Over 50 tourism entrepreneurs offering accommodation and meals in communities across South Africa and 15 Children from the Dreamcatcher Foundation Community and Social development programme have been involved in a ground breaking waste awareness project called “Waste: Shamina – Shawena - Waste: It’s Mine – It’s Yours”.
The women and men who become empowered with skills and knowledge on how to manage waste better where they live and provide a tourism service, are geared to play an important role in the management of waste emanating from their communities. They will help increase awareness of waste issues throughout the community while also setting an example for others in tourism to follow.The unique waste awareness project has been co-developed by Anthea Rossouw of ARA UK, and founder of the Dreamcatcher Foundation in South Africa, and Dr Ryan Woodard, waste expert and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom.
The Dreamcatcher Foundation has played an important role supporting and developing micro tourism entrepreneurs for over 2 decades. The aim of the Foundation is to alleviate poverty, create jobs and transform the tourism industry to one where the locals at community level benefit and grow through tourism business access. Since the project began, a significant number [R1] of visitors have stayed in community homestays. Dreamcatcher is supported by the CBI in The Netherlands and is an accredited member of the Global Community Based Tourist Network, of which the founder of Dreamcatcher, Anthea Rossouw is the official spokesperson.
The “Waste: Shamina – Shawena - Waste: It’s Mine – It’s Yours” project,is aimed at creating a greater understanding of the key issues surrounding the management of waste from both a public health and environmental perspective at community level. A series of participative and outcomes based workshops, geared to the local circumstances where they live. Workshops in the first phase, were held in 2010 with the tourism and community entrepreneurs. The aspiring community green champions, from a diversity of cultures have shared ideas around a challenge common to communities the world over: that of waste prevention and reducing the impact it has on their daily lives. In a further phase (two), workshops are being held in 2011 funded by The Dutch Kingdom. A third phase of the project is to include children and youth and empower them to become waste champions where they live, enthusing family and peers.
The project also aims to improve the infrastructure for managing waste at a local level and provide a localised solution for food waste that if successful, will provide compost to help the community based tourism entrepreneurs to grow their own food. Entrepreneurs are currently trialling the Green Johanna composting unit, the first in South Africa.
These are designed to manage all food waste and produce good quality compost. The Dreamcatcher Foundation has also been working with entrepreneurs to develop a waste awareness communications campaign.The initiative will help meet the 2000 Millennium Charter goals and Objectives of the 2002 World Conference on Responsible Tourism. The South African Government published their National Waste Management Strategy in 2010. The strategy highlights the need for increased advocacy, education and awareness of waste issues amongst all stakeholders including the public at large, the three spheres of government and the private sector.
In time, it is anticipated that there may be interest to roll out the “Waste: Shamina – Shawena - Waste: It’s Mine – It’s Yours” model across communities and will include the tourism and small business sector in South Africa, in collaboration with the authorities at local level.