Four Elements Conservation NPC

Four Elements Conservation NPC: The Four Elements Environmental Scholarship Camp

Durban, South AfricaDurban, South Africa
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Four Elements Environmental Scholarships have been awarded to selected school children to attend a 4 day camp on how to drive an environmental initiative, use social media, raise sustainable funding as well as engaging with nature by swimming with sharks and meeting wild elephants.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could harness the passion, energy and creativity of the youth to create an environmental revolution of social entrepreneurs, changing the world for the better? What if the brightest and best chose this as a meaningful career ahead of banking?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Problem 1: Many young people want change the world and make a real difference but are often without know-how or are surrounded by apathy. Problem 2: I have driven environmental initiatives and I know that it is not enough to be an ‘army of one’. I believe I can inspire young people and give them a launch-pad for achieving their own environmental dream. This is the most effective use of my time.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

I want to offer environmental scholarships to young learners around South Africa using the money raised from the Four Elements Ocean Challenge where they join me on a 4 day camp . The camp will entail learning how to start their own environmental initiatives, write business proposals, create social media strategies, develop ideas to action plans as well as experiencing bush walks with rhinos and swimming with sharks. I want to create young, green, capable entrepreneurs who have different environmental interests who develop into necessary niches. This camp will produce an inspirational short video that will excite other young people so that they know that they have the power to make change in their communities.

Awards

The camp has been featured in local news articles and aired on the biggest radio station in South Africa, Radio Five FM.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The primary objective of this project is to empower young people to make a positive environmental impact through education, entrepreneurship and experience which will take place on the Four Elements Environmental Camp. The education starts from the rigorous application process and interviews which push the youths out of their comfort zones and make room for personal development. When on the camp, the children will be taught the essential skills to starting their very own environmental projects which are tailor made to suit their passions and interests. For example, if one of our applicants is passionate about water security or cheetah conservation we will guide them to starting high impact, sustainable projects.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

While I would love every alumni of the camp to change the environment for the better, by introducing them to a world of dreams and value-based environmental possibility I will have made the world a better place. A corporate world of high-impact environmentally conscious, social entrepreneurs is not a bad place. As this camp is still in process there is no measureable impact to date. From next year and assessing the success of the first camp I would like to increase the number of applicants that we accept as well as reach out to international students. In the next 5 years I would like to run several camps during the year with the goal of starting camps in other countries. In this way we truly start a youth environmental revolution.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

I cannot be an ‘army of one’. Therefore by educating a generation of passionate, green, change makers we inspire future leaders who value the world beyond merely a profit nature. Within 5 years I would like to be drawing young people from an international arena to attend the camp. Within 10 years I would like to be operating internationally in other countries. This can be achieved by rigorous reflection and scaling.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The primary fund raising event for the Environmental Camp is the Four Elements Ocean Challenge. This annual event has been run very successfully in both 2014 and 2015 and the 2016 planning is underway. The first swim had 16 competitors and the 2015 swim had 116 competitors. It is a long distance ocean swim in Durban, South Africa which covers a gruelling distance of approximately 6km. Other fundraising options include approaching corporates.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

I am not aware of anyone who is attempting to effect environmental change in the same way as myself. The idea of the Four Elements Environmental Camp is novel because it combines youth education and entrepreneurship with experience, exposure and immersion in both the adult and conservation worlds. I intend to align myself with environmentally enlightened companies or converting those who are not yet enlightened.
Team

Founding Story

When I was 10 I started birding and had my first “Aha!” moment when I realised that I could not find the local bearded vulture population because they are incredibly endangered. I then began fundraising for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Bearded Vulture Project after discovering that cake sales would not support the large sums of money that they required. My second “Aha!” moment occurred in 2012 when I recognized the need to scale and developed the need to create my own platform for change. It was then that I founded Four Elements Conservation NPC out of a deep concern for the planet. I launched my newly founded NPC by completing a successful summit of the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro.

