Education: Khanyisa Environmental Education Programme, a tried and tested model.

"Treat the earth well. We do not inherit it from our parents.
It is lent to us by our children."
African Proverb.

" An education that attends to the 'web of life' is attuned to the need for an Earth justice in tandem with social justice concerns. There can be no sustainable human justice that is not linked to Earth justice."



The most critical environmental issue for the ecologically sensitive Southern Cape region, known as the Garden Route, is the pressure for economic development which is currently taking the form of the construction of large inappropriate structures along the coast purporting to meet tourism related needs. Whereas most of the towns in the region now have active environmental forums challenging inappropriate proposals as they come forward, what is completely lacking is any form of basic environmental education. The Garden Route Trust for Community Development and the Environment began to address this need. Between May 2000 and October 2001, a series of pilot training's were conducted with groups of senior and primary students from local schools. Teachers have attended as observer/assistants and are in the process of writing formal reports on their experience of the training.


The broad purpose of Khanyisa is to awaken in every student an awareness that our long-term survival on planet Earth depends upon us becoming conscious and pro-active custodians of the natural environment that supports and sustains us.The emerging generation of young leaders needs to be equipped with the facts of the ecological deterioration taking place and the long term implications on various levels, most notably the possible demise of the tourism industry if the development process is not harnessed in a way which will safeguard the intrinsic natural beauty and ecological integrity of the area. At the same time they need to be encouraged to participate in the development of a sound new vision for the area based upon an understanding of the principles of sustainability.The Garden Route Trust through the Khanyisa Programme seeks to address this need by providing an intensive 10 day training with the aim of raising awareness of the need to preserve our natural and cultural heritage, while encouraging a gentle development of the Garden Route that allows for this.


Khanyisa (Xhosa) means “Ignite the light!”.
KEEP (Acronym for Khanyisa Environmental Education Programme) is defined as follows: (to) conserve, maintain, preserve, retain, care for, defend, safeguard, maintain, manage, nourish, nurture, protect, shelter, tend, shield, foster, provide for, support, sustain, honour, respect, celebrate.

These 22 simple touchstones provide the ethical framework for this programme. They are relevant to both the way we relate to our natural heritage and with one another as human beings. The students and teachers experience living together as a small cocooned community for the entire ten day duration of the training. Through their interaction with facilitators and with the natural environment, encountered in different ways each day, they are continually exposed to new possibilities, perspectives and opportunities, designed to inspire in them clear vocational choices. The question of our human response to the global ecological crisis forms the backdrop to discussions about our own social, political and environmental issues within the local context.

The Programme is designed, coordinated and directed by Jenny Lawrence, Founder of the Garden Route Trust for Community Development and the Environment, in close consultation and cooperation with various specialist consultants employed to lead different facets of the training.


The Programme is run at Khoinania, a small farm on the boundary of the Tsitsikamma National Park, an open air classroom, offering a wide range of experiential learning opportunities. These include mapped out coastal hiking trails through pristine indigenous forests, over hills of fynbos, along river estuaries leading down to Nature’s Valley beach; also walks through state and private land infested with alien vegetation, commercial forests and visits to farms, guest lodges, cottage industries and various other heavy and light industrial sites all within a 10 kilometer radius.


1. Orientation/ Life Purpose/ Life Skills/ Vision Building / Drama/ Art and Crafts
2. Wilderness Appreciation / Nature Conservation/ Interspecies Communication
3. Eco Tourism/ Entrepreneurship/ the Question of Sustainability
4. Permaculture Design/ EcoCircle Cultivation/ Informal Vegetable Gardening
5. Primary Health Care /Alcoholism / TB / HIV / AIDS Awareness


There is a need to establish a sustainable source of funding for this programme. An American organisation by the name of CoreLight generously sponsored the pilot training's. The success of the programme has led to requests from many of the other local schools. There is a recognised need for appropriate follow-up for groups who have completed the Ten Day Training.

This plan with a comprehensive budget is currently being prepared and will be presented to various corporate funders as soon as possible. We are aware of the time lag that is inevitable in such a process.

Your support in the interim, whether financial or otherwise, would be greatly appreciated. Please forward this document to any individual or representatives of other organisations who may be in a position to assist. Thank you! J.L.

Pakamisani Primary School

The Venue for the Programme: The Log Cabin at Khoinania

Group discussions in the Log Cabin

Earlier Training - Art in the Forest

Culture, Drum & Dance Evening in the Log Cabin

Permaculture Lesson in the Gardening Area

Outing at Nature's Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park

Lesson on Trees in the Indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest

Lesson at the Local Wood Mill









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