Marjorie Brown

South Africa
Co-teacher: Charlotte Hulley
Marj Brown is a social and educational activist, and HOD of History at Roedean School in Johannesburg, South Africa. She encourages learners to engage actively with current affairs and incorporates her own anti-apartheid activism. She is the President of the SASHT – the SA Society for History Teaching. Marj involves her pupils – as well as others from under-resourced partner schools – in the Model United Nations Debate and helps coordinate Roedean’s social responsibility projects. She is

 

Follow me on Twitter: Twitter


School: Roedean School 300 students are involved The average age of the students: 13-18 years old Year

Projects 2020

Teaching inner city pupils about climate change through worksheets and children's books

Roedean pupils created worksheets based on CAP curriculum, and children's books, and sent them to a small inner city NGO, which takes care of vulnerable children. The latter read the books and completed the worksheets. which dealt with water, and plastic, and a story of Greta Thurnberg. 

Inner city pupils also watched a you tube clip. 

Teaching inner city pupils about climate change through worksheets and children's books

Roedean pupils continued worksheets for inner city pupils on climate change, using CAP material and children's books. They also collected little pot plants and will send these to ECDs in informal settlements, to plant, and will hold a raffle to raise money to plant trees in the ECD centres. 

Youth Action research and Climate action statement.

Roedean pupils will sign a Climate Justice Statement this week, drawn up by SA NGOs and Youth, and one of our pupils will finalise drafting the Youth Climate Action Statement, which she was drafting wiht 4 other SA youth, for a national Youth Climate Action statement. 

some of the activities of Roedean school and solutions over the weeks.

Climate Action Project Roedean School 

Solutions  

 

The social responsibility programme shared their solutions with Genesis School in New Delhi India on the 16 October. Three Roedean grade 10 volunteers shared and discussed ideas with grade 4 pupils. 

 

Making of Eco-bricks/bottle bricks to make benches, tabletops, stools for public spaces.  

In 2016 Roedean volunteers made a bottle bench for a park close to one of the Flying children schools. 

 

Weekly literacy project using children’s literature that speaks to themes surrounding climate justice.  

Roedean volunteers design worksheets together with a video clip, each week for different chapters/pages of the book for children at Roedean’s community partners. 

Grade 5-7 are using the book entitled Greta’s Story: The schoolgirl who went on strike to save the planet by Valentina Camerini 

Grade 3 and 4 pupils using two books entitle Once upon a raindrop: the story of water by James Carter and the other, A planet full of plastic and how can you help by Neal Layton 

 

The children at the organisations receive the worksheets and a copy of the books, return the completed worksheets to the Roedean volunteers who make supportive comments on the worksheets after which they are returned to the children. 

 

Collaboration of Siyakhana (a permaculture food garden in the inner-city) with Roedean’s community partners; Noah, an aftercare facility which provides security for vulnerable children in the afternoons until it is safe for them to return to their places of residence. And Flying children, an early childhood development project which is located in poor informal settlements on the outskirts of the city. Both projects receive weekly vegetable boxes from Siyakhana which the Roedean community donates. 

 

Recycling Reclaimers are the people who extract discarded items that would normally end up in landfills and the environment and sell these to buy-back centers for recycling. Their work saves municipalities millions in landfill airspace as well as savings in waste removal trucking and fuel. Due to their efforts in the recycling industry South Africa is now on par in the recycling arena with European countries- 80 to 90% of all material recycled in South Africa is entirely due to the forts of these green champions.  

 

ARO (African Reclaimers Organisation) is collaborating with government and reclaimers to get the already functioning informal waste reclaiming sector aligned. They currently receive no financial support from government. However, recycling reclaimers were included in South Africa’s Solidarity Response Fund to Covid-19; a fund which provided emergency food parcels during the lockdown, as they were no permitted to work. Covid-19 has highlighted the urgency of rapidly moving forward with the integration of reclaimers who form an integral part of the city of Johannesburg’s municipal waste management systems. 

