Let’s Plant a Better Future …Together

Let’s Plant a Better Future …Together

Let’s Plant a Better Future …Together

‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’

 [Chinese Proverb]

At the heart of our vision and mission is our ‘Green Print’ – which is to find creative, collaborative solutions to inspire and assist communities to be at the helm of conservation in wilderness areas.

Greening the Community is one of these solutions. It’s a long-term empowerment and environmental sustainability initiative. Aimed at local communities, the goal is to drive environmental change at grass roots level. It’s designed to encourage young people, in particular, to play a pivotal part in ensuring a better future for all. And to become passionate conservation advocates.  This is a pilot project launching in the Eastern Cape (South Africa) but which could be rolled out to other communities.

Together with our partners and supporters, the Greening the Community project will:

  • Contribute towards the alleviation of poverty through job creation
  • Assist with personal and social transformation
  • Change and uplift communities
  • Create a sustainable future and help offset carbon emissions by planting trees through our Adopt-a-Tree campaign

ADOPT-A-TREE CAMPAIGN

Planting Trees for a Better Future

He that plants trees loves others beside himself [Thomas Fuller]

The Adopt-a-Tree campaign is the first in a series of initiatives to support the Greening the Community project. The idea is to bring nature back to the KwaNobhule township in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth, South Africa). It’s about cultivating green landscapes to improve the environment and lives of the 121 800 community members.

The concept was inspired by the Indalo Nursery operating from the local Mantis Collection property at the Hopewell Conservation Estate. The vision: To raise funds to plant 600 trees at schools, churches and safe spaces within KwaNobuhle over the next 12 months. The location was chosen as the Eastern Cape is the heart and home of Mantis properties, where it all began 21 years ago.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Even though Arbor Month is drawing to a close, you can get involved by adopting a tree or a cluster of trees – it’s a win-win for our people and our planet. Click here to adopt

 

THE ‘GRASS ROOTS’ SOLUTION

To ensure the sustainability of the project, practical experience and education are its foundation – especially for the young people of KwaNobhule, where unemployment levels are as high as 29% and more than half the community live below the poverty line.

It begins with a 21-day educational Youth Development Empowerment Programme for 20 vulnerable youths covering life skills, employability, indigenous horticulture, plant handling, traditional medicine and general conservation awareness and practices.

There is also an immersive Wilderness and Nature Trail Camping Experience for 20 youths, a paid horticultural internship for two students at Indalo Nurseries as well as post-course assistance (mentoring, guidance with CV writing, help finding a job).

Over the years CCFA has funded several courses and wishes to continue this on an annual basis. Click [here] read more.

Future project phases include:

  • Assisting Indalo Nurseries to open a retail nursery in KwaNobuhle
  • Innovative Carbon Reduction Initiatives for eco-conscious travelers

Greening community initiative

21 day Siyazenzela training

CLIMBING NEW HEIGHTS

On September 24, South Africans celebrated Heritage Day which is a time to reflect on the past, the history that shaped the nation and contemplate the future  On this special day, well-known local extreme athlete and Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) supporter, Steven Lancaster, embarked on a mammoth challenge. His goal: To complete a grueling 8849m run – his own Mount Everest – within 24 hours.  Why? Besides his dream to ‘summit’ Mount Everest, Steven also wanted to inspire individuals, corporates and the active environment-focused lifestyle community – to plant trees for a better future.

The location for this fundraising ‘Everresting Challenge’ was a 700m long route along Brickmakers Kloof Road, in Baakens Valley (Nelson Mandela Bay), known as the city’s green lungs. To reach the Mount Everest target, he needed to summit this 700m climb (at a 63m elevation) 141 times. Not only did he achieve this but pushed further, summiting an additional 25 times as he climbed up to 10 000m … well ahead of the 24 hour time limit.

We want to give a big shout out to Steven for his perseverance, endurance and passion to make a difference.

We can sit back, do nothing and watch our planet be destroyed.

