Four people stand beside a elephant statue
USAID Southern Africa Deputy Mission Director, Rebecca Krzywda, Dinokazi artist, USAID Southern Africa Water Resources Management Specialist, Jeanette Normand, and KCDI Director, Charl Pretorius. | Photo Credit: Faraimunashe Mavhiya

USAID Hosts Community-Based Environment Day Event Promoting Clean Air

By USAID Resilient Waters

In June 2019 USAID’s Resilient Waters Program hosted a community-based celebration to commemorate World Environment Day in partnership with the Kwalata Community Development Initiative (KCDI) at Dinokeng Game Reserve in Hammanskraal, South Africa. The event brought together 300 local community member, environmental organization, government, business community, cultural body, and media representatives.  

The area of Hammanskraal falls within the Limpopo River Basin and is a hub for a variety of plants and animals, of which some are only found there. USAID Southern Africa's Resilience in the Limpopo River Basin (RESILIM) Program identified risk and vulnerability hotspots in the Limpopo River Basin and this area of Dinokeng and Hammanskraal, falls within one of these areas. There is a need to promote initiatives that buffer this area from degradation that would otherwise render it vulnerable to climate.

The Resilient Waters Program intends on building on the work that was started here and assist communities in this area to become more resilient to environmental shocks and stresses. The purpose of the event was to honor the World Environment Day with the community surrounding this area. Also, the community members were encouraged to engage in edutainment and conversations with each other with a view to promote the importance of clean air for the water-biodiversity-livelihoods nexus, which was in line with the theme of World Environment Day. 

Providing a beautiful backdrop to the proceedings were exquisite sculptures (using recycled material) and wildlife paintings, done by the Dinokazi art group from the local community.  

The program participants were community members (predominantly young school children) who had prepared edutainment presentations on water conservation and biodiversity. What followed was a vibrant, multi-media offering as the youth and community elders took the stage.

The theme for the World Environment Day 2019 was air pollution and was aimed at urging governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world. “Global warming resulting from air pollution is causing huge changes to biodiversity, and it will continue to threaten species and their habitats for the foreseeable future. Changes include longer droughts and unpredictable rainfall patterns which in turn impact access to safe drinking water for people and wildlife in southern Africa” said USAID Mission Director Rebecca Krzywda during her opening remarks at the event. She also added “I hope that by the end of today, that you feel more energized and empowered to seek out new and creative ways to protect our most precious resources; the air, water and land which together give us all life.”

Through the Resilient Waters Program, USAID is supporting governments, communities, civil society and the private sector to understand, address and cooperate to solve challenges that include: poorly managed natural areas, ecosystem degradation, and biodiversity loss exacerbated by droughts and flooding within key river basins. USAID is addressing these challenges by working with communities and governments to improve science and decision-making around improved land and water use management in an effort to make people and wildlife more resilient.

Country
South Africa
Projects
Resilient Waters
Strategic Objective
Integration
Topics
Biodiversity Conservation, Water and Sanitation
Region
Africa

USAID Resilient Waters

USAID Resilient Waters is a five-year, $32 million project implemented by Chemonics International. Its goal is to build more resilient and water secure Southern African communities and ecosystems through improved management of trans-boundary natural resources and increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation services.

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