 

 

Bottle tops, although recyclable the buy-back centers will not currently pay any money for them, so Roedean collects bottle tops which are donated to The Sweetheart Foundation who then will donate a wheelchair to an individual form one of our community partners.  

 

Model United Nations debating and policy: 

 

Our MUN debting team has researched and debated the issues of food security, food waste and Climate action this year. They have also met with the Minister Barbara Creecy ( the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries) as part of a broader Youth Consultation on Climate change. The Minister acknowledged and thanked both girls for attending , and they were able to ask pertinent questions regarding her policy. Our delegation was part of a Wits University SA Instuitute of International Affairs delegation.  

   

  On the 16 June, two of our MUN debaters, Almaaz Mudaly and Rachael Guise- Brown, were in a dialogue with DEFF Min Barbara Creecy as part of the SA Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) at Wits. The two girls and I attended a briefing and brainstorming meeting online with SAIIA, and various youth organisations and NGOs dealing with the issue of climate change. A lot of research had been done, and comments on the draft Bill on Climate Change were drawn up. Here is an excerpt of the report drawn up by Rachael and Almaaz:  

Youth Climate Change Dialogue with Minister Creecy  

16 June 2020  

Almaaz and Rachael were privileged to be a part of the YCAP committee (Youth Climate Action Plan) and contribute to an open discussion with the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries - Barbra Creecy. In the days before the dialogue with Minister Barbra Creecy, youth from all over South Africa met virtually to collectively speak and express our concerns about South Africa's response to climate change with the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis. We drafted key points that we as the youth wanted to highlight and present to the minister. These key points culminated in the Youth Climate Action Plan that was to be discussed with the minister. A virtual meeting was set up in a dialogue format on Youth Day with the Minister. During the dialogue, many discussions took place specifically on the topics of waste-management, green recovery, mitigation of climate change and adaptation to climate change objectives in South African society. We were grateful to be afforded the opportunity to put forward our opinion regarding climate change as aspiring youth, and to have been acknowledged by the minister and government officials.  

The meeting was held over teams because of COVID-19 and had roughly 150 participants. For about the first hour and a half a few participants raised important points, gave solutions, and raised areas that needed to be addressed by the government.   

...   

After listening to the points raised the Minister asked her team to answer some of the points and address what they are already doing. In summary, some of responses were:  

· They currently working on updating the NDC and have heard the youth that it needs to be gender responsive and inclusive of the youth and they commit to include the youth in the process.  

· They are working to establish the Presidential Climate Change Commission for all the ministers to report to the president under this area. They are also working with municipalities to establish policies for adaptation and mitigation.  

· The Climate Change Bill should be passed at the end of this year but may be delayed because of COVID-19 to next year.  

· They are working on the link between climate change and biodiversity.  

· They are focusing on holding industries accountable for their air pollution including Eskom and dealing with this problem and how to use ash produced by coal power stations for building materials.  

· For waste management there are new initiatives to treat waste as a resource and how to improve waste collection at household level including recycling. For waste collection they are also working with private sectors to support waste pickers with wages and health schemes.  

· There are programs for education on climate change awareness and looking to include the youth in these programs.  

· There are water source protection strategies such as a program to remove alien vegetation from water sources which a study shows will increase water sources by 6%.  

· Crop variation is also an area they are working on as some areas will no longer be able to produce the same crops they are producing now because of water shortages.  

Although we appreciate hearing the work they are doing, the exciting and important news was the introduction of a new program they are launching in July. One million rand has been earmarked to go to youth led organizations tackling climate change and other issues relating to DEFF. Applications will open in July and August and will be adjudicated in September and October before about ten organizations will be chosen in November (2020) and each given about R100 000.  

The experience of engaging on a national government level regarding the climate change crisis, working with university students and graduates has been a unique and enriching experience for us. We got to interact with people from different socio-economic backgrounds from all parts of South Africa. Going into the meeting we had our own opinions on the climate change crisis but went into the meetings with open minds. After listening to fellow youth activists and government officials who are well into taking action and we have been exposed to so many different dimensions of the climate change crisis. We are inspired by their initiatives and stance. We look forward to speaking out on the climate crisis.  

