Chess 4 The Environment

A innovative project that drives climate change and biodiversity education programs through youth playing chess

Why Chess?

Chess has been referred to as the gymnasium of the mind and stimulates critical thinking.
Most conservation space resides in rural areas and with an ever-growing population, conservation has become a social challenge, not one of saving wildlife and ecosystems.
Conservation education requires learners to understand complex concepts that includes working within the biodiversity economy.
But rather one of evolving the mindset of communities to understand how they too can live in harmony with the natural space they share.

Our Challenge

Begins with working with local rural communities who neighbour conservation spaces. They impact on natural spaces like Shongweni Nature Reserve through their demand for resources: poaching wildlife for food, cutting trees for firewood and taking other species for use in an unsustainable way.
Our second is understanding these communities, communities that suffer in poverty-stricken 3rd world conditions. Rural poverty generates very low education with no access to basic resources like water, electricity or sanitary living conditions. Many households rely on 1 family member to support 8-10 dependants.
And so, thirdly the challenge lies in changing their lifestyles. To provide an alternative source of access to resources that can generate an income for their families. We call this circular economies, within the biodiversity economy. A successful circular economy gets us closer to sustainability – the ultimate goal.
To conquer our challenges we must create future thinkers. Teaching youth requires our conservation education initiative to engage with this youth that exists in the rural communities that lives around Shongweni Nature Reserve. What better way to begin than over a chess board!

Our Strategy

To teach youth in rural areas how to play chess, with the vision of vision seeing these youth playing chess in their communities , rather than becoming gangsters.
To employ Chess tutors to inspire the youth within these communities.
To generate a class of artisans (wood turners) who make chess sets from alien species . This woodturning skill will enable these woodturners to make other products, such as furniture pieces.
To inspire to become our collaboration partner in this initiative, and for chess players across the world to purchase the chess sets the woodturners make to sustain this initiative.

The Outcome

Youth residing in rural communities neighbouring conservation spaces will learn to play chess.
Youth Learning to play chess enables our conservation education programs to engage with the youth pro-actively.
The Chess4theEnvironment initiative will also offer these youth an alternative pass time, other than being drawn into gangster lifestyle.
With this program, youth will get access to structured tutoring sessions, simple meals like soup and simple aftercare.
The initiative will develop new skills: Woodturners.
These skills will generate an income for that local rural person, thus alleviating poverty.
Using alien species of wood (bio-mass beneficiation) to make these chess pieces is up-cycling (Taking a resource that will be discarded and creating a value from it).
This circular economy is critical to the biodiversity conservation process and ultimately climate control.
It fulfils a critical process the IUCN is calling for GLOBALLY
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Creating greener minds

Beaded chess boards will be available to buy soon,
where 100% of the profits will support a young person through the educational program