Want to join the ranks of iconic women?

Aug 9, 2016Education and Awareness, Mentorship and Training0 comments

Venus Willendorf

by Dr Tracey Phillips – CEO Gondwana Alive 

Through the ages women have been synonymous with sustaining and giving life.


The Venus of Willendorf, now known in academia as the Woman of Willendorf, is an 11.1-centimetre (4.4 in) high statuette of a female figure estimated to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE.

The Earth and our Children are in trouble now and I call upon all Women everywhere to partner with the Gondwana Alive women in turning this situation around.



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Our Challenge

Shockingly, ours may be the last generation to catch food from our oceans.

Equally shocking is that 40% of the world’s youth labour force are unemployed, and youth unemployment is as high 60% in developing countries like South Africa.

On a planet designed to provide us with all we need to thrive, not only has humanity created a world where one needs a job to survive, we have also created a world where food is running out.

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Is that the legacy we want to leave our children?

Jane GoodallJane Goodall is one iconic woman who doesn’t think so. She recognises that we are endangering the future of life on Earth and said that the “Gondwana Alive project calls us to take action before it is utterly too late.”

Jane Goodall pioneered the study of chimpanzee behaviour with no more than a notepad and pair of binoculars. Today The Jane Goodall Foundation’s Roots & Shoots environmental and humanitarian youth programme helps nearly 150 000 members in 120 countries.  However, you don’t have to be a “quintessential environmentalist turned celebrity” like Jane Goodall to turn this situation around.

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What you need is heart.

Lwandle1 500x375Observing that hunger is one of the causes of low performance Mrs Nxawe took it upon herself to facilitate a gardening training project at Lwandle Primary School and at other neighbouring schools and community crèches around Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa.

“The garden has helped us in so many ways: feeding hundreds of learners every day, creating employment for the community. Facilitating, natural science learning lessons and demonstrations, educating our learners about the importance of preservation and restoration of nature as well as exposing our learners to other environmental careers. It has also afforded us with an opportunity to see other birds species that we have never seen before,’’ said Mrs Nxawe.

Like Jane Goodall, Mrs Nxawe is truly an iconic woman to her community. You can read about many other iconic women and youth, like Lufefe the Spinach King, on our Blog.

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Lessons Learned

For over 20 years I have worked with women and youth in desperate situations – where resources have run out and livelihoods and traditions are being lost, or where few livelihood options exist at all. It has been both an enormously challenging and hopeful path to walk. During this time I have participated in many fantastic projects to try and create livelihoods through sustainable use and restoration of natural resources. Good examples include Gondwana Alive’s Coastal Steward project, the Biosphere Reserve Trails project, participation in the national Groen Sebenza (Green Jobs) mentorship project, and support of the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy’s indigenous forest rehabilitation, trails and Silver Mountain Music projects.

These projects have positive impacts on lives and ecosystems in the short-term. The challenge is they are difficult to sustain and we need to reach so many more people and places. If I look around at the situation today I see a deteriorating ecological, social and economic situation. At the same time socio-ecological awareness has never been higher (at least in my life time), and our creative and technological abilities are demonstrably incredible when consciously applied. I believe this creates an opportunity we have not had before, to substantively scale-up the positive impacts of community-based initiatives in a cost-effective manner.

Partner with us in turning the situation around

Gondwana Alive’s #GrowGreenYouth project makes use of today’s communications technology to:

  • Share lessons from the past 25 years.
  • Instil environmental knowledge and developmental skills in youth.
  • Market and link the young job seeker with potential employers.
  • Support their skills and career development through distance mentorship.

With this approach I believe we can reach and empower thousands more women and youth than we have been able to do in the past.

We have contributed nearly R400 000 toward this initiative. We need to raise an additional R400000, minimum R300 000 to complete the first phase of the project – a process that will empower at least 500 youth in the next 6 months.

Contributions will be used to cover the following costs:

  • Invite youth to list their profile and services on our Green Directory – R100 per listing
  • Mentor youth in optimizing their profile and services on our Green Directory – R200 per youth
  • Develop and implement campaigns to promote their services to potential employers – 300 per youth

In celebration of #WomensDay in South Africa (9 August) and #InternationalYouthDay2015 (13 August) please partner with the Gondwana Alive women by contributing to our effort to empower youth and heal our planet.

Every R100 contributed can make a big difference in the life of a young environmental practitioner.

GA Women Team