Sustaining the Wild Coast's (SWC) focus is on traditional rural communities living along Pondoland's Wild Coast, in the northern coastal regions of the former Transkei. We work with people resident in the area to enhance local leadership ability, skills, knowledge and entrepreneurial capacity so that local communities may have a healthy capability to:-
Make informed decisions about the impacts of developments that affect their future and the future of this unique region.
- become active participants in creating their own future and in improving their livelihoods prospects.
- become aware of the value of maintaining their unique cultural and ecological heritage.
SWC focuses on finding sustainable development solutions that local people feel will improve their livelihood prospects, while respecting local cultural traditions and maintaining the wealth of natural biodiversity and unique "sense of place" that the Wild Coast is re-known for.
Background to the Pondoland Wild Coast
The Pondoland "Wild Coast" forms part of the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Global Biodiversity Hotspot. It is an area that is globally re-known for its rich wealth of plant endemism, with numerous plant species occurring here that are found no-where else in the world.
Socio-economically, the area has high levels of poverty and high unemployment rates. Schools have very poor facilities, with 26% of the population having no formal schooling and only 2% having passed Grade 12. Local infrastructure is poor.
Traditional amaMPondo culture is an agrarian based culture. Many communities retain deep ancestral roots to the land. They consider the landscape to be very significant to their sense of identity. High reliance on natural resources means a healthy ecology is essential to their well-being.
The Innovation's Programme (IP) is a skills development, mentorship, leadership and entrepreneurial development programme. Participants are elected by participating villages from various interest groups within each village. Elected participants outline issues and concerns affecting each respective village. An extensive series of workshops is custom designed to help participants engage constructively with the issues affecting each village. As part of the programme, participants are introduced to a network of other organisations that are able to assist with capacity building in particular areas.
Advocacy. SWC helps Wild Coast communities with advocacy, legal representation and specialist advice where necessary. Two recent developments causing much concern for local people are a proposal to open cast mine in the area, and the proposed routing of a tolled highway, a new extension to the existing N2, through the region. SWC's dedicated Too Great a Toll fund is helping local tribal authorities with resources to legally challenge the government's approval of the N2 "Wild Coast" tolled highway over the lack of proper consultation and other serious deficiencies in the N2 proposals Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Ingquangi is a tutorial programme for matric students in Maths, Science and English. It is run every July holiday at Wild Coast schools by Master's students from the Universities of Cape Town and Wits.
The Greening Project . This series of projects is aimed at skilling local residents and schools in permaculture cultivation methods, knowledge of indigenous plants, establishing indigenous plant nurseries and food gardens, and addressing and reversing environmental degradation.
Eco-tourism Development. SWC supports a number of eco-tourism development initiatives along the Wild Coast. This includes training hiking guides, establishing guided hikes, helping local people set up community based ?homestays? and networking with other eco-tourism development organisations to promote responsible eco-tourism.
Research. SWC has initiated various research projects around natural resource use, local cultural practices and the connections between these, so that more informed decision making about the area can take place. Research projects include a bio-cultural mapping project, proposals for an All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI), research into traditional medicines and plant use, and research into traditional land use practices.
Media relations. SWC is continuously engaged in promoting articles and news reports that highlight issues and concerns affecting the Wild Coast and its residents, and in assisting and encouraging journalists, writers and film-makers to provide in-depth and well-informed coverage of topics concerning the area.
Article courtesy of Awesome SA.