DEA’s Working for Water programme celebrates 20 years of job creation & environment sustainability

The Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) Working for Water (WfW) Programme, today officially celebrated 20 years of existence. The programme came into existence on 16 October 1995. Today’s celebration in Villiersdorp, Western Cape, took place in the same vicinity where the initial work started, showcasing the gains that have been made since then and involving those participants that have been part of the amazing journey over the years.

The WfW Programme has seen phenomenal growth over the last 20 years and has been transformed into the Working for programmes. These include Working on Fire, Working for Wetlands, Working for Ecosystems, Working for Forests and Eco Furniture Programmes, which have succeeded in mainstreaming ecological restoration into the employment and rural development debates.

The Working for Water programme represented a unique public employment conservation initiative at the time particularly in the Overberg area where the first invasive alien tree was cut, by the then Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, the late Professor Kader Asmal. This signified the beginning of a concerted effort by government to address poverty and unemployment through addressing key issues of environmental degradation.