We look forward to the launch of the new program and seeing the youth’s ideas and solutions have the support and funding to move forward.  

Out of this grew the SOUTH AFRICAN YOUTH STATEMENT ON A JUST TRANSITION AND GREEN RECOVERY, which Almaaz Mudaly, Beatrice Wharton Hood and Rachael Guise Brown participated in drafting, to a large extent.   

--------  

Gauteng Legislature Debate 19 June 2020  

On the 19 June, 3 of the MUN debaters, Beatrice Wharton-Hood, Almaaz Mudaly and Zoya Mothupi-Sarges were part of another MUN debate, this time in the format of a Provincial Gauteng legislature debate. Here is their report:  

Beatrice Wharton-Hood, Almaaz Mudaly and Zoya Mothupi-Sarges had the privilege of participating in the Gauteng Legislature MUN debate, facilitated by the South Africa Institute of International Affairs at Wits University, entitled “Youth voices on life beyond COVID-19”. This is an extremely important topic in our country and province as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. We debated with Parktown Girls, Germiston High School and the University of Pretoria, all with one team each.  

The Gauteng Legislature debates are different to normal MUN debates as you are working with other teams, but focusing on a provincial, not international, context. Rather than schools being allocated countries to advocate for, you instead raise your school and surrounding community’s concerns around the issue. The aim is to create a working document that can be taken to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) so that changes can be made within our communities and province.  

The debate was centred around what the youth believes is vital for the future and after COVID-19. Many valid points were raised by the various teams, specifically on the need for a green economy and the focus on bringing economic and social equality in our society through feeding schemes and social grants. Ideas for creating employment while decreasing our emission levels were addressed, the issue of waste management within our communities and education reform with regard to how we should prepare and equip our country should something like this happen again were all discussed. We all shared the same view that youth participation programmes are essential to creating change in our province. We were extremely happy as our working document passed and will in the next few days be taken to the Legislature and the Gauteng Department of Education.  

This was a new experience for us all as it was the first MUN virtually debate in which the three of us had participated. The usual murmurs of the teams and the scramble to hand in our final resolutions were missed by everyone, but we are extremely happy that we can continue to have these imperative discussions with each other. It was definitely a worthwhile experience and we all learnt so much more about how we, as a country should move forward. Discussions like these allow the youth to take an active role in how our province and country is run, allowing us to envision our future. We would like to thank Mrs Brown and SAIIA for allowing us to be part of this worthwhile discussion and to contribute to our future beyond COVID-19.  

 

A follow up debate ensued on the Future of SA post Covid 19, and Almaaz Mudaly and Maryam Akhalwaya (both LVs) took part in this on the 14th August. They managed to merge their draft resolution with Wendywood High and African Leadership Academy and have it passed. The draft statement will be edited and passed to National Parliament as a Youth Statement.  

  

Virtual Youth Climate Action Plan for Johannesburg Workshop and EU climate diplomacy week.  

On the 29th August, 4 Roedean MUN debaters, Almaaz Mudaly, Zahraa Ismail, Beatrice Wharton-Hood and Rachael Guise-Brown responded to an invitation by SAIIA to workshop and contribute to the City of Joburg Climate Action Plan, through workshopping and finalising a Youth Climate Action plan,  after workshopping ideas with Wits Professor Coleen Vogel, a Nobel Prize recipient for measuring climate change and director of the Global Change Institute, and the CoJ representatives. Rachael Guise-Brown is part of the small committee drafting the final Youth Statement for the Youth Climate Action Plan for the City of Johannesburg. This statement shows areas and ideas that the youth would like the city to focus on how the youth would like to be included. These areas are intersectionality, systemic change, just transition, leadership and advocacy, innovation, accessibility and sustainability.  

 

As part of this the same girls were drawn into Climate Diplomacy week with the EU, and Almaaz Mudaly was chosen to speak at the High Level closing of this Climate Diplomacy week, on the 23rd Sept, to many foreign diplomats and national participants. Almaaz and Beatrice were part of the team that drafted the National Youth Dialogue Statement. 

