EQUIPPING YOUTH THROUGH OPERATION PHAKISA
22 December 2023
iSimangaliso Wetland Park, working concurrently with the department of Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) have trained about 20 Artisans and 60 life guards through iSimangaliso’s Training and Capacity building under Operation Phakisa programmes. This training programme is among several integrated rural development programmes implemented by the iSimangaliso to assist in developing communities living in and adjacent to the Park. It is also to contribute towards the alleviation of poverty in these communities by instilling lifetime tools that enables youth to access job markets and or start up their own small businesses.
This intervention provides the opportunity for iSimangaliso to implement an Artisan Upskilling Programme for about 60 youth. The objective is to empower and train groups of unemployed youth from the neighbouring communities at Sodwana Bay and the Coastal Forest Reserve (CFR) section. The youth / beneficiaries on this programme will be trained up to NQF level 2. Artisans were also skilled with First Aid level 1, Health and Safety, Building- brick laying and plastering, Carpentry, Welding, Panting and Electrical. The duration of these courses was a minimum of 2 weeks. These trainings took place at various sections around iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The areas of traditional leadership where these projects were being implemented include Tembe, Mkhuze, Sodwana, Makhasa, Mfekayi, Hluhluwe, St Lucia and Sokhulu.
The Lifeguard programme trained 20 lifeguards from the local communities who are now equipped to get employed as lifeguards within the Park. This will assist in curbing drowning incidents within the Park and especially during peak season. Those who trained as life guards are skilled with Swimming and lifeguarding. One of the trainees, Nomfundo Mkhize speaking on her participation on the programme said “we appreciate the opportunity given to take part on this programme. ‘We have trained and we are now waiting for our certificates so that we can start applying for employment”. Representatives of People and Parks applauded iSimangaliso and registered their appreciation of the opportunities and initiatives undertaken by iSimangaliso and DFFE in order to assist in developing communities neighbouring iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The programme is seen as a useful tool which will equip the youth with skills to assist them take up employment opportunities”.
The iSimangaliso training and skills development programmes are aimed at addressing the skill gaps in communities living in and around the Park. iSimangaliso’s Socio, Economic, Environment and the Development Manager, Mr Khumalo shared his Educational journey with the attendees to motivate the youth that attended these trainings. He also acknowledged the difficulties encountered during the delivery of the Operation Phakisa programme and registered his appreciation of patience shown by the trainees which had lead to the programme’s success.
The programmes resonates well with iSimangaliso’s mission which is to protect, conserve and present its world heritage values for current and future generations whilst benefiting communities living in and adjacent to the Park by facilitating optimal tourism and related development.