The Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF) has expanded its commitment to education and environmental awareness by providing the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) with a Ford Ranger Double Cab 4×4 for a period of two years, to enhance the organisation’s high-impact International Schools Programme.
“The WESSA International Schools Programme is immensely grateful to the Ford Wildlife Foundation for this partnership,” says Cindy-Lee Cloete, the non-profit organisation’s Schools Programme manager. “It is indeed a privilege to have FWF as a partner, and we are delighted to further embrace Ford as part of the WESSA family of ‘People Caring for the Earth’.
“The Ford Ranger will assist greatly with our project implementation, as it eliminates the need to hire vehicles to visit the schools,” Cloete explains. “The savings will be used to reach more schools, and further benefit the learners and teachers, as well as their surrounding communities.”
The WESSA International Schools Programme consists of three products: Eco-Schools; Learning About Forests; and Young Reporters for the Environment. Through project-based learning, the organisation helps educate learners, parents, teachers and broader communities about the important relationship between people and nature.
WESSA started the Eco-Schools initiative locally in 2003 to create awareness and action around environmental sustainability in schools. In 2019, 691 schools across South Africa were registered with the WESSA International Schools Programme.
Over a million learners and almost 50 000 teachers participate in the project on an annual basis, contributing to a positive change in awareness regarding environmental sustainability. The WESSA Eco-Schools Programme won the Community Chest Impumelelo Thought Leader Award in 2018, and in 2019 the Young Reporters for the Environment initiative received the Eco-Logic Eco-Community Award.
“It is an honour to expand Ford Wildlife Foundation’s existing partnership with WESSA by supporting its International Schools Programme with a ‘Built Ford Tough’ Ranger,” says Conrad Groenewald, director for Sales Operations at FMCSA and chairman of the FWF. “This reinforces our commitment to South Africa, its people and the country’s precious natural resources.
“Educating the youth on the critical role each person plays in protecting our environment is a fundamental building block towards ensuring sustainability,” Groenewald adds. “We cannot compromise on our efforts to conserve our endangered wildlife, plant species and habitats, and we applaud WESSA for driving this initiative at schools across the country.”
The Ford Wildlife Foundation, which was established in 2014, is part of Ford’s heritage in South Africa. “This month being Heritage Month in South Africa we reflect on the critical role wildlife plays as a legacy for all South Africans,” continues Groenewald.
Ford Motor Company has an exceptionally proud heritage in South Africa since local assembly of the Model T began in Port Elizabeth in 1923. It remains one of the country’s largest vehicle manufacturers and exporters with the exceptional Ranger, Ranger Raptor and Everest being produced at our Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria.
Ford’s has a long-standing backing for conservation projects in Southern Africa through the provision of Ford Ranger Double Cab 4x4s to assist with the effective implementation of their environmental education, research, and conservation initiatives. The FWF currently supports 25 projects across the region to ensure the sustainability of threatened and endangered animals, plant species and habitats.