Groen Sebenza

‘’Catalysing access to Employment and Job Creation in Ecosystem Management’’

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has embarked on a major skills development and job creation pilot programme, Groen Sebenza, a Jobs Fund Partnership Project funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). Groen Sebenza is aimed at developing priority skills in the biodiversity sector to create sustainable job opportunities for 800 unemployed graduates and non-graduates (school leavers with a matric certificate). Groen Sebenza which means Green (in Afrikaans) and Work (in isiZulu) brings young South Africans from previously disadvantaged backgrounds together with experienced biodiversity professionals to learn, grow and eventually gain the competence and confidence to embark on rewarding and meaningful biodiversity careers. The programme partners with 43 organisations from all tiers of government, NGO’s and the private sector. 

The human capital development strategy for the Biodiversity sector indicates that South Africa has a shortage of skills to manage its biodiversity coupled with historical inequalities in the sector. The programme has been initiated to respond to a demand in the sector identified by the various research efforts conducted in the sector. 

Groen Sebenza was officially launched by the honourable Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, on 08 June 2013. Read more about the launch here.

The Groen Sebenza opportunity

Groen Sebenza is based on an “incubator model” giving 800 participating youth workplace experience through a structured mentoring programme, together with skills development and training opportunities for a period of two-and-a-half (2½)  years. Five hundred and fifty-five (555) graduates and 245 school leavers (with matric certificate) referred to as ‘pioneers’ will be placed with one of the 44 partner organisations for the duration of the project. The project commenced in May 2013 and will come to an end in December 2015.

Criteria used for recruitment:

  • Unemployed youth
  • Previously disadvantaged individuals.
  • South African citizenship.
  • Primary residence and schooling in rural areas.
  • 50/50 gender split.
  • A national matriculation certificate for the School leaver placement.
  • A national diploma or first B-degree for the Graduate placement.
  • A demonstrated and clearly articulated commitment to the environment.
  • A commitment to a career development in the environmental sector.
  • Good leadership potential.

The following organisations, institutions and government departments are host institutions to the 800 ‘pioneers’:


SANBI - South African National Biodiversity Institute

Department of Environmental Affairs – Sector Education, Training & Development; Natural Resource Management

South African National Parks



Western Cape:

Cape Nature

City Of Cape Town

Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve

NCC Environmental Services

Gondwana Alive

Conservation SA

Botanical Society of SA

Chrysalis Academy


Wildlands Conservation Trust

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

D.U.C.T - Duzi uMngeni Conservation Trust


Eastern Cape:

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

Rhodes University

ECPTA-Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism 

Living Lands


SA Wilderness Foundation


EWT - Endangered Wildlife Trust

City of Tshwane

Ekurhuleni Municipality 

Midvaal Municipality

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

Northern Cape:

Department of Environment and Nature Conservation

Indigo-Development & Change

EMG - Environmental Monitoring Group


LEDET-Limpopo Department of Economic Development Environment & Tourism

Waterberg Biosphere Reserve


SA Wildlife College

North West


Free State                      


Dihlabeng Local Municipality F/State; Nketoana Local Municipality F/State; Setsoto Local Municipality F/State




The Programme is governed by a Project Steering Committee which consists of senior representatives from the 43 Partner organisations or government departments as well as a Programme Management Committee.

The programme management unit consist of the following staff members: 

Ms Vivian Malema (Project Director)

Mr Donavan Fullard (National Programme Manager)

Ms Rachel Balie (Regional co-ordinator-WCape, NCape and FState)

Mr Mongezi Langa (KZN, E Cape)

Mr Setlakalane Mokou (HR officer)

The following Task Teams have been set up to assist the Project with implementation.

  • Incubator Task Team(Mentoring and Training)
  • Recruitment, Selection and Placement
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Communications and Marketing

The programme has currently filled all 800 positions and interested youth should watch the website in future for possible vacancies.

Contact  or call 012 843 5101 if you have further enquiries about Groen Sebenza.

To see if there are Groen Sebenza jobs advertised at present, check the Jobs & Opportunities page.

Last updated on 10 July 2015
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