EcoForum Media Environmental & Sustainable Livelihoods empowerment

EcoForum class in session at Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve

EcoForum class in session at Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve

Number of participants: 20
Number of feedback forms received: 20
Absentees: 1

Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve in  Howick was excellent. The  conference room suited our needs  and was intimate. Also being a nature  reserve and environment education  centre, the best case studies were  readily available . All the participants stayed at the  venue which made it easy to do  classes and activities on time.
At the venue there is a recycling  station, a lot of sustainable livelihood  technologies and game which  complimented the environment training well.


  • The presentations were very  good, quite interactive,  informative and empowering.
  • Most of the presentations had visual aids and reading material which was amazing and helped tell the story.
  • There were also group and individual presentations from the participants
  • Each topic covered had an assignment to be done as home work which helped keep the participants on their toes.


  • The field trips to the reserve, the river and to  Wayne Peddie’s farm  also helped a lot for they  showed that the training  was not only text book  material but was real.
  • At the River the  participants saw the  effects of soil erosion,  the diminishing water  levels as well as water  pollution.

At Wayne’s farm which was  the favourite of many, the  media was impressed on how  the Peddie family was living in  a sustainable way, they got to  be intimate with some of the  most amazing environmentally  friendly and sustainable  initiatives & technologies, from  the solar panel, the wind  energy, JOJO tanks,  composts, gardens, small  refrigerator, wonderbags just  to name a few.

The presenters showed great  flair in their work. They had  the information at their  fingertips and were quite  comfortable in front of the  journalists. All their  presentation styles were  unique from each other but  they managed to drive the  message home engaged with  their audience. They also  managed to engage and  answer all the questions.

Despite having to cut the number  of participants due to logistical  problems, The EcoMedia  empowerment session was a  major success. It achieved its  objectives which were to empower, capacitate and  mobilize the media around  reporting environmental and  sustainable livelihoods issues  and topics in an objective and  positive way, help them have an  understanding of how to identify  environmental stories and cover  them fairly and objectively.


  1. History of People and the Environment & population Growth  This is to evaluate how the environment has declined over time.
  2. The state of the environment, the 9 planetary boundaries and Environmental This was to make the media have an understanding of the strains that the environment is facing right now and brainstorm on whether is it too late to act.
  3. Role of media in environment and sustainable living The topic was meant to challenge the media to play a role
  4. Environmental ethics and legislation, Environmental Justice  This topic made the media have an understanding that a sustainable clean environment is supported by the constitution and a number of legislations and policies
  5. Coastal Management What is the situation on our seas and why should people be concerned with the life at sea.  However the participants seem not to grasp this topic well as the presenter rushed through her presentation and could not answer clearly some of the questions raised.
  6. Understanding environmental language and Reporting, decoding environmental jargon/ terms Environment language is at times too scientific for the media or the laymen. It was a fun exercise defining and explaining some the commonly used environment jargon
  7. ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION VS ECONOMY AND POVERTY  What comes first the environment or the economy, how do we balance the conservation, poverty and economic growth. This was the most debated topic as the participants argued on what should be prioritised, the economy or the environment.
  8. WATER There is a theory that in years to come, water will be a reason for war and another that South African may run out of clean fresh water if nothing is done urgently, more than 2/3 of the earth is covered in water yet there are people who still don’t have access to clean fresh water. What is the water situation in South Africa and how can we save, minimise pollution and also clean our rivers
  9. CONSUMERISM, WASTE MANAGEMENT AND RECYCLING After watching the Story of Stuff, Mfanuwenkosi from the Department of Environment emptied his big plastic bag of his home garbage and explained how he recycle and the best products to buy that can be reused. His presentation was one of the most popular for it had tangible examples of recycled stuff like handbags, mats, flower vases made out of waste


  • The session was also meant to encourage debate on environmental  issues and that is exactly what  happened.
  • Now what is left is for the debate to  be taken to the airwaves, newspapers  and social media including the general public.
  • The group discussions were quite engaging and participants went all out to put out great and well researched  presentations. The group members worked well together and it reflected in their presentations.


  • The media was quite excited about the empowerment session.  According to the feedback forms,  all the participants found the  session quite informative and  empowering.
  • They also asked that there be frequent sessions and more time  to allow in-depth presentations  and more vigorous discussions.
  • Most of them have since done interesting stories on the environment back at their work places
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