Or we can take action, become advocates and start making lifestyle choices which are kinder to people and the planet. [Kira Simpson]

GET INVOLVED

Adopt-a-Tree Prize Draw – 2 nights for 2 with Mantis Collection

We invite you to be part of the solution, by planting for a better future today.  Adopt-a-tree at R300 per tree or a cluster of 10 trees for R3000.  Not only will you be changing the lives of the KwaNobuhle community but you will also help offset carbon emissions…

You will also be in line to win some great prizes by the Mantis Collection – 2 nights for 2 at Oceana Beach & Wildlife Resort or at Pearl Valley Hotel by Mantis.

Adopt-a-Tree | Prize Draw for individuals – 1 to 9 trees

2 nights for 2 at Oceana Beach & Wildlife Resorts with game drives

Adopt-a-Cluster | Prize Draw for corporates – 10 or more trees

Employee Luxury Incentive – Couple experience

2 nights for 2 at Pearl Valley Golf Estate Hotel on B&B basis, a round of golf for and a Master Wine-Tasting experience at Fairview Wine Estate.

Thank You to all our Supporters

Our heartfelt thanks to you – our ‘eco-warriors’ – for rising to the challenge and supporting our Greening the Community initiative.  From individuals who made a donation or bought a tree, to corporates sponsoring clusters of trees and our international community.  Without you, none of this would be possible.

Donors – Siyazenzela Youth Development Training

VWSA, Cerebos and special thanks to the Nedbank SA Charity Golf Day who have included CCFA as one of their beneficiaries.

Donors – Everest Event

VWSA, Algoa FM, Bridge Street Brewery, Mantis Collection

Corporate supporters for branding sponsorship, donations and/or purchasing tree clusters

Cerebos, Algoa FM, Borbet SA, MTN, Spar, Tent House Structures, HR123, Standard Bank, Aberdare Cables, Umicore, KPMG, MBDA, NMBM, Online Direct, Continental Tyres 

The indispensable Everesting event team of volunteers, supporters, service providers and sponsors

Steven Lancaster

Bongani Mvulane, Blackie Witbooi, Ayanda Smith of Indalo Nurseries

Bruce & Tracey Campbell of Aspire Live Fit

Ilona Hearne – Bio kineticist

Wayne & Nikki Bolton of One Land Love It

Luvuyo Bangazi of MBDA (marketing/logistics support)

Allister Marran of Charlo Athletic Club (Chief Marshal)

Phrosne Philips of Go See Do (Safety Officer)

Clinton Swartz of HRG Security

Eugene Muller of ECMR Medical Service
Denis Goddard of Under African Skys (Videographer)

Richard Pearce of Richard Pearce Photography

Brad Hiles of Talisman Hire (portable trailer unit – toilet)

Warren Lloyd of Barron (Branded clothing & CCFA Gazebo)

Linda Harwood of Harwood Promotions (Event Management)

Keri Martens-Wright of Algorithm Digital (social media/photography)

 

Bees and People Together – South Africa

Bees and People Together – South Africa

The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.

[Elizabeth Lawrence]

May 20 is World Bee Day, a day to pay homage to these tiny little miracles of nature that not only pollinate our flowers but are largely responsible for our crops and food. If there were no bees there would be no more pollination, plants, animals or man.

World Bee Day reminds us of that and acknowledges the critical role bees play in our ecosystem.

It is estimated that a third of the food we consume relies predominantly on pollination by bees … but our tiny heroes are under threat.  Across the world there has been a growing concern about the decline in the bee population, mainly due to intensive farming, loss of habitat, improper use of pesticides and climate change.

The theme for World Bee Day 2021 is ‘Bee Engaged’. Let’s take a moment to learn a little bit more about bees and our new ‘Adopt-a-Hive project.

 

Let it bee

The team at Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) has been hard at work to help prevent the colony collapse of bees and, in 2019, relocated and introduced 120 new bee hives onto three Mantis properties in the Eastern Cape: Hopewell Conservation Estate, Founders Lodge and Intle Boutique Hotel.  With an average of 50 000 to 75 000 bees per hive, this has created a habitat for around 9 million bees.  And, in addition it’s given bees a new base from which to buzz, dance, pollinate and produce honey and save the world. The project has also created much needed employment.

