World Environment Day : Canon’s Young People Programme in South Africa
Ahead of the World Environment Day (5th June), I wanted to run past you an article idea on this year’s theme of biodiversity protection.
Canon’s Young People Programme in South Africa works with Mike Kendrick, founder of a local NPO Wild Shots Outreach, teaching wildlife photography to break down the barriers between young people in local black communities and their natural heritage.
The majority of the local young people living next to the Kruger National Park have never visited the park or seen the wildlife that’s right on their doorstep. The lingering impact of apartheid, expensive entry fees and the lack of transport means that the national park is not seen as an aspirational destination. How are we ever going to preserve Africa’s biodiversity when its young people have never seen the country’s wildlife and have no relationship with it?
The goal of the WSO & Canon YPP project is to support young South Africans from disadvantaged communities in accessing their wildlife heritage and developing employment skills in wildlife conservation & tourism through photography. Working with Canon ambassadors, Mike Kendrick trains students and unemployed young people in wildlife photography. He takes them on game drives to see the iconic animals and what wildlife preservation means in real life.
Students who joined the project have been incredibly successful in pursuing a career in photography and wildlife conservation and their images have been showcased in numerous exhibitions. You can see some of the impactful images taken by the project participants and the project photography by Mike Kendrick here.