Working for water (South Africa)
The Working for Water programme of the South African Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has cleared more than one million hectares of invasive alien plants providing jobs and training for about 30,000 people per annum, of whom 52% are women. South Africa is a water scarce country and invasive plants pose a direct threat to biological diversity and water security.
The Keiskammahoek Working for Water project is one of the poorest areas in South Africa. The workers are selected by a community panel made up of ward councilors, local church leaders, and representatives of local organizations. A requirement is that 60% of the workers must be women, 2% disabled and 38% youth. The selection process targets the poorest of the poor, allowing one person from each unemployed household. The workers are organized into a cooperative at the start of a two year employment period, and men and women are paid equally.
The work provides on-the-job training and skills development and includes environmental education, tree planting, species identification, chainsaw operation and herbicide application. The South African Department of Labour also delivers life-skills training and includes HIV/Aids information, personal finance, and first aid. The scheme also helps develop entrepreneurial skills and alternative jobs for women in ecologically sensitive areas, from the vegetation being cleared, such as the production of charcoal.
For more information see:
Coack, J. (2009): Progressive Realization of Decent Green Jobs for Women: a case study of Keiskammahoek, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Lots of news from the Caribbean regional dialogue process as local groups lead the transition to greener economies