 

Climate Change Research:  

Zahraa Ismail and Sanjika Senarathne are researching climate change and solar energy solutions for a Wits SAIIA research project, the 2020 Young Researcher's Symposium. They have to focus locally and on an EU case study.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Action Project Roedean School 

Solutions  

 

The social responsibility programme shared their solutions with Genesis School in New Delhi India on the 16 October. Three Roedean grade 10 volunteers shared and discussed ideas with grade 4 pupils. 

 

Making of Eco-bricks/bottle bricks to make benches, tabletops, stools for public spaces.  

In 2016 Roedean volunteers made a bottle bench for a park close to one of the Flying children schools. 

 

Weekly literacy project using children’s literature that speaks to themes surrounding climate justice.  

Roedean volunteers design worksheets together with a video clip, each week for different chapters/pages of the book for children at Roedean’s community partners. 

Grade 5-7 are using the book entitled Greta’s Story: The schoolgirl who went on strike to save the planet by Valentina Camerini 

Grade 3 and 4 pupils using two books entitle Once upon a raindrop: the story of water by James Carter and the other, A planet full of plastic and how can you help by Neal Layton 

 

The children at the organisations receive the worksheets and a copy of the books, return the completed worksheets to the Roedean volunteers who make supportive comments on the worksheets after which they are returned to the children. 

 

Collaboration of Siyakhana (a permaculture food garden in the inner-city) with Roedean’s community partners; Noah, an aftercare facility which provides security for vulnerable children in the afternoons until it is safe for them to return to their places of residence. And Flying children, an early childhood development project which is located in poor informal settlements on the outskirts of the city. Both projects receive weekly vegetable boxes from Siyakhana which the Roedean community donates. 

 

Recycling Reclaimers are the people who extract discarded items that would normally end up in landfills and the environment and sell these to buy-back centers for recycling. Their work saves municipalities millions in landfill airspace as well as savings in waste removal trucking and fuel. Due to their efforts in the recycling industry South Africa is now on par in the recycling arena with European countries- 80 to 90% of all material recycled in South Africa is entirely due to the forts of these green champions.  

 

ARO (African Reclaimers Organisation) is collaborating with government and reclaimers to get the already functioning informal waste reclaiming sector aligned. They currently receive no financial support from government. However, recycling reclaimers were included in South Africa’s Solidarity Response Fund to Covid-19; a fund which provided emergency food parcels during the lockdown, as they were no permitted to work. Covid-19 has highlighted the urgency of rapidly moving forward with the integration of reclaimers who form an integral part of the city of Johannesburg’s municipal waste management systems. 

 

 

Bottle tops, although recyclable the buy-back centers will not currently pay any money for them, so Roedean collects bottle tops which are donated to The Sweetheart Foundation who then will donate a wheelchair to an individual form one of our community partners.  

 

Model United Nations debating and policy: 

 

Our MUN debting team has researched and debated the issues of food security, food waste and Climate action this year. They have also met with the Minister Barbara Creecy ( the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries) as part of a broader Youth Consultation on Climate change. The Minister acknowledged and thanked both girls for attending , and they were able to ask pertinent questions regarding her policy. Our delegation was part of a Wits University SA Instuitute of International Affairs delegation.  

   

  On the 16 June, two of our MUN debaters, Almaaz Mudaly and Rachael Guise- Brown, were in a dialogue with DEFF Min Barbara Creecy as part of the SA Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) at Wits. The two girls and I attended a briefing and brainstorming meeting online with SAIIA, and various youth organisations and NGOs dealing with the issue of climate change. A lot of research had been done, and comments on the draft Bill on Climate Change were drawn up. Here is an excerpt of the report drawn up by Rachael and Almaaz:  

