The Mathuba Schools & Citizens River Heath Programme



1 November 2012
Dear Colleague
The Mathuba Schools & Citizens River Heath Programme
Mathuba (isiZulu): An opportunity – Now is the time
As you may know the Mathuba Schools & Citizens River Health Programme is being convened and facilitated by a small group within the UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences.  Mathuba was born of the realisation that, despite many years of dedicated effort by many people, the rivers around South Africa are in poor condition with levels of pollution from different sources rising year by year.
The Programme is an outcome influenced, inspired and supported by a number of key individuals in the following regionally important organisations. For example : 

·          The University of KwaZulu-Natal
·          The Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and its associated programmes (Eco-Schools, Share-Net, SustainEd; Working for Water, Working for Wetlands)
·          The Environmental Education Association of southern Africa (EEASA)
·          The Wildlands Conservation Trust
·          The Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust
·          The Midlands Development Institute
·          Umgeni Water
·          The Southern African Development Community (EE Office)


The Mathuba Programme consists of two informal groups of participants: The User Group and the Mentor Group.
The User Group is made up  of people of all ages (from school learners and teachers through to people in communities) who share an interest in, and concern about, the health of rivers. Cellphones are used to record images and to write comments on issues affecting the health of rivers and their catchments. These are then sent to Flickr from where they are uploaded, edited and then posted to Google Earth where they are accessible to the world at large.
A User Manual has been developed which provides the operational details of the Programme. 
The Mentoring Group is made up of fewer, but they are people who support the work of Programme at a local “leadership” level. As the Programme develops and data accumulates it is foreseen that Mentors will fulfil an important nodal function – managing information from people who are organisationally and geographically located around them.
The Mentors’ Manual is the second of the two manuals that is in the final stages of development.  This manual is being written to provide management as well as technical information to the Mentors. 
The first public draft of the Mathuba Programme may be accessed at the website www.srhp.wozaonline.co.za     

To start with it will be much appreciated if you could glance through the User Manual and try out the system. This is a living work and regular feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Most important : If you are interested in becoming a Mathuba Programme Mentor please let us know.  

Feedback to:
Lynn Hurry: lynn@ecology.co.za  ;  Mark Dent: dent@ukzn.ac.za ; Tobias Reinhardt: ukzn.srhp@gmail.com  
We look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. If you know of anyone who may be interested in this programme please do forward this  to them.

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