The Unearthed Academy, along with our partners, the Kenchaan Foundation and Wilderness Leadership School are on the hunt for participants from communities around the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve for our January 2023 training intake. Our community leaders program (click here to find out more about the program) aims to uncover social entrepreneurs from rural communities around our important wilderness areas who have business ideas that can directly solve conservation challenges faced in Zululand's protected areas. 

This time around, however, we have changed things up a bit in order to really unpack, understand and explore conservation challenges that impact the iMfolozi Game Reserve and communities living alongside the park. To do this, we are hosting a series of monthly community workshops focused on various environmental themes. These workshops provide an ideal opportunity for potential future Unearthed participants to engage with us, explore innovative solutions to local environmental challenges and showcase their ideas. 

The workshops also give community members a chance to learn more about the Unearthed program, what we are looking for in terms of business ideas, meet our previous participants, and most importantly, an impartial, open opportunity to have frank conversations, learn, understand and share ideas. Local facilitator, Rodney Hlatswayo with an interesting business idea being developed by one of the workshop attendees, school bags made from waste plastic.

Our first workshop, held in August 2022 was attended by over thirty people and initiated really interesting conservations around water pollution from sanitary items and nappies (there must be a viable business idea that can solve this issue!)  as well as some great business ideas around reusing waste plastic to make school suitcases. The Wildlife ACT foundation was also part of the workshop and Zama Ncube spoke about the work they do to save endangered species such as vultures. According to Sabelo Dladla, a local community leader and Unearthed Participant, the community members appreciated the opportunity and regarded the workshop as an eye-opener.

Our next workshop is scheduled for the 27th of September at the Centenery Centre in the iMfolozi Game Reserve at 10h00. As September is Heritage Month, the theme for this workshop will be "finding ways to use cultural experiences to benefit our local businesses and communities surrounding the park"

If you have a great business idea or would simply like to engage with us around conservation issues facing the park, learn more and share ideas, we would love to see you there. For more information, you can contact one of our local facilitators: Zama Mbonambi (Naledi Edutours) on +27 82 256 7704 or Rodney Hlatshwayo (Wilderness Guide) on +27 72 201 6785