CCFA is extending its bee project to the Western Cape by installing 70 beehives at two sites: The Honey House on Willowdale Farm in Stanford and on Hazendal – a Mantis property located in Paarl.

Be part of the solution

Most of the world’s food crops – like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds – that form an integral part of our everyday diet, depend on bees and other pollinators to exist​.  The adopt-a-hive project, in collaboration with Honeybee Heroes, offers you a simple, hands-off way to help honeybees and nature’s pollination process.  ​

Adopt-a-Hive

For an investment of £100 (R2 000) you can adopt a honeybee hive and, in return, besides being a bee hero, you receive:

  • A personalised plaque on your beehive (this can either be for yourself, a partner, business or a gift for someone special)
  • An official adoption certificate
  • Hive progress updates
  • A Beekeeping Experience  (*T&Cs apply)

The honey produced will be stocked and sold at Mantis properties, with the profits reinvested into the development of more hives.

The buzz about bees

Not all bees are the same. There are an astonishing 2 755 bee species in sub-Saharan Africa and about a third of these are in South Africa.  Here are 10 fascinating facts about bees:

  • To produce 1.6kg of honey it takes 556 worker bees and 2 million flowers
  • The average honeybee makes only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime and visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip
  • A honeybee can fly, up to 9km at an average speed of 25km/hour
  • A colony consists of worker bees, drones and one queen. Worker bees are female, they live for about six weeks and do all the work. The male honey bees (drones) do no work, all they do is mate
  • The queen bee lives for about 2 -3 years, she is at her busiest in summer when she lays 2 500 eggs per day
  • Honey bees communicate with each other by ‘dancing’
  • The bees’ buzz is the sound made by their wings which beat 200 times per second
  • The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man
  • Honeybees never sleep
  • Honey is incredibly healthy and includes enzymes, vitamins and minerals. It’s the only food that contains “pinocembrin”, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.

Did you know?

  • Bees can see a colour imperceptible to humans and known as ‘bee’s purple’. It is a combination of yellow and UV light

Looking ahead

Building on the initial bee relocation and bee-keeping project in the Eastern Cape and the setting up of these beehives in the Western Cape, CCFA aims to continue creating small micro-businesses. The goal is to set up 1 000 micro-apiaries all over South Africa, donating hives, bee-suits and basic tools to rural South Africans in need, in order for them to start up their own businesses.

Once installed, the hives and bees belong to the community and the honey produced will be sold back to CCFA to sell through Mantis properties and local businesses. This will provide jobs and income for the local community.

In addition, as part of its immersive environmental activities for guests, CCFA and Mantis will be adding a Beekeeping Experience to its tourist offering. This includes a three-hour edutainment session with a hive tour and lunch at Willowdale Farm (*T&Cs apply).

‘Bee Engaged’, join us in the fight to protect our hard working little bees who contribute to complex, interconnected ecosystems that allow a diverse number of different species to co-exist. After all, bees keep the world sweet.

If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.
[Albert Einstein]

To adopt-a-beehive, donate to the project or learn more about environmental projects, contact the CCFA.

Website: https://www.ccfa.africa/beekeeping/

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/ccfa.africa/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccfa_africa/

 

(*T&Cs: the Beehive Experience excludes transport to/from Willowdale Farm in Stanford and is for a minimum of four people.)

‘Conservation is a state of harmony between people and land’  From the Chairman’s Desk

‘Conservation is a state of harmony between people and land’ From the Chairman’s Desk

‘Conservation is a state of harmony between people and land

From the Chairman’s Desk…

 

The start of a new year has never before been welcomed with such enthusiasm.  2020 was an intensely disruptive year with the impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns affecting everyone. The long-term implications of the global pandemic will be felt for years.  And, although we are by no means out of the woods in terms of the coronavirus and the second wave of infections, we are relieved not to be back in total lockdown and that a vaccine is in sight.  There are signs that the economy is starting to get back on track and, most importantly, that the tourism industry will start opening up again, albeit slowly.

The Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) is intrinsically linked to tourism. Its very foundation is based on responsible tourism and working with local communities to protect and conserve our wilderness areas – our unique fauna and flora. The team, partners and communities we work alongside, have made huge strides in achieving our goals and objectives. We are happy to say there have been positive outcomes and the ripple effect of our agile approach to challenges, is paying off. We are proud of our achievements and it warms my conservation heart to know we are making a difference, despite the challenges of 2020.

The past year was not an easy one. We all felt the effect the pandemic had on people, economies, governments and tourism. Without tourists the properties within the Mantis Collection were unable to operate, which had a huge impact on the Company, its employees and suppliers. There was also a devastating knock-on effect in the communities we support.  Many lost their concessions and livelihoods, which put them under enormous financial pressure and food security became a concern. As the entire country began to experience the impact of Covid-19, ensuring the survival of people became a priority.

This meant we had to adapt our strategy to respond to this crisis in manner that supported our projects and the challenges facing our beneficiaries. To assist the very communities that had supported our conservation initiatives over the past few years.  And we did.

As we reflect on the successes of 2020, what becomes clear is that this was only made possible by the CCFA team’s dedication and hard work.  It was about everyone being flexible in adapting to the changes we are facing.  This has made our commitment to achieving our goals stronger: Working together to build a better Africa for our communities, our wildlife and our future tourists.

Sponsored students completing their Field Guide Training

Below, a quick review on some of the 2020 ‘highlights’.   A wonderful achievement that shows the tenacity of CCFA … especially given the circumstances.

Harvesting and bottling CCFA honey

Fundraising event in London with historian and storyteller, Michael Charlton

The road ahead

One of the key learning from this global crisis is the importance and strength of partnerships to achieve positive outcomes. We need to be open to adapting to our changing environment and, as long as there is commitment from an organisation to deliver on its social contract, many hurdles and challenges can be overcome. 

We have set goals for 2021, some include:

  • Creating food gardens in two different communities, to establish a sustainable food source
  • Planting 300 indigenous and fruit trees within the first 6 months of the year as part of our Greening the Community Project
  • Enrolling 20 Students on the Wilderness Foundation Africa’s Siyazenzela Life and Employability Course
  • Tripling the number of beehives  – enabling a sustainable food source and creating more employment opportunities
  • Hosting and co-ordinating sex education classes in Namibia and the distribution of reusable sanitary towels

In addition to our goals and ‘wish lists’ for 2021 and beyond, we will continue to grow strategic partnerships and mentor communities to secure a better future for our wilderness areas. 

Partnering with Indalo for the Greening the Community Project 

We wish to thank you for your continued support and are hopeful that 2021 will be a better one for the world.

 

We all know that, ‘‘Even the smallest voice can make a difference in a big way’

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The visions we offer our children shape the future.

[Carl Sagan]

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child, by the UN General Assembly, was announced on November 20, 1959 which is why Children’s Day in celebrated annually on this day.  It is to honour the children of the world – our hope for the future and leaders of tomorrow.

This Children’s Day we’d like to salute all children but particularly the conservation warriors who are helping us build a better future, by taking care of nature and wildlife today.  Most specifically the children of Rwanda who are an important part of a project that we support, alongside Tusk Trust and the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA), that is having a positive impact on protecting the endangered Grey Crowned Cranes.

The Grey Crowned Crane is every bit as majestic as its name suggests. These long-legged birds with their grey bodies, white wings with brown and gold feathers, white cheeks and bright red sacs beneath their chins are one of 15 species of crane.  But, most striking is the spray of stiff golden feathers which forms a crown around their heads.

Unfortunately, their distinctive looks have put them at risk as they are considered status symbols among the wealthy and are being poached, captured and illegally sold.  They are under continuous threat – their eggs and feathers are used for medicinal remedies, breeding grounds are being contaminated by pesticides, fields are being eroded, there’s climate change and also collisions with power lines. This onslaught against the species means the Grey Crowned Crane is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

CCFA is proud to be involved with Tusk and RWCA on this project, using a holistic approach, to combat the threats faced by the cranes. Activities include:

  • Raising awareness of the legal and conservation status of cranes
  • Identifying and registering captive cranes, rehabilitating and reintroducing captive cranes

Working with local communities around key areas to reduce poaching

Funding from CCFA and other charities has enabled Tusk and RWCA  to educate, engage and improve the livelihoods of local communities around the Rugezi Marsh and Akagera National Park in Rwanda.

In Rugezi, RWCA has worked with an existing cooperative of ex-poachers, establishing a pig farm as an alternative income source and training them as marsh rangers to assist with law enforcement and crane monitoring.

In Akagera they have enlisted the help of community children. RWCA strongly believes in engaging and involving local communities, to ensure they take ownership of their wildlife and natural places. Part of that work is to inspire children and young people to be the new generation of conservationists.

Schools nearby key crane areas were visited and a conservation comic book distributed to educate around the need to protect Grey Crowned Cranes and their habitats. Over 20 000 school children pledged to protect the cranes and now understand that it’s not okay to take crane eggs or chicks.

Nine environmental youth clubs have been set up in areas nearby Rugezi Marsh and Akagera involving over 600 children. Led by a mentor and with the use of some great resources from the Tusk, children meet every weekend to learn about conservation, Grey Crowned Cranes and take action to protect their local environment.

These children have used their initiative to implement activities in their area:

  • Planting thousands of indigenous trees around the buffer zone of the Marsh, as well as on their family land, which will hopefully become ideal roost trees for Grey Crowned Cranes
  • Learnt about and taken action against erosion
  • Are making biodegradable seedling pots to avoid the use of plastic
  • Cleaned up plastic discarded in their area.

Recently there was word that a Grey Crowned Crane had been poached. The reason it was ‘public knowledge’ was thanks to local children. They sought out the Community Conservation Champion, in the area, to report having seen a crane chick wandering around after it had escaped from a poacher’s house. Thanks to the children’s concern and quick action, the Champion was able to capture the crane chick and reunite it with its parents. The education and involvement of the community has led to an increase in reporting illegal activities.

It is news like this that gives us all – CCFA, Tusk Trust and the RWCA – hope that with children carrying the environmental and conservation torch we can protect our planet and really make a long-term difference ….other successes include:

  • The capture of newly hatched Crowned Crane chicks, on camera, by the team at Umusambi Village, a sanctuary for disabled cranes
  • Implementing a third national crane census which involved teams of staff and volunteers scouring the country to sight cranes as well as an aerial survey over Akagera National Park and Rugezi Marsh. A total of 748 cranes were sighted – up from 487 and 459 in previous years.

The Grey Crowned Crane is still on the endangered list but, with the help of the children of Rwanda and their growing enthusiasm to protect these distinctive birds and their habitat, there is renewed hope that this magnificent and environmentally critical bird will continue to be protected and sightings will grow.  And, perhaps like Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe where they are protected – by law – Rwanda will follow.

Children aren’t just our future. They’re our present.  [Ricky Martin]

 

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CCFA translocating rhinos for the sustainability of wildlife conservation

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World Rhino Day 2020 – CCFA translocating rhinos for the sustainability of wildlife conservation

 

 

World Rhino Day is celebrated on September 22 every year! This special day provides the opportunity for cause-related organisations, NGOs, zoos and members of the public to celebrate rhinos in their own unique ways.  CCFA would like to use this day to showcase one of our project of which we are extraordinarily proud: The relocation of 5 Eastern black rhinos from the Czech Republic to Rwanda. 

