The first YES programme was hosted by the City of Cape Town as part of the Cape Metropolitan Festival of the Environment in 1999 and was attended by 2,000 learners. Since then, it has developed into one of the largest EE programmes in South Africa, with more than 30,000 learners attending in 2006. To date, YES has been linked annually with World Environment Week in June of each year.
Building on these successes and addressing the need to expand EE initiatives across the city, a new ‘year-long’ YES programme was established. YES has now been expanded to include many of the commemorative days and weeks on the annual calendar: Wetlands Day, Invasive Alien Species Week, Biodiversity Week, World Environment Day, Climate Change and Energy Week, International Coastal Clean-up Day, Heritage Week, National Marine Week, World AIDS Day and International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Also falling under the YES banner are YES EduNet (a network that aims to empower and capacitate educators about environmental issues); the The Orbes Media Careers Fair; the Cape Town Teaching Institute’s EE Course for teachers; the Youth, Urban Nature and GIS project; the Blue Flag Beach EE Programme; and Coastal Cleanup Day. Environmental education facilities and programmes are also offered at several of the City’s nature reserves and sites, where school groups can book to visit.
Working closely with a host of internal and external partners across the city, the YES team is dedicated to making the programme more accessible to schools, learners and educators.
As South Africa is facing enormous environmental challenges, both now and in the years ahead, YES is the perfect vehicle through which our city’s youth can gain knowledge, hands-on skills and respect for their environment. As is well known, the youth of today will have to make crucial environmental and developmental choices in the future and the goal of YES is to equip them to make these choices in an informed and wise manner.
Over the years the City has built sustainable relationships to not only secure the future of YES, but to reach even more learners by providing government departments, businesses, the private sector, and NGOs and CBOs with a platform to present their environmental programmes to learners in a fun and interactive educational environment. The YES programme has the full support of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
YES is also seen by the City as a necessary measure to support the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
YES Programme Vision
“Through Environmental Education we will form partnerships towards conserving, protecting, nurturing and caring for our environment and will invoke in the youth community a sense of environmental pride and responsibility that promotes environmentally sustainable lifestyles, behaviour and actions.”
YES Programme Objectives
- To show the City of Cape Town’s commitment to the environmental education of its youth
- To provide a platform for organisations to present their environmental programmes to school learners
- To provide a platform for City line function departments to work together for a better environment
- To expose the potential of the City’s over 30 natural sites and areas
- To expose as many school learners as possible to environmental issues
- To provide a diverse and varied programme of activities representing Cape Town’s environments
- To promote YES EduNet
- To guarantee a quality programme through a formal evaluation process
- To build sustainable partnerships to secure the future of the YES programme
- To promote Eco-Schools
- To support the Western Cape Education Department’s new revised curriculum statements
- To support the City’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP), Integrated Metropolitan Environmental Policy (IMEP) vision and Environmental Education and Training (EE & T) Strategy.