MMAEP: Meaningful Change in the Midlands

N3TC MMAEP teachers ed128 may

Educators Jabu Ngcobo, Gladys Ntshangase, Thenjiwe Ngcobo, Joan Quayle and student Nkulu Mdladla collect their WESSA Eco-Schools Platinum Awards from Bridget Ringdahl. Pic: Supplied

The Midlands Meander Association Education Project (MMAEP) was established in 2005, with funding from N3 Toll Concession, to support meaningful environmental education. The programme is now well known for its colour and vibrancy with about 4 500 learners and educators benefitting and has grown organically to meet specific educational needs of the rural and peri-urban schools in the Midlands.

Over the years MMAEP has built solid relationships with dedicated educators in the region and observed meaningful change taking place spontaneously. As a result of Pat McKrill’s inspiring talks on snakes at schools, MMAEP now receive phone calls asking “Please remove a snake from our classroom”. In the past these snakes would have simply been murdered. Now schools understand the ecological value and importance of snakes, and the Bugs are thrilled!

A particular focus is on educator support and development. Judith Mbatha, of Sifisesihle Primary, who put a lot of effort and love into the school library set up by MMAEP, was awarded a scholarship to study for a ‘Teacher’s Specialization Certificate in Librarianship’ through University of KZN. Antonia Mkhabela, acting principal of Shea O’Connor Combined School, is doing her Masters in Environmental Education through Rhodes University. She claims she was inspired by the Bugs and has used the MMAEP as a research topic for her studies. Antonia sets a great example for the environmental activists in the Shea O’Connor Eco-Committee and a new group the Stars of Tomorrow have formed recently to focus on social issues in the area. Nathi Majola, principal of Carshalton Primary School has just returned from seven months in India and Germany learning about Sustainable Education, full of enthusiasm for sharing his new knowledge. Thengiwe Ncgobo, from Corrie Lynn Primary, assists MMAEP in running teacher development workshops.

These educators all share their valuable experiences with other schools, particularly those also registered in the WESSA Eco-Schools programme. MMAEP celebrate this because they have joined a cutting edge team of people in South Africa, who are willing to make positive change happen. There is a lot of GOOD meaningful change taking place around us. All you have to do is look. See www.mmaep.co.za

Supplied by Midlands Meander Association Education Project