From the 4th to the 9th of June 2017 I was at the Imvelisi Boot-Camp, where I represented Lenye Youth Group and the Amanzi for Food Research Project amongst other Enviropreneurs!!

As Lenye Youth Group we would love to see Lenye village and all of Qoboqobo (Keiskammahoek) flourishing in its agricultural activity. We took the idea of establishing a water conservation based vegetable nursery in Lenye village that will double as a demonstration site and a knowledge sharing and motivation platform around water harvesting and conservation and agriculture. The experience of being in the ideation programme was amazing.

The country has been facing a drought for many years now, amongst many environmental challenges, and the young people and facilitators that I met there provided a motivating and full learning experience around these challenges. Concepts like the circular economy and entrepreneurial training; group meetings with experts in our fields, and the social interactions we had, really opened up my mind to new ideas and new ways of thinking about business.

I think the solution to many problems is for everyone to play what part they can and to encourage, inspire, motivate and teach others to do so as well. Our nursery will be our way of collectively playing our part through practising water harvesting and conservation. It will also be a platform for knowledge sharing and awareness for water issues and we hope to impact how water is used.

What I’ve learnt from working with Lenye Youth Group, which was echoed at the Imvelisi Boot-Camp is: Just get up and do what you can and look for people who can help you do more. Be it people who also want to do what you want to do, people who’ve done it or people who want you to do what you want to do and would thus support you in doing it. There’s definitely something you can do!! Don’t undermine that something. Get up and do it and take it from there.

If you’re a young aspiring enviropreneur keep an eye out for Imvelisi’s next call or look up another ideation boot camp or incubator. It’s an investment.

By Mandilive Matiwane

(I am a member of Lenye Youth Group and a student under the Amanzi for Food Research Project at the Environmental Learning Research Centre. Very passionate about the Eastern Cape, agriculture and the environment, rural development, youth development and learning.)