Unpacking Local Green Economy Career Opportunities in South Africa

The temperate climate of the uMzimvubu District in South Africa, where the abundantly biodiverse African cape meets the Indian Ocean, presents an area vulnerable to climate change impacts such as unpredictable weather patterns, floods, and drought. As a result, communities are faced with unknown and variable environmental stresses, as well as economic and development challenges.

Mobile communal livestock auction off improved rangeland management practices

In order to support communities in their sustainable economic development, the EcoFutures Programme designed awareness campaigns and entrepreneurship opportunities to reinforce the local green economy. These opportunities are particularly aimed at unemployed youth with limited tertiary education access, with a focus on sustainable consumption and production. Some of these careers include ecotourism, biomass chain processing (from alien plant material), renewable energy manufacturing and marketing, and recycling or waste repurposing. This program offers hands-on experience as well as training and work placement in environmental education, education, basic economics, entrepreneurship, personal financial management, and natural resource management. Through these activities, the local community can build resilience to climate change impacts, protect the environment, and improve their well-being through improved and resilient livelihoods.

Since the EcoFutures Programme launched in 2017, programme objectives have expanded in size and scope. In 2018, the EcoFutures Programme approached UNDP with a request for a private course room on Sustainable Consumption and Production for a group of young programme participants. The private course room adapted materials from the Greening Consumption and Production MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), offered by UNDP, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and The Nature Conservancy in May-July 2017.

Through this six-week online course, tailored to the needs of the EcoFutures candidates, participants were introduced to methods for combating environmental degradation and achieving sustainable production of goods, particularly in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Module topics ranged from introducing sustainable consumption to influencing international policy.

Participants of Ecofutures have grown so much in confidence in doing something for themselves, I have no doubt that with little motivation, they can achieve more and inspire more youth as Ecofutures ambassadors    –  Mme Sissie Matela, Environmental and Rural Solutions. 

Ecofutures team with and participants during Dartmouth College Exchange visit in Matatiele, South Africa


The course has provided participants with alternative perspectives on the use and management of resources available within their communities. Their mindset has developed to focus on ‘waste for cash’, exploring alternative energy sources, the efficient use of water as a scarce resource, and heightened awareness of valuable resources available near and within the communities to resist movement to urban areas for employment.

This partnership between the EcoFutures Programme and UNDP contributed to the spread of sustainable consumption thinking, approaches, and strategies; the lessons learned by the communities of uMzimvubu Catchment in South Africa can have far-reaching positive impacts.

Ecofutures has provided me with information and resources to further advance myself through skills development such as computer literacy. Understanding of sustainable use of natural resources and human behaviour impacts on the environment    –  Tanki Sello, Ecofutures Candidate, and now a qualified tour guide through the programme.

If you are interested in learning more about the concept of Sustainable Consumption and Production in the context of national conservation and development planning processes, such as those associated with the CBD’s National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and the SDGs, enroll in the Sustainable Consumption and Production module today.

To discuss the design of  a private course room customized to the needs and objectives of your target audience, contact us at info@learningfornature.org. Private course rooms can be created using any existing content on Learning for Nature, providing your team with an interactive, customizable learning experience.

We look forward to learning with you!

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FranciscoCulendaALLYIDDIOMARY01@ Recent comment authors
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Please, we need this programs here in my country,


More respectful to you for your programmes which brings development to various issues concerned about economy, environment, as well as sustainability to various projects in our countries.