Description: The Cape Flats Nature project was started in July 2002 in an effort to protect the biodiversity area within the Cape Flats area of Cape Town. The project was started in partnership with the City of Cape Town, the South African National Biodiversity Institute - SANBI (implementing partner), the Table Mountain Fund (WWF-South Africa), and the Botanical Society of South Africa. These partners contributed different amounts of money, but the primary sponsor was the international Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, which contributed 58% of the total funds. The project incorporated a number of community organisations and community members in developing a strategy to create awareness about environmental conservation and to clean up the polluted areas. This cooperation has seen the beginning of a number of environmental projects: the rehabilitation of the Edith Stephens Wetlands (in which a boardwalk and bird-hide have been built); plant monitoring and fire-awareness in the Harmony Flats Nature Reserve; the consolidation of hiking trails and the monitoring and reintroduction of animal and bird species in the Wolfgat Natures Reserve; and an alien-vegetation clearing project in the Macassar Dunes.
Innovation: This project's extensive community involvement in nature conservation is an innovative means to achieving environmental sustainability. With an educated and enthusiastic community behind it, this project will be able to protect the environment now and in the future--after new generations learn from the current group of educated community members.
Effectiveness: Fifty-four environmental educators were trained in 2003 and 146 in 2004. In addition to that 60 jobs were created in 2002, 30 in 2003, 82 in 2004 and already 80 in 2005. A total of 2253 learners benefited from educational and recreational activities in 2003 with this number rising to 8658 in 2004. All these figures, together with the environmental projects undertaken, demonstrate that the aims of the project are being achieved. Cape Flats Nature has in fact received a number of prestigious awards: Cape Times/Caltex Environmental Award; Dubai Internatioanl Award for best practice; and acknowledgement as a leading model by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
Poverty Impact: The people employed in this project were previously unemployed and live in disadvantaged areas. This project not only provides them with training and a small income but it provides a sense of community pride in their natural surroundings.
Sustainability: The current partners and donors have committed to help in pursuing further funding. More funding however will be sought from international environmental organisations. Current financial management is taken care of by the SANBI and the Auditor-General in turn audits them.
Replication: Cape Flats Nature has established a good framework for nature conservation close to a highly populated but disadvantaged community. Replication will however require the involvement of a number of partners and donors as well as a cooperative community.