Youth Climate Change Dialogue with Minister Creecy  

16 June 2020  

Almaaz and Rachael were privileged to be a part of the YCAP committee (Youth Climate Action Plan) and contribute to an open discussion with the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries - Barbra Creecy. In the days before the dialogue with Minister Barbra Creecy, youth from all over South Africa met virtually to collectively speak and express our concerns about South Africa's response to climate change with the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis. We drafted key points that we as the youth wanted to highlight and present to the minister. These key points culminated in the Youth Climate Action Plan that was to be discussed with the minister. A virtual meeting was set up in a dialogue format on Youth Day with the Minister. During the dialogue, many discussions took place specifically on the topics of waste-management, green recovery, mitigation of climate change and adaptation to climate change objectives in South African society. We were grateful to be afforded the opportunity to put forward our opinion regarding climate change as aspiring youth, and to have been acknowledged by the minister and government officials.  

The meeting was held over teams because of COVID-19 and had roughly 150 participants. For about the first hour and a half a few participants raised important points, gave solutions, and raised areas that needed to be addressed by the government.   

...   

After listening to the points raised the Minister asked her team to answer some of the points and address what they are already doing. In summary, some of responses were:  

· They currently working on updating the NDC and have heard the youth that it needs to be gender responsive and inclusive of the youth and they commit to include the youth in the process.  

· They are working to establish the Presidential Climate Change Commission for all the ministers to report to the president under this area. They are also working with municipalities to establish policies for adaptation and mitigation.  

· The Climate Change Bill should be passed at the end of this year but may be delayed because of COVID-19 to next year.  

· They are working on the link between climate change and biodiversity.  

· They are focusing on holding industries accountable for their air pollution including Eskom and dealing with this problem and how to use ash produced by coal power stations for building materials.  

· For waste management there are new initiatives to treat waste as a resource and how to improve waste collection at household level including recycling. For waste collection they are also working with private sectors to support waste pickers with wages and health schemes.  

· There are programs for education on climate change awareness and looking to include the youth in these programs.  

· There are water source protection strategies such as a program to remove alien vegetation from water sources which a study shows will increase water sources by 6%.  

· Crop variation is also an area they are working on as some areas will no longer be able to produce the same crops they are producing now because of water shortages.  

Although we appreciate hearing the work they are doing, the exciting and important news was the introduction of a new program they are launching in July. One million rand has been earmarked to go to youth led organizations tackling climate change and other issues relating to DEFF. Applications will open in July and August and will be adjudicated in September and October before about ten organizations will be chosen in November (2020) and each given about R100 000.  

The experience of engaging on a national government level regarding the climate change crisis, working with university students and graduates has been a unique and enriching experience for us. We got to interact with people from different socio-economic backgrounds from all parts of South Africa. Going into the meeting we had our own opinions on the climate change crisis but went into the meetings with open minds. After listening to fellow youth activists and government officials who are well into taking action and we have been exposed to so many different dimensions of the climate change crisis. We are inspired by their initiatives and stance. We look forward to speaking out on the climate crisis.  

We look forward to the launch of the new program and seeing the youth’s ideas and solutions have the support and funding to move forward.  

Out of this grew the SOUTH AFRICAN YOUTH STATEMENT ON A JUST TRANSITION AND GREEN RECOVERY, which Almaaz Mudaly, Beatrice Wharton Hood and Rachael Guise Brown participated in drafting, to a large extent.   

--------  

Gauteng Legislature Debate 19 June 2020  

On the 19 June, 3 of the MUN debaters, Beatrice Wharton-Hood, Almaaz Mudaly and Zoya Mothupi-Sarges were part of another MUN debate, this time in the format of a Provincial Gauteng legislature debate. Here is their report:  

Beatrice Wharton-Hood, Almaaz Mudaly and Zoya Mothupi-Sarges had the privilege of participating in the Gauteng Legislature MUN debate, facilitated by the South Africa Institute of International Affairs at Wits University, entitled “Youth voices on life beyond COVID-19”. This is an extremely important topic in our country and province as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. We debated with Parktown Girls, Germiston High School and the University of Pretoria, all with one team each.  

