November 22nd, Pretoria, South Africa 2017 – The Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF) handed over a new Ford Ranger to the WESSA Schools Program, which facilitates transformation in schools through innovative programs that offer project-based learning. The handover forms part of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s (FMCSA) commitment to the conservation and preservation of the environment in sub-Saharan Africa.
The WESSA Schools Program is divided into four pillars: Eco-Schools, School Entrepreneurship, LEAF (Learning About Forests)/ YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment) and the Energy & Water Program. Each of the pillars works with schools and teachers throughout South Africa to support and improve school curricula with regard to environmental learning and equipping children to live sustainably in the future.
“WESSA cannot work alone, we can only implement effective projects if there are partners who will work with us,” says Donovan Fullard, Head: Schools Program, WESSA. “We are grateful that the FWF has been a staunch and committed partner for many years.”
How the Ford Ranger Will Support the Project
The benefit to WESSA of taking delivery of a new Ford Ranger is being able to get to the various schools across the country. WESSA staff members often drive vehicles that are not always ideal for gravel road travel.
“Having the Ranger makes the rural schools – where our work is of the greatest value – more easily accessible. In other words, the FWF actually makes our work possible,” says Fullard.
The locally-built Ford Ranger, which is one of South Africa’s top-selling vehicles overall and in the light commercial segment, will be used to enable the project to go further and make a real impact – particularly in the remote locations often associated with conservation and environmental projects.
Ford Wildlife Foundation Dedication to Conservation
For the past 30 years, Ford Motor Company of South Africa (FMCSA) has been actively involved in the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, FMCSA has invested almost R40 million to support more than 170 conservation projects. In 2014, FMCSA established the FWF – a body that consists of FMCSA, members of Ford’s dealer network, and experts from the wildlife conservation sector.
The FWF is unique as it does not provide a cash donation to the conservation projects it supports, instead Ford’s partner organizations are equipped with Ford Rangers. The vehicles provided are used to help project operations, such as transporting field equipment, helping vets reach sick or poached animals, or translocating the animals themselves. The vehicles operating in all FWF projects are monitored and serviced by Ford’s extensive dealer network to ensure they operate at peak efficiency.
Since 2014, the FWF has invested R8 million in vehicles and vehicle services to support 23 conservation projects in South Africa. In 2017 alone, Ford Rangers at a total value of R5.3 million have been handed over to partner organizations to support their work in the field.