Environmental Empowerment


The Directorates have three main functions Environmental Capacity Development and support, environmental education and environmental awareness. The Environmental Empowerment Services (EES) programme enables communities to meaningfully engage with government and other stakeholders in promoting environmental and social programmes as well as environmental stewardship amongst learners. One of our flagship project that has been running for the past 24 years is Enviro-Quiz. The projects is run jointly with Sasol, Forever Resorts and Windmill Casino. The directorate also manages two Environmental Education Centers in Soetdoring and Willem Pretorious, wherein we host school camps, conduct game drives and environmental education.

Commemoration of Environmental Days 

Date Environmental Issue
02 February: World Wetlands Day
03 March World Wildlife Day
22 March: World Water Day
23 March: World Meteorological Day
26 March: Earth hour
22 April: Earth Day
09  May: World Migratory Bird Day
22 May: International Biodiversity Day
05 June: World Environment Day
08 June: World Oceans Day
17 June: World Day to Combat Desertification
18 July Nelson Mandela International Day
31 July World Ranger Day
01 September: National Arbour day
16 September: World Ozone Day
18 – 22  September: National Parks Week
19 September: International Coastal Clean-Up Day
22 September: World Rhino Day
03 October: World Habitat Day
10 – 15 October: National Marine Week
21 November: World Fisheries Day


International Biological Diversity Day was celebrated on the 22 May 2018 at the Bloemfontein Botanical Gardens with SANBI; DAFF; DEA and Local Schools. Also, on the 05th of June 2018

World Environment Day was celebrated in different places of the province in collaboration with the municipalities, sister department and the Community Development Workers.

Environmental Education Resources

The directorates develops and reviews environmental education material/s that is used in capacity building activities, awareness and environmental education as well as workshops.

Environmental Community Awareness 

The directorate conducts community outreach programmes to address topical environmental issues and their impact in different aspects of our daily lives. In 2018/2019 financial year, the Directorates conducted joint community outreach programmes with the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in the nodal towns of Mangaung Metro – Dewetsdorp, Soutpan, Botshabelo and Thaba-Nchu. Furthermore, some awareness activities were conducted through the MEC Community Outreach Programmes that targets all the district municipalities of the province.

Environmental Career Awareness

Environmental Educators within all the districts of the province facilitate Career Awareness within the Environmental Sector and other Natural Science fields. The purpose is to highlight the skills gap in the sector and further provide lists of available bursaries in various fields.

Capacity Building and Development

The trainings and workshops seek to capacitate community members including teachers that coordinate eco-school programs to identify environmental challenges and initiatives projects that will assist to preserve natural resources and use them sustainably. The workshop mainly focus on opportunities available to environmental enthusiasts to participate in environmental economic activities while addressing the environmental challenges and such as waste management – including landfill sites, water management and shortages, global warming and climate change, biodiversity and its legal dynamic. All these endeavors from part of awareness activities. 

Environmental Competitions

Environmental Capacity Building focus mainly on the following:

  1. Provincial Environmental Management Competition (Formerly known Greenest and Cleanest Municipality Competition)

The competition seeks to encourage and support municipalities to keep the physical environmental as clean and green as possible in an attempt to adopt the best environmental management practices. The competition employ the evaluation criteria that focus on the following key elements of environment:

  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation;
  • Water Management;
  • Landscaping, tree planting and beautification;
  • Public Participation and Community Empowerment; Schools
  • Leadership and Institutional Arrangements;

Synopsis of competition outcome:                          

All the Free State local municipalities are expected to participate in the competition and are all evaluated based on the above mentioned criteria. The Dihlabeng Local municipality was the provincial winner for 2015/16 competition cycle with Clarens as the winning town and followed by Matsopa Local municipality in 2016/17 with Ladybrand as the winning town.

The competition offers the department better picture of challenges that exist in the environmental space and opportunity to initiate programs such as training, workshop and awareness activities to support municipalities that did not perform well and give credit to those with good performance in the Province.

Environ-Quiz – The main aim of the Enviro-Quiz programme is Environmental Education for sustainable development through engaging learners in diverse environmental projects.

Eco-Schools – Eco-Schools is the largest global sustainable schools programme – it starts in the classroom and expands to the community by engaging the next generation in action-based learning.