Eastern Cape confirms support for landmark greening project

OCTOBER 24, 2015

The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism confirmed that it will continue to support a landmark greening project at a local child and youth care centre for a further three years.

MEC Sakhumzi Somyo made the announcement today when he, together with the Lower Saxony Deputy Prime Minister Stefan Wenzel, launched the project at the 81-year old East London Child and Youth Care Centre.

It’s the culmination of a year-long partnership between the two provinces to get the Beacon Bay centre’s greening project up and running.
Wenzel, who is in the country as part of a bigger delegation to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Eastern Cape and Lower Saxony twinning agreement, played a key role in securing his government’s initial financial support for the project.

This project, which focuses on the Beacon Bay home of the East London Child and Youth Care Centre, also received inputs from the German cooperation and development agency, GIZ.

While the overall centre caters for the needs of 105 children on two campuses, the Beacon Bay home provides a safe environment for 20 youngsters, aged 2 to 12 years old, who have suffered abuse and neglect.

The centre also runs a HIV/Aids outreach programme which cares for 856 children and their families who are infected or/and affected by HIV/Aids. This outreach programme is run from both sites so “this project will have a positive effect on the sustainability of the centre’s programmes, explains Somyo.

The project, which is reducing the centre’s energy consumption, includes generating renewable energy from kitchen and garden waste through a bio-digester which was installed in the garden. The bio-digester converts kitchen waste into cooking gas and generates nutrient rich overflow water. This water, supplemented by harvested rainwater, feeds the centre’s food gardens. Two solar water geysers provide free hot water.

“The net effect of these initiatives is improving the lives of the children in this centre,” says Somyo.

He adds that it is heart-warming that the project had triggered a domino effect by multiplying donations and commitments. These included the supply of paint and painting services, to basic items for the children and even the supply of kitchen waste for the bio-digester.

“Who would have thought that donating waste was a praiseworthy thing to do?” he says.

Somyo is optimistic about the project and says that as part of the Department’s three-year commitment, it will be working with young students with a view to supporting replication elsewhere in the province and in particular, in the province’s rural areas.

Other organisations which are also supporting the initiative include ASC Göttingen, the East London IDZ, Ikhwezi Solar, Inca, the Border Kei Chamber of Business, Burmeisters, Finishes of Nature, Blue Lagoon Hotel, and Bellgrove and Snell, amongst others.