RAD is committed to conservation of the Rocklands wilderness, and to the creation of benefits for the local communities. In the three years since RAD’s inception, we have worked in collaboration with representatives from the climbing world, and from all of the community groups in Rocklands in order to properly understand what is needed and come up with creative solutions. We have a number of projects on the go and in the pipeline (see projects page), but there is a more far-reaching strategy for which we continue to lobby financial support.
A summary of our overall objectives:
DEALING WITH CONSERVATION CHALLENGES:
The climbing community has changed over time. With the growth, there are many newer climbers, with little outdoor experience or knowledge of proper land ethos. This IS having an impact on the land – from improper “toilet” action to broken trees and foliage. From erosion caused by pad dragging to breaking and moving of rocks, to destruction of San paintings. The impact on the land needs to be contained. Keeping it clean is our collective responsibility, but RAD is striving to help by providing guideline information, doing clean-ups, helping to clean up paths and signage, and generally fostering awareness. Our next big step will be training and equipping of local wilderness and heritage guides and rescue teams.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND PARTICPATION OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES:
In this time of social and economic transformation for South Africa, the greatest opportunity presented to the area, by climbers, is for resident local communities to start participating on an independent economic level. This is the area in which RAD is working hardest. Over three years, we have developed a broad strategy to create economic opportunity and inclusion for the communities of Rocklands. While we lobby for support, we have also helped initiate some small businesses (and provide logistical support). We are now also well on our way to the construction of a community hall and creche, which will provide essential infrastructure for many of the projects that we (and the communities) have proposed.
OUTREACH TO LOCAL KIDS (CLIMBING AND BEYOND):
Within Rocklands, there are many children and young adults who enjoy bouldering and climbing. Currently, the Rocklands Rangers sports programme has scaled back to an elementary weekly training programme for all the children who remain after school, at Elizabethfontein Primary School (our local farm school, attended by about 250 children from Rocklands and beyond), plus occasional bouldering and sports climbing with different groups of children and young adults in the Rocklands valley. We also have weekly yoga classes at Eliabethfontein Primary School. These initiatives are sorely in need of some energy and contribution in the form of TIME, from local and international climbers – or anyone else with a skill to teach the kids. On another note, in 2019 we started working with mothers from the community to create an Early Childhood Development programme (with creche) – the construction of the building is also one of our upcoming projects.