The Gauteng Legislature debates are different to normal MUN debates as you are working with other teams, but focusing on a provincial, not international, context. Rather than schools being allocated countries to advocate for, you instead raise your school and surrounding community’s concerns around the issue. The aim is to create a working document that can be taken to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) so that changes can be made within our communities and province.  

The debate was centred around what the youth believes is vital for the future and after COVID-19. Many valid points were raised by the various teams, specifically on the need for a green economy and the focus on bringing economic and social equality in our society through feeding schemes and social grants. Ideas for creating employment while decreasing our emission levels were addressed, the issue of waste management within our communities and education reform with regard to how we should prepare and equip our country should something like this happen again were all discussed. We all shared the same view that youth participation programmes are essential to creating change in our province. We were extremely happy as our working document passed and will in the next few days be taken to the Legislature and the Gauteng Department of Education.  

This was a new experience for us all as it was the first MUN virtually debate in which the three of us had participated. The usual murmurs of the teams and the scramble to hand in our final resolutions were missed by everyone, but we are extremely happy that we can continue to have these imperative discussions with each other. It was definitely a worthwhile experience and we all learnt so much more about how we, as a country should move forward. Discussions like these allow the youth to take an active role in how our province and country is run, allowing us to envision our future. We would like to thank Mrs Brown and SAIIA for allowing us to be part of this worthwhile discussion and to contribute to our future beyond COVID-19.  

 

A follow up debate ensued on the Future of SA post Covid 19, and Almaaz Mudaly and Maryam Akhalwaya (both LVs) took part in this on the 14th August. They managed to merge their draft resolution with Wendywood High and African Leadership Academy and have it passed. The draft statement will be edited and passed to National Parliament as a Youth Statement.  

  

Virtual Youth Climate Action Plan for Johannesburg Workshop and EU climate diplomacy week.  

On the 29th August, 4 Roedean MUN debaters, Almaaz Mudaly, Zahraa Ismail, Beatrice Wharton-Hood and Rachael Guise-Brown responded to an invitation by SAIIA to workshop and contribute to the City of Joburg Climate Action Plan, through workshopping and finalising a Youth Climate Action plan,  after workshopping ideas with Wits Professor Coleen Vogel, a Nobel Prize recipient for measuring climate change and director of the Global Change Institute, and the CoJ representatives. Rachael Guise-Brown is part of the small committee drafting the final Youth Statement for the Youth Climate Action Plan for the City of Johannesburg. This statement shows areas and ideas that the youth would like the city to focus on how the youth would like to be included. These areas are intersectionality, systemic change, just transition, leadership and advocacy, innovation, accessibility and sustainability.  

 

As part of this the same girls were drawn into Climate Diplomacy week with the EU, and Almaaz Mudaly was chosen to speak at the High Level closing of this Climate Diplomacy week, on the 23rd Sept, to many foreign diplomats and national participants. Almaaz and Beatrice were part of the team that drafted the National Youth Dialogue Statement. 

 

Climate Change Research:  

Zahraa Ismail and Sanjika Senarathne are researching climate change and solar energy solutions for a Wits SAIIA research project, the 2020 Young Researcher's Symposium. They have to focus locally and on an EU case study.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

interactions

Our pupils interacted internationally with two schools in India, around solutions. Throughout this process, our volunteers have interacted with inner city youth, creating worksheets on climate change for primary school kids. We also continued to interact with other SA students in drafting the youth statement for the JHB climate action plan We reported back on this in assembly - see link below. 

Actions

Our pupils have organsied seed boxes for early childhood projects - fo veges and tress, which were planted. We also signed the Climate Justcie Charter, an NGO driven charter in SA, and our youth helped draft a national charter for a Just Green Transition, plus the Climate action Plan for the City of Johannesburg. They also researched solar energy for schools, and submitted a report to the local University as part of a competition. Finally, they were privileged enough to represent African Youth on the Climate Action Day event on Nov 5th. 


Impressions

Images by Marjorie Brown 2020-10-13Brown
Images by Marjorie Brown 2020-10-13Brown
Images by Marjorie Brown 2020-10-13Brown
Images by Marjorie Brown 2020-11-05Brown