We all need good news stories, which is one of the reasons I love working with MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and learning about the difference that they are making. Not only by allowing us to support the charities of our choice by swiping as we shop, but also with the various campaigns that they run throughout the year. The latest to be celebrated is how the MyPlanet Rhino Fund is helping in the fight against rhino poaching.
MyPlanet Rhino Fund
In the past years the MyPlanet Rhino Fund, which is administered by the Endangered Wildlife Trust, has donated more than R3.5 million to nine different non-profit organisations engaged in rhino conservation. More than R1.4 million was allocated to SANParks Kruger National Park enabling them to buy a brand-new FOXBAT light aircraft. The more cost-effective FOXBAT will play an essential role in monitoring rhinos, identifying and responding to threats, and ensuring that Kruger’s anti-poaching units can meet force with force when it comes to increasingly sophisticated gangs of rhino poachers. In the face of the terrible, ongoing onslaught, the Kruger National Park remains home to the largest remaining populations of Africa’s iconic rhinos.
The MyPlanet Rhino Fund has announced its donations for 2018, and thanks to around 34 000 supporters swiping their MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cards at participating retailers, R2 940 000 was raised over the past year. This is vital funding to help boost rhino protection across South Africa. While there has been a slight decline in the numbers of rhino poached over the past two years, the country still loses on average three scarce rhinos each day, and both Black and White rhinos remain threatened with extinction in the wild.
“It is with great appreciation that SANParks has received the news that the MyPlanet Rhino Fund will be donating a FOXBAT A22LS aircraft,” says Steven Whitfield, Marula North Regional Ranger in the Kruger National Park and also pilot responsible for piloting the new aircraft and project.
“Over the last few years, we have had great success due to our deployment of aircraft piloted by rangers over the vastness of Kruger. Aircraft have become irreplaceable assets enabling quick response and support to poaching incidents. They are vital for combatting poaching on many levels; improving monitoring, identifying high-risk areas, patrolling remote areas inaccessible by vehicle and foot, and enhancing our rapid detection and response capabilities as poaching trends shift.”
The My Planet Rhino Fund Foxbat will be based at Satara, in a newly built hangar that was jointly funded between MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and StopRhinoPoaching.com. “The hangar which will house the new aircraft will greatly enhance the airwing capability in this region of the Kruger National Park. The construction demonstrates what can be achieved with the collaborative effort of organisations working together,” says Elise Serfontein, Founding Director of StopRhinoPoaching.com.
Conservationist and MyPlanet Rhino Fund Ambassador, Braam Malherbe says, “It’s incredible for citizen-driven fundraising to result in the much-needed donation of a state-of-the-art aircraft. For me, this is the proof that each person’s seemingly small contribution to conservation can result in a big impact. I am proud to see how my partnership with MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet makes a real difference, not only as an Ambassador but as an individual shopper. When you think you are ‘only one person’, consider that these donations were made possible by individuals who simply chose to act and swipe their cards for the MyPlanet Rhino Fund every time they shopped. I encourage many more South African shoppers to join us.”
Braam Malherbe says, “It’s incredible for citizen-driven fundraising to result in the much-needed donation of a state-of-the-art aircraft. For me, this is the proof that each person’s seemingly small contribution to conservation can result in a big impact.”
Rhino killings in the Kruger National Park have marginally declined over the past two years, but poaching has unfortunately increased in other areas. The MyPlanet Rhino Fund has also made donations of over R500 000 each to the rhino conservation initiatives of Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape and the Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust in the North-West Province. Balule Nature Reserve in Limpopo has received R371 400 in support of its K9 anti-poaching and community outreach initiatives.
Education and the development of future conservation leaders are other important elements in sustaining the country’s efforts to protect rhinos. This year, the MyPlanet Rhino Fund is continuing its support of the Lapalala Wilderness School and Rhino Revolution’s Green Kidz programmes which raise awareness and involve the youth from vulnerable communities in rhino conservation education. Effective rhino conservation also demands the optimal use of data, and the remaining 2018 funds have been allocated to Endangered Wildlife Trust and Southern African Wildlife College projects that are focused on improving data analysis and developing a software tool to facilitate greater information sharing, gathering and reporting.
“Supporters of the MyPlanet Rhino Fund can feel very proud of themselves,” says MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet General Manager, Pieter Twine. “For 21 years we have been raising funds for schools and charities, and over the past seven years, I am proud to see how South African shoppers have stood up for rhinos, a national icon. Their support is phenomenal, and an inspiration to others who also want to play a part in protecting these fantastic animals who are an integral part of our national heritage”
Sign up for your free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card and make MyPlanet Rhino Fund one of your beneficiaries. Every time you swipe at a participating retailer, they make a donation on your behalf, at no cost to you.
MyPlanet Rhino Fund
The MyPlanet Rhino Fund was established in April 2011 with just 15 supporters and raised R83.00 in its first month. Now seven years later it has raised over R9,7 million for rhino conservation and has over 34 000 supporters. The fund is administered by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the funding is allocated through a review process to worthy rhino conservation initiatives and organisations which are in desperate need of financial assistance and who have shown proven best practices and sustainability. The review panel consisting of independent interested and affected parties from various stakeholder groups.
About MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet
The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet loyalty programme is one of South Africa’s biggest community fundraising initiatives and multi-partner loyalty programme. We raise essential funds for schools, charities, community organisations, animal welfare- and environmental organisations through an easy system that doesn’t cost our supporters a cent. Simply sing up for a free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card, swipe when you shop at our retail partner stores, and they will give back a percentage of your purchases, on your behalf, to the beneficiary of your choice. The system allows cardholders to make a difference to a worthy cause that they care about without it costing them a cent. The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme raises more than R6 million per month, thanks to its supporters.
How does MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet work?
1.2 Million South Africans carry MySchool cards. Supporters apply for a free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card and can select up to 3 schools and/or charities as their beneficiary/ies. When they purchase items from participating retailers they swipe the card with the purchase. A small percentage of their transaction is then allocated to their beneficiary school or charity. The partner stores pay the donation on behalf of the cardholder. All these transactions are recorded and a statement is sent to individual supporters on a monthly basis. The supporter card is not a credit or debit card but simply tracks transactions and funds raised.
MyVillage and MyPlanet
While originally the MySchool programme was exclusive to schools and only schools could sign up as beneficiaries, the programme has been extended to include charitable organisations and other worthy causes. MyVillage organisations are charities that care for people; MyPlanet organisations care for animals and the planet.
Getting a card
In order to become a supporter, simply get a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card for free and select the schools or charities you wish to support. You can register online at www.myschool.co.za, call 0860 100 445, download the app or get a card at your local Woolworths store. It’s quick and easy. This post is published in collaboration with MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet.