Acornhoek grows network of Tree-preneurs, Waste-preneurs and Eco-Schools

Nedbank has partnered with Wildlands and Kruger2Canyon to catalyse a series of initiatives aimed at transforming the Acornhoek community into one that is cleaner, greener, and more sustainable, while also empowering local residents. Acornhoek is situated in Mpumalanga’s Bushbuckridge Local Municipality near the greater Kruger conservation area and is affected by high levels of unemployment, HIV and AIDS prevalence and poor education and health infrastructure.

Nedbank Acornhoek Project_Kirsten Oliver

Acornhoek Project Visit. From L to R: Mokgadi Mokgode (K2C), Mbali Mashele (K2C), Principal Raganya Eckson, Corne Havinga (Klaserie Eco – Training), Dr Andrew Venter (Wildlands CEO), Nina Wellsted (Nedbank) and Lineth Sekgobela (K2C) celebrate the successes of their environmentally beneficial interventions at Seganyane Primary School. The group are surrounded by hundreds of indigenous trees and Moringa seedlings, which will not only benefit the school, but also the sustainability of this area. Photographer: Kirsten Oliver.


The partnership aims to establish a network of “Tree-preneurs” and “Waste-preneurs” throughout the Acornhoek community, growing trees and collecting recyclable waste to be bartered for livelihood goods. It also aims to establish schools eco-schools that follow the tree- and waste-preneur ethos, enabling income generation on a sustainable basis that helps to improve school facilities. 

“Working at the point where environmental conservation and human well-being converge, Wildlands’ guiding principle is the belief that healthy, robust and resilient ecosystems underpin human well-being. If this is achieved, it has the potential to provide a sustainable future for all,” says Dr Andrew Venter CEO of the Wildlands Conservation Trust.  

The partnership was initiated in September 2014 and has since created 42 full-time jobs; the recruitment of 423 Tree-preneurs, who have propagated over 60 000 indigenous trees and 19 500 Moringa seedlings; the establishment of a pilot Waste-preneur based recycling network; and the recruitment of 10 Eco-Schools.

“The project has helped the empowerment of participating individuals who were once marginalised from the local economy to become viable small businesses in their own right.  Nedbank is proud to be part of this ground-breaking partnership which aligns so closely with our vision of integrated sustainability,” concludes Nina Wellsted, Sustainability Manager at Nedbank. 

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