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Creating Opportunities for Youth | Kariega Foundation

Environmental Education 1

Today, 16 June 2022, is Youth Day in South Africa. A poignant day when South African’s pause to honor the youth that lost their lives in the 1976 Soweto uprising and the role youth played in the struggle to liberate South Africa from the apartheid regime.

Today is the 45th anniversary of this National Day of Remembrance, which is being celebrated under the theme: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society.

For the Kariega Foundation, a non-profit trust which aims to deliver on a holistic conservation mandate in partnership with Kariega Game Reserve, every day is youth day!

The Kariega Foundations’, Youth Development Programme is one of the most vibrant and rewarding projects operating within our diverse portfolio of projects that flow from our core motive to protect and preserve our natural world and educate people so that we may reform that which threatens the natural balance. Our vision is to build a conservation community that works collectively to rejuvenate our planet, people and wildlife. 

The objective of the Kariega Foundation’s Youth Programme is closely aligned with the theme for Youth Day 2022 : To invest in the holistic development of our youth; bring about positive social and environmental changes within the community, and ultimately create employment opportunities for them within South Africa’s eco-tourism and wildlife protection sectors. 

Youth Development Programme Structure and Reach 

The structure of any community programme is critical to its success and ultimate reach and impact. 

Since the programme’s inception in 2017, the Kariega Foundation has worked hard to create a sustainable programme structure that is community driven and managed with support from the Kariega Foundation and Kariega Game Reserve.

The structure of the Kariega Foundation’s Youth Development programme rests on the following key components.

1. The identification and employment of community coaches

The Kariega Foundation currently employs four community coaches who actively drive and manage the programme. The Kariega Foundation coaches, Phumla, Ntosh, Nosi and Oza are supported by Khaya, our Youth Development Project Leader and Nomawethu the Kariega Foundation Community Manager

This team of six, motivated, hard working men and women form the backbone of our youth development programme: they are an asset to the Kariega Foundation and the communities they serve. 

Kariega Foundation Community Coaches

2. The Registration of learners

We currently have 230 youth registered in the Kariega Foundation Youth Development Programme. All learners must complete a registration form before joining the programme. The form requires parental consent. The personal development of children and youth is enhanced when coaches, learners and parents all work together. 

Registered players participating in a sports workshop

3. Training of community coaches

It is mandatory for all Kariega Foundation coaches to complete the COOL TO BE ME Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) training. This training is SACE accredited and critical in ensuring that our management and development of each learner in our programme is consistent with social and emotional learning principles and practices. The training is also essential for the personal development of the coach. 

In addition the coaches complete CoolPlay training: a coaching style that seamlessly integrates SEL games and discussions into sports coaching sessions. 

Every opportunity is taken to give our coaches access to skills development in the areas of SEL, Sports coaching and environmental education.

Kariega Foundation netball coaches at an umpiring clinic

4. Mentorship of community coaches 

The mentorship and support of coaches for optimal delivery of the programme and coach well-being is a critical component of success. The Kariega Foundation Education Specialist, Jumbo Williams, supports and mentors each coach through their personal and professional development and holds them accountable to meeting the objectives of the programme.

5. A consistent and vibrant programme structure

Our core programme follows a consistent structure. Our coaches teach SEL during allocated lessons in school time from Monday to Friday. The afternoon programme focuses on sports coaching across netball, soccer and rugby, three times a week and environmental education twice a week. In addition the coaches and project leadership work hard to extend the programme with various enrichment opportunities and community initiatives. The end result is a busy and vibrant programme!

6. Identification of worthy candidates for the Kariega Internship Programme

An important objective of the Youth Development Programme is the identification of top candidates that qualify for selection into the Kariega Game Reserve Internship Programme which aims to expose candidates to job opportunities in hospitality, field guiding, wildlife protection and community work. The onus is then on the candidates to upskill themselves to achieve the minimum requirements needed to qualify as an intern in each department. Once achieved the youth begins their internship in the department to which they are best suited. Success is achieved if an internship year culminates in full time employment at Kariega Game Reserve or within the eco-tourism and wildlife protection industries. 

