leave children mentally and socially deprived.


To support children’s rights, families need secure tenure, an environment that allows them to protect children’s health and safety without unrealistic effort, and a location that offers reasonable access to services and livelihoods.  They need a neighbourhood where girls and boys can move about freely and safely, meet with friends, observe the activities of others, and become involved in local events.  The rights of children and the well-being of communities can be hard to separate  -  a supportive local environment nurtures the optimal development of both.   Action is needed at every level to achieve these supportive communities  -  good governance calls for consultation and partnerships between all agencies of local government and higher levels,  as well as the full range of civil society, including NGO’s and community groups and organizations.


Secure tenure encourages families to invest in improvements that support children’s well-being  -  enough space, durable materials that are conducive to health, and even contributions to basic infrastructure.  A secure home makes it easier to offer a consistent familiar environment and predictable routines, valuable supports to a child’s sense of security.

Accessibility.  Living in an area where services, facilities and jobs are easily accessible means that family members do not spend long hours every day just getting around.  The chance to have time together is an important component of family life for children.

Proper building materials allow protection from devastation during landslides, floods and storms;  from disease vectors that live in porous walls and ceilings or enter through unprotected windows;  from pathogens on hard-to-clean surfaces and floors; and from the dampness and lack of ventilation that contribute to a range of illnesses.

Proper storage space can hellp to prevent poisoning and can cut down on the contamination of food.  Stable well-vented cooking equipment can help prevent respiratory illness and injuries from burns.

Water and sanitation.  Water piped into house or yard, regular waste removal and adequate sanitation close by (improved pit latrines, toilets attached to septic system or sewer), are the solutions that best protect children from sanitation-related diseases.  They also simplify life for caregivers and improve the quality of the local environmnet for all.

Resident control over design of housing and its surroundings can reinforce cultural identity and facilitate relationships between neighbours.

Play space and materials.  The smaller and more crowded housing is, the more essential outdoor space becomes.   Safe, contained space adjacent to home or nearby is the highest priority for younger children.  Children also need things to play with, but bought toys are not necessary;  things to climb over, crawl under, jump off, the availability of safe “loose parts” (like plastic bottles, bottle caps, sticks and stones, buckets of water) keep young children happily and constructively involved.


Regular access to inclusive public space that crosses cultural and social class lines gives children the sense of belonging to a larger community and supports the development of their identity as citizens.  Private provision for play, recreation and socializing is no alternative, and sets the stage for discrimination.

Natural areas or “green spaces” provide release from stress for children and adults.  Research finds that people with access to green space around the home spend more time outdoors, relate better to neighbors, report less crime and cope better with major life issues.  Children engage in more creative play, interact more with adults and perform better in school.  Exposure to natural settings fosters affection for the natural world  -  a fundamental requirement for sustainable development.  Access to nature is an essential part of every child’s environment, necessary to mental health in the same way that clean water is to physical health.

Community control of space.   Insecurity, vandalism and violence are less common where residents feel control over local space, and can exercise “collective efficacy”.  Residential stability, resulting from security of tenure and affordable housing, increases this sense of collective control.  So do strong social ties, which can stimulate through opportunities for involvement in community improvement.

Secure public space and a sense of community.  Well-lit streets and appealing gathering places increase the presence of community memebers outdoors, discourage anti-social behaviour and make neighbourhoods safer and pleasanter for all.  When children can play outdoors, this brings adults out more often as well and contributes to a sense of community.

Safe outdoor space.  Freedom from waste, open drains, standing water and most importantly, heavy traffic, is critical to making neighbourhoods work for children.  Streets are often the only spaces large enough for energetic games.  Measures that slow down or restrict traffic, support children’s right to play near home and move around their communities.  Efforts to combat environmental hazards of all kinds must involve household and community-based assessments of the risks to children, and the adaptation of strategies to fit local needs.

Access to play, recreation and cultural opportunities.  Communities with recreational facilities and opportunities for constructive involvement have fewer problems with youth violence, vandalism and drug use.   Sidewalks, safe crossing places and affordable public transport can make it possible to use the opportunities that are availble.   When they have safe access to their community, in many cultures children still play a major role in maintaining traditional rituals and celebrations.

Opening up communities for girls.  Access to the public domain can be especially limited for girls, and their opportunities for play, recreation and social life are limited as a result.  The availability of safe spaces close to home, and transitional space between home and the street can moderate the effects of culture and extend opportunities for play and interaction.

Communitiy access for children with special needs.  Children and young people with disabilities need a facilitating environment with modifications that improve access and mobility, encourage the best use of children’s abilities, an allow them to function with as much dignity and self-reliance as possible.

Community day care or family centres.  Well-organized day care environments provide an alternative to overcrowded homes and chaotic neighbourhoods for young children, as well as respite for their caregivers.   In addition to providing integrated opportunities for children’s development, an early childhood center can become the focus for a range of essential services for poor families, supporting their capacity to support their children.

Child-friendly schools.  Even in the poorest neighbourhoods, schools can be vital centres for community life, as well as supporting children’s full development.  Child-centred learning does not require expensive, elaborate buildings and supplies  -  it is promoted by easy access to resources and materials, flexible use of space, and the opportunity to be involved in a range of activities.   Schoolyards suitable for games and sports, informal play and learning, can be resources not only for the school, but for the community as a whole  -  as is true of indoor space, which can be used for local meetings.


