In July 1997, following a SADC Council of Ministers decision, the SADC Regional EE Centre was established at the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, Howick, South Africa. The Centre has become a significant resource for environmental educators in the region. Each year the centre hosts EE practitioners from the SADC region and beyond, and staff are frequently asked to support initiatives in the SADC region. This collaboration with environmental education practitioners in other countries involves work on curriculum development, policy development, materials production, research initiatives and national workshops.
In March 1998 the Regional EE Centre moved into expanded office premises. The building of these offices was made possible through generous funding from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism ( South Africa ). This office space was designed to enable Centre staff and visiting EE practitioners to work together with the wide variety of resources now housed in individual "country cupboards" at the centre. A computer room was built in June 2003 for visitors attending courses and training activities at the Centre. The computer room is equipped with 12 computers, a printer and access to the Internet.
The location of the Regional EE Centre has enabled visitors to take advantage of the diverse activities taking place at the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve and Education Centre, in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. The reserve has been used for environmental education since the early 1970s and is home to a number of important initiatives including:
- Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) National Office. WESSA is the implementing agent of the SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme. Founded in 1926, WESSA is the oldest and largest non-governmental, membership based environmental organisation in South Africa.
- The Umgeni Valley Project. Established in 1973, about 13,000 school children and teachers attend courses here each year. These courses include environmental educator courses, holiday courses (wildlife adventure trails and conservation careers courses).
- Share-Net. Established in 1988 this collaborative network supports the development of relevant learning support materials in support of environmental education processes. Over 100 different learning support materials are currently available.
- Gold Fields EE Centre. A low-cost conference centre with dormitory accommodation, self-contained chalets and meeting rooms for school, community and business groups.
The SADC Regional EE Centre is a resource for all environmental educators in the region and you are encouraged to visit it at any time.
For more information on the Regional EE Centre contact us