The image below captured a moment of inspiration that depicts the essence of what we are striving to achieve. In the image members of our environmental education club come across members of the Kariega/Global Conservation Force Mounted Unit while out on a game drive at Kariega Game Reserve. The Mounted Unit, are sponsored by Global Conservation Force, to carry out important rhino monitoring and protection services on Kariega Game Reserve. The Mounted Unit currently employs members of our local community who progressed through the Kariega Foundation Internship Programme to full time employment.

Kariega GCF Mounted Unit Inspiring the future

Each of these components contributes to the overall success of the Youth Development Programme in achieving the set objectives. 

Select Highlights of the Programme

The Kariega Foundation is incredibly proud of what the Youth Development team have achieved to date. We strive for perpetual improvement and continuously assess and address the areas of the programme that need adjustments or additional support or resources. 

These are the highlights of the Kariega Foundation Youth Development programme for the period 1 January to 16 June 2022.

Social and Emotional Learning highlights:

  • 457 learners from two community schools, Nompucuko and Ikamvalesizwe are currently being taught SEL.
  • 83 lessons have been taught to date, covering the SEL competencies of self-awareness, self-regulation, goal (or value) directed behaviour and social awareness.
  • Nine educators from three community schools attended an SEL educator workshop. A follow up workshop was run for 12 additional educators. These workshops inspired educator support for SEL and the allocation of teaching time within the life skills subject for SEL.
  • Educator feedback about the improved behaviour, attitudes and academic progress of learners’ who regularly receive SEL instruction has been encouraging.
  • Club KTM under-17’s attended a Cool To Lead camp at the Kariega Conservation Centre (KCC).

Sports Programme highlights:

  • 230 youth, from clubs KTM, Vintage Girlz and Marsele Girlz, are registered with the Youth Development Sports Programme across netball, soccer and sevens rugby.

Kariega Foundation Netball Players


  • The U11, U13, U15, U17 soccer teams played weekly fixtures against local teams.
  • The U15 and U17’s played in the Marselle Tournament. Both teams reached the finals but lost on penalties.
  • The U19’s played in the Ndlambe Provincial tournament and lost in the semi-finals. Mr. Aron Mokoena (former Bafana Bafana captain) selected a tournament team and nine of our players were amongst those selected. 
  • The KTM senior team is the only team from Ekhupumleni playing in the Ndlambe league.
  • The Kariega Foundation in partnership with Club KTM has secure participation in an Activ8 Football Development Bootcamp for later this year. Registration fees for 108 of our registered players were subsidised by the Kariega Foundation to make attendance possible.


Our sevens rugby programme is still in its infancy phase. There is much enthusiasm from both girls and boys and we hope to grow this programme substantially in the foreseeable future. Highlights so far are:

  • The team played two games against Klopfenstein United. They lost one and won one.
  • The team has been invited to go and play in Alicedale.


  • We have a total number of 96 players that make up four competitive teams: Masele Girls, Junior Vintage Galz Red, Junior Vintage Galz Navy, and Junior Vintage Galz Green. 
  • All our teams are affiliated to Ndlambe Netball Association and are participating in Ndlambe Netball League. The Junior Vintage Red team are currently holding 8th place; Junior Vintage Galz Navy are placed 3rd and Junior Vintage Galz Green are holding 2nd position on the log.
  • Two of our teams travelled to Port Elizabeth in March to participate in the Sarah Baartman Tournament. Both teams won five out of the six games played.
  • Three of our teams competed in the Twizza Regional Tournament and two of them are through to the final rounds to be played later this year.
  • A number of our players attended the Sarah Baartman provincial trials. One player was selected to represent the Sarah Baartman U19 and one player was selected to represent the Sarah Baartman U14 at the National Interprovincial Tournaments.
  • All teams will be competing in the Youth Day Tournament in Grahamstown in June.

Indigenous Games / Tennis

  • A group of our youngsters participated in the Indigenous Games District Games in June. Two of them were selected for the Sarah Baartman team and they will go to East London for Provincial games. 
  • One of the young girls in our sports programme was selected to umpire at a tennis tournament in Port Elizabeth.