A year ago…

In 2019, five Eastern Black rhinos flew 6 000kms from a safari park in Czech Republic to Akagera National Park in Rwanda, in what was the largest ever transportation of rhinos from Europe to Africa. We are proud that we were part of the team by assisting with funding of the logistics for this successful relocation project.

Why the move?

Transporting rhino on such a long journey is not without its challenges. But, with fewer than 5000 Wild black rhinos and 1 000 Eastern black rhinos currently roaming game parks in Africa and poaching an ongoing problem, it is essential to relocate and rehabilitate rhino from other parts of the world. Not only to supplement the numbers but to develop a new, genetically diverse, rhino population. CCFA endeavours to support projects such as these which contribute to sustainable wildlife conservation.

The project began with the vision of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)  – to help supplement the rhino populations in secure parks in Africa. The three female and two male rhinos ranging in age from two to nine years old are genetically robust and successful breeders – all under the watchful eye of EAZA’s ex situ programme.

The group

The rhino relocated are a cosmopolitan bunch.  Jasiri, Jasmina and Manny were born in Safari Park Dvûr KráIové (Czech Republic); Olmoti comes from Flamingo Land (United Kingdom) and Mandela is from Ree Park Safari (Denmark).

TLC all the way

Moving rhino is a long process and the famous five took part in sensitization exercises for months prior to their trip to minimize the stress of the journey. They were also accompanied by experienced zookeepers from Safari Park Dvûr KráIové as well as veterinarian Dr. Pete Morkel, a world expert in rhino translocations. The team looked after them during the trip and stayed until they were fully introduced to their final destination in Rwanda.

‘If we don’t have conviction, Rhinos face extinction.’

The first anniversary

A year later – the first anniversary of the big move for the famous five.  It was a long journey, the convoy left the Czech Republic on the 23rd June, 2019. Traveling overnight by air, the rhinos arrived in Rwanda early the following morning to be transported by road to Akagera National Park. After the long journey the rhinos settled in well and started the transition to living in Africa.

Shortly after their arrival they were fitted with transmitters to allow close monitoring of their movements as they adapted to their new environment. They were slowly weaned onto a diet of natural vegetation and gradually allowed to roam in increasingly large enclosures. By the end of the year they had been released into a 2 500 hectare area and continue to be monitored daily by a specialized team of rangers.

Possible romance

Currently, the youngest of the group, a female named Jasiri, spends her time with the young male, Mandela.

Both are browsing naturally for themselves and are in very good condition. The other duo, females Jasmina and Olmoti, stay together feeding mostly on natural browse but they have also been supplemented with pellets and lucerne.

Sadly, the older of the males, Manny, died in February. Despite the best veterinarian advice and being provided the same care and conditions as the other rhinos, Manny did not adapt well.  The team was devastated.

Mandela and Jasiri

Olmoti and Jasmina

Jasmina

Mandela and Jasiri

The future

Despite the terrible loss, it’s important to remember and celebrate the success of such a big move.   Establishing a robust population of this critically endangered and highly vulnerable species is a long term project goal. It will be some time before the four are fully released into the wider park, where they will have the chance of meeting the park’s existing rhinos and contributing to the growth and genetic diversity of this important population.

The rhinos and the team that monitors them, have made important advances and the outlook is very positive. The successes of this project are very much down to the collaboration and care of all involved and their dedication to conserving Eastern black rhino. 

Why rhinos matter

Rhinos have been around for years and play a crucial role within their habitats. They are important grazers, consuming large amounts of vegetation which helps shape the African landscape.  This benefits many other species, including elephant and helps keep a healthy balance within the ecosystem.  Rhinos have also been an important source of income from ecotourism.  They are now critically endangered and protection of black rhinos has been increasingly important, they now thrive in protected sanctuaries.

We look forward to updating you in the future about how the relocated rhino group are thriving and hopefully welcoming a calf or two into the family.

If you would like to get involved or make a donation that will assist us to continue to implement community conservation, we  and the rhinos would be forever grateful.  https://www.ccfa.africa/support/recurring-donations/

 

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