Local governments that are accountable to citizens through representative democracy, provision for direct participation, and transparent use of resources can make the most significant difference to the potential for communities to achieve a decent living environment.  Pressure on governments to meet and maintain these high standards should be on-going.

Social justice.  Local governments shape children’s environments through resource allocation and the provision of basic services;  through a number of measures, they can minimize differences in the environment for rich and poor.  Their impact is not limited to what they provide or fail to provide, however.  Much of the disproportionate exposure of poor families and children to various hazards and stressors is related to regulation and enforcement  -   protection from pollution and other environmental hazards, regulations regarding land use, the availability of legal tenure and so on.

An inter-agency task force for children within local government can effectively ensure attention to children’s rights, and encourage co-operation between environmental agencies (such as planning, waste disposal, transportation), and the social services agencies more traditionally associated with children’s issues.

  Local participation.  In any community, upgrading projects, including provision of water and sanitation, waste removal, and the planning of open space for play and recreation, must involve residents in order to be most effective, even when it is sponsored or implemented by local government.  Government representatives at neighbourhood level can serve as liaisons with community organizations;  community bulletin boards, newsletters and regular meetings can ensure that people are well informed about local initiatives.

Direct action by community organizations can play a critical role in determining possibilities for children, through projects to improve the environment, or through efforts to monitor and document conditions and press for action at higher levels.   Women’s groups in India, for instance, have been effective in creating special children’s toilet blocks.  A place to meet can be a critical element in bringing groups together on a regular basis.

Children’s involvement.  Children are fully capable of involvement in community assessment, planning and decision making.  Research around the world shows that they gravitate naturally to a purposeful engagement with their surroundings, and have strong feelings about the local environments they use everyday.   The obvious place for children’s participation is within schools, but local organizations can also foster active citizenship in young people.  Children frequently identify and wish to act on different priorities from adults  -  streets, for instances, may be seen as spaces for play, rather that arteries for moving traffic.  But the issues that most concern children  -  like the design of schools and recreational space  -  tend to be areas of strong adult control.  Children’s ideas have been shown to be practical and effective, but adults have to take their ideas seriously.

A workshop on children's environmental rights was held in De Aar recently.

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From left to right : Ms Jeanne Swart (facilitator), Mr Romein van Staden, Mrs Patience Tshangela and Mr Gerhard Engelbrecht.

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Here is part of the course material.

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Members taking part in the course.

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Adriaan le Roux presenting Jeanne with a small gift after the presentation.



The first meeting of stakeholders was held in March 2002.   Its focus was to set up a “Keep Our Town Clean”  Committee to manage the project.  The first clean up was organized in April.  The response from the wider community in and around the town was excellent and involved schools, churches, businesses and local government.  Approximately 3 000 people participated over a 3 day period.  A month later a follow-up campaign was organized, which again involved members from across the community.  Subsequently in June, schools and residents in nearby Britstown and Hanover came together in a clean up to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and the cleanliness of their towns.

Other smaller projects included businesses being requested   by the Committee to clean up the area in front of their premises in the mornings and afternoons as part of creating a culture of neatness in the town.  In addition, a local recycling business offered to remove the numerous unsightly car wrecks scattered about.   During the campaign, the Department of Agriculture, Land and Environment Affairs provided funds for refreshments for the participants.  The projects are ongoing and there are more plans for the rest of the year:  the Committee is planning to involve 17 schools in the Collect-a-can Project which, if every pupil at the schools in the municipal area collects just one can a month, will bring in 14 500 cans a month.

The success of the project was such that the municipality won the Stockholm Partnership Award on World Environment Day in 2002.  The municipality was awarded this prestigious prize as it demonstrated local impact, innovative thinking and a potential for replication.   It also demonstrated co-operation between the two towns of De Aar and Karlstad, Sweden.


Strong partnerships have formed between the Emthanjeni Municipality and Karlstad.  The latter helps provide skills and technical expertise and the former implements the projects.  Part of the agreement is the building of three eco-houses, and the launch of an eco-school.  The “Keep Our Town Clean” Committee is made up of extensive range of stakeholders, including a local councilor, the Local Agenda 21 Co-coordinator, the Chief of Health Services, the Magistrate (as Chairperson), the chairperson of the Chamber of Business, a student from the College representing Nonzwakazi, a representative from the SA Defense Force, a representative from Correctional Services, three business people, and a town secretary for the project.

In addition to the committee, schools, the Round Table of De Aar 223, Rotary, the Youth Commission, SANCO, ANC Ward Committees of Emthanjeni Municipality, businesses and the Karoo District Municipality are actively involved in clean-up campaigns.  Other support from the community comes from the local newspaper, the police, the Century Committee, De Aar Recycling, De Aar Scrap Metal, and the general public.


The Clean-Up Campaign has increased community involvement and instilled a sense of pride.  It has created positive awareness towards the environment and the importance of sustainability.  The community as a whole is more educated about waste and the negative impact it will have if not managed properly.  The De Aar College is training 25 people in various waste management fields, thus potentially resulting in their employment as skilled workers.

The Clean-Up Campaign has fostered good working relationships between different sectors of the community who might not necessarily have had the opportunity to work together before.  The decrease in litter and waste has resulted in a cleaner town, impacting positively on tourism, which in turn raised incomes.


The Clean-Up Campaign has been highly successful.  From once being labeled the “dirtiest town in South Africa”, the Emthanjeni Municipality now boasts one of the cleanest towns, thanks to the enormous support and enthusiasm from the whole community and its international partners.