22 October 2019 – As part of the UN Day celebrations, the UN in partnership with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), The Department of Environmental Affairs and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), hosted 100 high-school learners from Thuto Balale, a school from Nellmaphius, to a day of fun and learning. The event was held at the National Botanical Gardens under the theme: ‘Our Planet. Our Future.’
The objective of the event was to celebrate UN Week by engaging, entertaining, encouraging and educating the youth about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially on matters relating to climate change and the environment.
The young group arrived at the event to a warm welcome by Mr. Billy the Bin, Good Green Deeds, who entertained the learners for the day. Mr. Masimba Tafirenyika, Director of the United Nations Information Center (UNIC), encouraged the youth to learn about environmental protection and to take possible action to protect the planet. The learners were reminded that safe guarding our planet and taking climate action to tackle effects of climate change is everyone’s responsibility and that they could play a role in making an impact on climate issues.
The leaners took part in an exciting educational walk through the Botanical Gardens with the Environmental Educational staff and Groen Sebenza facilitator. They learnt about the history of the garden, different plant species and biodiversity.
The event was also attended by partners and representatives from the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Department of Transport and Public Works and the South African National Defense Force, who interacted with the young crowd, providing insight and encouragement.
Lunch was served to the learners, who then learnt more about the SDGs through painting and playing the global goals board game. A feedback panel session was held where the learners gave feedback on what they had learnt for the day and encouraged their peers to make a difference in their communities and environment.
WESSA representative, Natania Botha, who also facilitated the event, thanked the youth for their participation, and closed off the event with chanting of songs in celebration of UN Day and cutting the UN birthday cake, that was donated by Capsicum Culinary Studio.