On 19 November, the ChangeMakers Hub ‘Impact Accelerator Programme’ was launched. In partnership with Cederberg Municipality, it is a pilot changemaking project that addresses multiple sustainable development goals. Held at Driehoek Garden in Clanwilliam – the Clanwilliam Legacy Garden, this project’s first initiative, was unveiled.

Key to this project will be the use of EcoBricks to build the Legacy Garden benches – proudly made by Clanwilliam residents and businesses via the ‘Clanwilliam EcoBricks Challenge’. The challenge calls for all residents to provide their plastic waste in a compacted format to ChangeMakers Hub. With 20,000 EcoBricks needed to build the benches, this will see the repurposing of no less than 40,000 litres of compacted plastic. Says Michelle Korevaar, founder of ChangeMakers Hub: “The plan is straightforward. We encourage citizens to collect and turn harmful plastic waste into EcoBricks. However, the impact and benefit are more far-reaching than just that. Very importantly it is an inclusive opportunity to build something for the community by the community. This project, as it progresses will see these EcoBricks repurposed into various initiatives and ‘buildings’ around the area.”

The ‘first’ of its kind, Korevaar and her team also believe this locally created Legacy Garden will be a landmark and place of interest thereby creating additional tourism opportunities and in so doing, increase revenue for the town. “Not only will the garden be a constant reminder of the power of collective action – it will also act as a mini open-air auditorium where local artists and craftsmen, et al. can showcase their talents,” says Korevaar.

“As a municipality we mustn’t fail to forget that we form part of the global community and we need to have our voice heard in the fight towards a healthier ecosystem that serves humanity,” says Acting Municipal Manager Andries Titus. “We are in full support of not only the project itself but in particular the opportunities it unlocks such as skills development, employment, tourism sector development and the beautification of our towns.”

With its official launch scheduled for 5 June 2022 – ‘World Environmental Day’, the Clanwilliam Legacy Garden will include a legacy wall and a legacy pathway. Any individual, organisation or business can purchase their own brick, inscribed with a name or message, to be part of this pathway – a reminder to all of the footprint we leave on this earth through our actions. With the devastation of Covid-19 still rife, it will also provide an opportunity to pay tribute to those who fell victim to a time in history we will never forget.

“This is something our local communities can be proud of and the Legacy Garden will serve as a monument for days to come,” says Titus.

“As a local municipality we are proud of the involvement of our locals. Not only for participating in this broad recycling initiative, but also for taking hands in building a better Cederberg region,” says Bradley Zass, tourism development officer.

“Clanwilliam like many rural towns, has been heavily impacted by the long drought, Covid-19 and many other societal factors,” says Korevaar. “Our long-term goal is for this initiative to be the beginning of a transformation process within the area, with jobs being created while cleaning and greening the area. A ripple effect of positive actions to aid in redefining the circular economy of a small rural town. Skills transfer to develop crafters will be taking place, empowering them to make their own upcycled waste products to sell for income. And then – to replicate the success of this initiative in other vulnerable communities across South Africa. We need to work together for solutions. This type of multi-faceted project takes into consideration both sustainability as well as economic impact.”

Businesses and individuals outside of Clanwilliam can also get involved. As a registered NPO, Changemakers Hub will provide all donations with a Section 18a tax deductible certificate and acknowledgement will also be made on the Legacy Wall.

“There are numerous requirements to ensure the success and sustainability of this project,” continues Korevaar. “As a non-profit organisation we rely on sponsors and donors, but for this project we are calling for partners that understand the long-term goals of this initiative to assist with resources.”

The various areas that require funding or partnership are:

  • EcoBrick Training: workshops for everyone interested in learning how to make EcoBricks (citizens, businesses, government workers, farmers and more).
  • Repurposing of non-recyclable plastics into EcoBricks.
  • Building of the Clanwilliam Legacy Garden: resources required and repurposed waste as well as wages for some of the unemployed in the area who will be commissioned to help erect the garden, together with the necessary tools.
  • Plastic collection and sorting into recycling and non-recyclable plastics.
  • Recycling bin depots.
  • Upcycling the preparation of non-recyclable materials into repurposed resources for use in the next phase (craft workshops).

For more information on the ‘Clanwilliam Legacy Garden’ and ChangeMakers Hub ‘Accelerator Programmes’, or www.changemakers.org.

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