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Umzi Wethu Training Academy

Umzi Wethu is a vocational training academy which prepares youth for positions in conservation and nature based careers. 

The Umzi Wethu (meaning “Our Home”) youth development training courses not only provides accredited training for previously disadvantaged youth, but also incorporates the following innovative elements: (1) a mentorship support programme; (2) access to wellness, group and individual counselling and psychological support; (3) assist the students with a paid internship placement and supporting them in securing jobs post training.

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A total of 329 students have successfully completed an Umzi Wethu training course since 2006.

Key Focus Areas and Objectives of the Programme

Resilience & Wellness (The Individual): To Improve the overall health and wellness (physical, psychological, social and spiritual) of all students to enable them to be economically active and productive.
Conservation (The Environment): To Improve the knowledge and respect for the environment through active engagement in conservation for vulnerable youth.
Active Citizenship (Community Development): To allow students and graduates to become socially responsible and contribute meaningfully to improve the communities they live in.
Sustainable Livelihoods (Financial Independence, Economic Growth): To provide the opportunity for graduates to attain a level of financial independence and stability from graduation and beyond.

Key Elements of the Programme include: 
  • Holistic and nature based social intervention projects
  • Empowering vulnerable youth with essential soft and hard skills to sustain livelihoods
  • Pathway development: e.g. employment and work internship placement as well as further education opportunities
  • Personal growth and development, leadership and environmental awareness

Profile of Target Group (Primary) Beneficiaries:

  • Vulnerable Youth between the ages of 19-26
  • Rural & Urban youth from informal settlement areas

Nationally the programme has recruited students from various townships– urban and rural informal settlements which are the most poor and vulnerable. The programme also strives to achieve a balance of female and male applicants. The key approach to selection is youth-centred while also recognizing the needs of employers, and involves partnerships with many community-based organizations (CBOs), local government agencies and schools. 




Contact Us

Umzi Wethu

Interesting Reading

Follow the links below to download some interesting case studies.

Andrew Muir: Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Umzi Wethu: Interview with Freddie

BLOG: Hospitality Intake 2017/2018 – An interview with Chef Kevin

One of Wilderness Foundation Africa’s projects is the Youth Development programme, where we seek to deliver holistic skills development and education interventions to equip vulnerable youth to be economically active and environmentally responsible citizens.

Read more.


ilderness Foundation Africa was privileged to be the caterer at a media event hosted at the Tramways Building in Port Elizabeth last night. The event formed part of the media launch of the VW Motorsport’s 2018 Polo Cup car.

Our Umzi Wethu hospitality students were given the opportunity to assist Development Chef, Kevin Gouws in the kitchen, as well as to be waitrons at this prestigious event. This activity forms part of their training through the Green Leaf Kitchen, and it affords the Umzi Wethu hospitality students an opportunity to gain experience in their chosen field.

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Umzi Wethu forms part of the WFA Youth Development Programme. The vision of this programme is to deliver holistic skills development and education interventions that harness the healing power of nature, equipping vulnerable youth to be economically active and environmentally responsible citizens.

Umzi Wethu has helped uplift well over 309 vulnerable youth in the Eastern and Western Cape who now have skilled fulltime employment in the conservation and hospitality industries.

Partners & Funders

  • Haberdashery
  • Hans H
  • Graham & Rhona Beck Foundation
  • Emp Logo 1280x960 Projection
  • Manicomio Logo
  • Specsavers
  • Sanp
  • Anglo American
  • Vwsa