When I first started as the Cape Town Clubs Coordinator in early 2009, Project 90 was operating from a small office with only a handful of staff. It was really up to me to create a schools Club programme with a unique Project 90 identity. I had a blank canvas to paint on, and I wasn’t sure where to start.
I spoke to our director Brenda about my concerns of how little volunteer time I had to dedicate to developing the programme and she always urged me to persevere and ‘work with where the most passion is present’. Those words have stuck with me over the past four years. The clubs have really built a lot of momentum since those days and alongside it our team has grown and still I’m worried there are not enough hours in the day to complete everything that needs to be done!
2012 started off with a bang! It was the first time we had run provincial Clubs Conferences. The aim of the Clubs Conferences were to bring all provincial members together- to meet each other, socialise, learn from each other and plan their activities for the year ahead. Each conference had its own style and taste and all were equally successful in their own right. Read more about the club conferences.
2012 also marked the start of the Cape Town and Johannesburg Clubs Mentorship Pilot Project. The aim of this project is for each club to have dedicated support from university and community mentors, assisting them with their club activities on a regular basis. Students from Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Wits Universities, as well as from the Project 90 Youth Forum stepped forward to be mentors. It was heartening to see youth from former clubs and previous Project 90 initiatives taking on these roles, so that those who were previously Project 90 school members could have an ongoing relationship with the Project. There are big plans for the mentorship programme in 2013.
At the beginning of the year I was nominated by South Peninsula High School as a Climate Hero for the Climate Leadership Awards. In March I was delighted to receive national third prize for my work with the Project 90 Clubs. Unfortunately the award ceremony took place in Johannesburg, so our ever sociable Gauteng Clubs Coordinator Happy Khambule filled my shoes and accepted the award on my behalf. I unknowingly asked Happy if he could send the cheque in the post, he replied ‘It’s big, I’m talking game show big!’ Thank you to all those involved, it really was a great honour to be acknowledged for the work we do.
On the funding side, in addition to our core funding from Misereor Germany, Investec sponsored events to celebrate World Environment Day in June. Coordinators have organised several field trips so that club members could observe others who are working to live more lightly and be inspired with new ideas.
More and more we understand the importance of organising for clubs to connect with one another in their regions, allow them the space to have new experiences, to expand their thinking about the environment and their impact on it, and to be able to see the growth of collective work by meeting others who share their passion for creating a better world.
In September, two incredible volunteers arrived from Germany, Sara and Lukas. They were part of the ASA Programme which supports young people in their commitment to make a difference in social and developmental issues. Their sole purpose was to assess the clubs across the Western Cape, Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal. They’ve worked hard to design an assessment that not only looks at the progress the club has made over the year but gives the clubs an opportunity for reflection and forward thinking into 2013.
Glen Tyler the Deputy director of Project 90 and my line manager, left us to rejoin Green Peace in October and start a new journey. Glen was previously the Campaigns Manager and had a very good understanding of the clubs. It was sad to see him go. His energy at the office will be missed. I hope to continue working with his vision for the clubs and to explore new and exciting ways to continue the momentum we started.
As the end of the year is approaching, the schools are finishing up with exams and the club assessments have taken place. It’s a good time for us to reflect upon the year, and prepare to look ahead to the future and build on what we have started.
Daniel Robinson, National Clubs Coordinator