Hessequa communities to benefit from Clean Fires Campaign

The Eden District Municipality’s District Air Quality Unit recently embarked on an air quality project, namely the Eden Clean Fire Campaign. The project was identified due to poor air quality in especially the informal settlements, caused by fires used for household purposes such as cooking and heating.

On the 2nd day of making an environmental friendly stove.
On the 2nd day of making an environmental friendly stove.

The Peer educational project was partially funded by prize money that Eden won for the 2013/2014 Greenest Town competition sponsored by the Western Cape Government as well as by the Eden District Municipality and the Hessequa Municipality.

One of the Peer educators demonstrating a clean fire on the 2nd day of training
One of the Peer educators demonstrating a clean fire on the 2nd day of training

The Peer Education Project was first launched in the Klein Karoo in 2014, but was further rolled out in collaboration with the Hessequa Municipality in Albertinia and Riversdale during the week of 13-17 April 2015. The project entailed the selection of peer educators by the Hessequa Municipality’s Environmental Services Section. Twenty (20) Peer educators were recruited through the selection process.

The Peer educators sharing a moment with the project team
The Peer educators sharing a moment with the project team

The service provider, SA Teacher, was appointed to educate peer educators on air pollution, the health effects thereof and how the communities that are largely dependent on fires for household purposes, can reduce the effects of fires on the environment and their health.

The course was rolled out over a two (2) day period. The course material was compiled by the service provider, in collaboration with Eden’s Air Quality Unit.

On day 1 of the course, the educational material that was presented mainly focused on the basics of air pollution and how to effectively communicate and educate other members of their communities. At the end of day 1, the peer educators presented to the rest what they have learnt.

Day 2 involved a practical session whereby the peer educators were requested to make a “clean” fire. They also had to construct a stove made from recyclable material which requires less fuel and in turn reduces smoke emissions. The stoves were then used by each peer educator to prepare a meal.

At the end of the course, a certificate of attendance was issued to each participant as well as a backpack that is fully equipped with all the necessary hardware and educational material to do physical demonstrations to others members of their communities.

According to Eden’s Manager for Air Quality, Dr Johann Schoeman, “Each peer educator must educate at least 50 people within a two month period, meaning, a thousand (1000) people will be reached – making a significant impact on air quality education and awareness in the Eden region.”

Each peer educator must compile a portfolio of evidence (photos, registers, etc.), which must be submitted online and will be evaluated by Eden District Municipality and SA Teacher. “This is necessary to monitor the progress of the project,” Dr Schoeman further said.

Eden District Municipality envisages to roll-out the project to the rest of the Eden communities in the near future.

For any further information on the project, please contact Dr Johann Schoeman and Mr Douglas Baartman at: jschoeman@edendm.co.za or 044 690006.

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