Coach Training and Achievements

The Kariega Foundation support and facilitate the opportunity for our coaches to continue their professional coaching development whenever possible. This year:

  • Our netball coaches attended an umpiring workshop held in Grahamstown.
  • One netball coach completed her level one coaching and umpiring qualification and will continue with level two and three.
  • Three additional netball coaches will start their level one training this year.
  • Our community manager, Nomawethu Ngangqu, was selected as Manager of the Senior Sarah Baartman Netball Team. She will be attending the National Tournament in August.
  • The Youth Development Project Leader, Khaya Ngangqu was nominated and invited by the Eastern Cape Sport Academy for a Short Learning Program (SLP) that runs throughout the year.

The Kariega Foundation is incredibly proud of passion, dedication and achievements of all our players and coaches. Social and Emotional Learning and sport are a transformative combination. Together, they bring these famous words spoken by our beloved Nelson Mandela to life:

Sports have the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. Sports is the game of lovers. Nelson Mandela.

Kariega Foundation Sport Programme.JPG

Environmental Education highlights

The Environmental Education Programme is developed and implemented by our education and environmental specialist, Jumbo Williams, with the support of our Youth Development coaches and team.

While sport creates a healthy body and SEL nurtures a resilient and positive mind-set and attitude, environmental education stimulates the mind and shares knowledge that directly impacts living conditions and inspires the will to conserve our precious environment.

Kariega Foundation Environmental Education Club learning to making compost

Jumbo and his team have been busy in 2022. These are the highlights of the Kariega Foundation Environmental Education Programme to date:

  • 107 youth are registered in our Environmental Education Club.
  • Environmental Education lessons and activities take place every Tuesday and Thursday
  • The focus has been on developing and implementing the SOIL programme (Sustainable, Organic and Innovative Living) and establishing the permaculture demonstration garden at the Kariega Conservation Centre (KCC) where members of the EE club enjoy experiential learning.
  • Soil is the foundation of all permaculture and the club has focused on honing the art of making ‘hot compost’ better known as ‘humus’. 
  • Four community gardens have been established by the club members: two in Ekhupumleni and two in Marsele. They are currently being prepared for spring planting.
  • Litter clean-ups in the areas around these gardens provide material to create of eco bricks which are used to make a raised garden that can better contain soil and water.
  • Jumbo has presented 11 workshops to club members on ‘Plastic in our World’, with the objective of creating awareness around the issues and encouraging the youth to come up with and implement solutions in their home environments.
  • Workshops have also been presented on PermaCulture, compost; the water cycle; photosynthesis and the value of animals in our world with an emphasis on bees.
  • Fact sheets were prepared for the coaches to share information with their learners on special days of the year to date, including, World Penguin Day; World Environment Day; World Bee Day and World Ocean Day.
  • 40 learner were treated to game drives on Kariega Game Reserve. A highlight of these game drives was bumping into the Kariega Mounted Unit, funded by Global Conservation Force. Our Mounted Unit riders live in the same communities as the learners and came through the Kariega Internship Programme.
  • A number of learners participated in a marine environment workshop.
  • 22 learners were selected and inducted as Rotary Interactors under Kenton Rotary Club.

Interact Induction

There is nothing more important than the conservation and preservation of our planet. Observing the enthusiasm and passion of the members of the Kariega Foundation Environmental Education Club gives us hope that future generations will have the heart and the knowledge to right the wrongs of their forefathers; treat more lightly on the earth and make choices that are motivated by sustainability and conservation.

Gratitude and Wish Lists

While the successes of this programme are created by our amazing Youth Development team and participants, none of it would be possible with the support of our generous donors to whom we are deeply grateful

A huge thank you to the amazing Ferguson Family who are the our primary donors. The Ferguson have a great love of sport and conservation which is a perfect fit for this programme. They are an incredible force for good in the world and we endeavour to reflect their values within this programme. A heartfelt thank you for your on-going support.

All guests visiting Kariega Game Reserve contribute to this programme through the conservation and community levy. A safari to Kariega Game Reserve is a safari with a purpose and we hope all of our guests feel a sense of pride in what we accomplish together. 

The Kariega Foundation has big dreams for our Youth Development Programme. In the immediate future we would like to achieve the following:

  • Purchase a second 14-16 seater vehicle to support the busy programme.
  • Employ an additional community members into key roles.
  • Extend the programme to include the Alexandria community in 2023.

If you or your organisation would like to offer you support to this programme, please email the Kariega Foundation Director at

South Africa's youth are our future. The Kariega Foundation youth give us hope for a bright future.

Kariega  Youth Dancers