The Voice is Female · Outdoor Education Hub in South Africa

Kilian Jornet Fundation
March 15, 2023
Kilian Jornet Fundation
March 15, 2023

Interviewing Shafeeqah Gordon. Empowering women in South Africa.

What is the Outdoor Education Hub? How did it begin?

Outdoor Education Hub is an initiative focusing on equipping people with the correct knowledge and educational tools pertaining to the outdoors. We aim to make the outdoors a fun and safe space for everyone to enjoy, whilst still being educational. After covid, there was a massive influx of outdoor users. This was great, but not all were educated to know the right and wrongs of the outdoors. We often came across people on the trail asking for directions in bad weather with the inappropriate gear. Or people disregarding nature as a whole. The Outdoor Education Hub was born out of necessity.

What is the main goal for the Outdoor Education Hub?

Our main goal is to lay a foundation on which future generations of budding outdoor enthusiasts could build a solid and lasting outdoor culture.

Where is the project based?

Cape Town, Western Cape

How did the Outreach Programme start?

I wanted to give back to the community I grew up in. I too, once was a teenage girl from the Cape Flats with inaccessibility to the trails.

Which is the main goal of this project?

To make the outdoors accessible to young women who have limited opportunities or may come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Who are you trying to reach with this program?

Our main focus is uplifting young women from the Cape Flats however, we are open to helping and including other women who might be experiencing cultural/societal issues.

Which are the main barriers women face when going outdoors in South Africa?

Safety and harassment from men.

You are also working with some circularity in equipment, trying to receive equipment donations to give it to those women who may need it. How did this idea come up?

I believe in sustainability and try and practice this in my day to day life. The correct outdoor gear is also quite expensive which these girls would not be able to afford as they are from low income households. It only made sense to reach out to the community. People are always willing to help and finding second homes for these clothing and gear means less waste.

Within the organization, did you manage to do some other actions to reverse the effects of climate change?

We have done beach and trail clean ups in the past. We are planning a tree planting day in the next couple of months.