Team

The team consists of part-time members (Olivia and Mark) and non-executive members (John and Amaresh). We would like to evolve the team by inviting certain alumni from the Four Elements Environmental Camp to join our board. The current board have frequent meetings to discuss each of our roles and how we can take Four Elements Conservation to new heights. Olivia Taylor (CEO, Founder and Director). I am 18 and attend school in Durban. I plan to study at a tertiary level at Stellenbosch University in 2016. Mark Taylor (Director). Mark has spent the last 8 years as an entrepreneur with a diverse business background, having developed the first aquarium in Turkey, Turkuazoo, and helped list an attractions business on the London Stock Exchange, Paragon. Mark advises venture capital and private equity businesses, and is a director of an insurance company. Previously he led the turnaround of a JSE-listed technology business, Intervid, as the CEO. Before that he headed up new investment evaluations at Africa’s then biggest technology private equity investor listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, VenFin, and has over a decade’s experience in PE and VC. Mark is an admitted attorney with a BA LLB, H Dip Mar Law and an M.Comm. John McCarthy (Director). John is the founder and publisher of www.thebombsurf.com and www.thegreenersurfer.com. Previously he was the CEO of the Media 24 owned entity Atoll Media. He was educated at Hilton College, UCT (BA, major in Social Anthropology) and Damelin Business Management School. He has surfed professionally and represented South Africa at The Inaugural World Masters Surfing Championships in Puerto Rico, which South Africa won. He has produced and directed several documentaries and short films and continues to write for his own and other media entities. Amaresh Chetty (Director). Amaresh manages a private equity fund and has previously worked at BEE investment holding companies as senior investment officer and at various banks. Amaresh has a B Com, PostGrad Dip in Bus Mngmt and an MBA from the University of Natal (Durban). He thereafter completed executive education courses in Corporate Restructuring, Mergers & Acquisitions and Valuations at Harvard Business School (Boston). R. I. Kennedy and Associates (Auditor)
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Twtter via a sponsored ad by Unilever

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

CEO, Founder and Director

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I have been fundraising for the Bearded Vulture Project since I was 12. During this time with the project I have initiated the installation of cameras into the birds' nests and created an online portal so that sponsors can see 'their' bird live time in both video and stills. See video footage here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-qr7-d8cqw. I also built and designed their website (www.beardedvulture.co.za). For my work on the bearded vulture project I have won both international and national awards: the Eco-Hero Award from Action for Nature and the External Award of Excellency from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
In an attempt to create a sustainable source of income for Four Elements I designed a sterling silver pendant of the Four Elements logo to sell. Together with Barrows we have designed an eco-friendly point of sale for the pendants which are currently being stocked in local game reserves.
In 2014 I wanted to create a transparent surfboard to allow surfers to see into the water, eliminating the fear of the unknown and creating a stronger bond between surfer and ocean. Instead of a completely transparent board myself and a surfboard shaper decided to simply create a window or viewing hole. I repurposed an old surfboard for the experiment and we created the Ocean Eye. See attached photos.
The Four Elements Ocean Challenge's aim is to raise funding for the Environmental Camp but also to raise awareness about ocean degradation. This was done by producing a feature film from both the 2014 and 2015 swims. I produced both of these films and together with the ocean challenges they have got created a media storm. See more of that here - http://www.fourelementsconservation.org/media.php. In addition to developing the Bearded Vulture Project's website, I built one for Four Elements (www.fourelementsconservation.org).
On a different note, when I served as a councillor on the Durban Youth Council in 2014 I organised a project called, Kindness is the Language. This project involved me getting the public involved with recording audio books for blind children in three different languages.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I have worked closely with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for the Bearded Vulture Project. My school has allowed me to present my ideas in a public forum and supported my environmental ventures. I was on the board of Synchronicity Earth as a youth advisor and they also encouraged my environmental initiatives. Philippa Hankinson has been an incredible mentor in supporting my ideas and giving invaluable insight. I Am Water Foundation have been instrumental in the development of my confidence. Durban Surf Life Saving Club have enthusiastically got on board with my Ocean Challenge projects and Lee van Niekerk from LIV Village has given me an opportunity to reach a previously disadvantaged group of youths who are keen to make change.