Since 2011 the Garden Route District Municipality’s District Air Quality Unit embarked on air quality awareness relating to clean fires, called the Garden Route Clean Fire Campaign.
Ongoing projects were identified due to life-threatening air quality incidents in especially informal settlements, caused by fires used for household purposes, such as cooking and heating. Awareness sessions advanced whereby Peers are trained as educators to teach the community on proper fire making methods and the dangers of air pollution.
Recently, the awareness sessions further extended to a level whereby the Department of Education allowed the Air Quality Project to be incorporated into the curriculum of Grade 3 learners in the Garden Route. This approach ensures that the project reach all grade three learners, making a major impact in raising awareness about air quality.
Following a tender process for the development of study material and the actual roll-out and training of the Grade 3 teachers, the tender for three years was awarded to Mingcele Africa.
During the week of 13 to 17 May 2019, the roll-out of the Clean Fires Programme commenced in the Klein Karoo (Oudtshoorn and Kannaland) region, as this is a significant target group, since most of these communities use wood for heating purposes during the cold winter months.
Mingcele arranged with the Department Education to reach all Primary Schools in the Klein Karoo and Kannaland region. Schools in the following towns were reached: Oudtshoorn, De Rust, Dysselsdorp, Avontuur, Haarlem, Calitzdorp, Uniondale and Ladismith. A blended learning approach was followed. Blended learning is the use of face-to-face interaction, physical resources, eLearning, eResources, collaboration (WhatsApp) and social media platforms. Thirty-seven (37) schools were individually visited, interacting with teachers took place and study material was handed over to seventy two (72) grade three teachers. The schools form part of the Eden-Karoo Education District, circuit 5 and 6.
The curriculum of the programme covers the following aspects of Air Pollution, namely:
- What is air pollution (grade 3 Curriculum and Assessment Policy)
- Types of pollutions (grade 3 Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements)
- Air pollution and my family
- Pollution and the environment
- Pollution and people
Teachers received the Garden Route District Municipality Grade 3 Pollution Pack, as well as a face-to-face overview of the Programme and the eLearning platform by the Mingcele Africa team. The final steps of the programme will include:
- WhatsApp week for the next two months until pollution implementation starts according to CAPS.
- eCourse enrolment by grade three teachers.
- Completion of eCourse by grade three teachers.
- Receiving of Pollution Course certificate.
This is a unique programme and known to be the first of its kind for raising air pollution awareness in South Africa. By reaching 72 Grade 3 educators with an average classroom of 35 learners which mean 2520 learners are reached. The learners on the other hand will educate their respective families as part of the programme, with a cumulative effect to reach at least 12 600 community members.
As part of the programme, teachers have to submit a portfolio of evidence, ensuring that there is control over the project and constant evaluation of the successful completion of the Clean Fire pollution programme. The programme is also enrolled as a continuous Development Activity (CPD) for teachers and they will receive CPD credits for the project. In the months to come, the programme will be further rolled out to ultimately reach all schools in the Garden Route district.