EWT partner, Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS) drives successful alternative livelihood initiatives.

By Cobus Theron, the EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme Field Officer and Bridget Corrigan, the EWT’s Source to Sea Programme Manager.

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Environmental and Rural Solutions is a small, dynamic organization based in Matatiele that offers environmental and tourism planning services in the northern part of the Eastern Cape, Southern KZN and Lesotho.

The company has a hands approach to planning and implementation of projects for a wide range of clients and has a reputation for delivering quality projects. The focus of the support is on providing specialist guidance that respects local, natural and cultural environments while providing a professional service and realistic recommendations.

ERS works closely with The Endangered Wildlife Trust through Conservation South Africa in the Healthy Catchment Alliance coalition. Thus far ERS has contributed to the alliance through the development and implementation of a livestock improvement programme in various sites in the UmZimvubu Catchment benefitting local communities. This programme focusses on vaccination of livestock and improved access to the red meat market.

The partnership has successfully organised livestock auctions that have directly brought in about R1.3 million to communities. This has helped people make the connection between their livelihoods and the catchment restoration work being done. This is bringing much needed income to families, while at the same time protecting the natural capital on which they rely.
Directors, Nicky Mcleod and Sissie Matela have been working in the area for many years. Their commitment and passion for the environment have made their offices the “go to” hub for conservation in the North Eastern Cape.

According to Cobus Theron of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, much of the current conservation actions being implemented in the area are as a direct result of conservation foundations that were laid down by ERS over the years.

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