Community development work continues in 2016
RuLIV has continued important organisational development support to community-based organisations in the eastern region of the Province.
This work is aimed at further strengthening community’s governing institutions together with their ability to build their capacity to broker agreements independently to further their future development, says RuLIV’s OD specialist and community development facilitation manager, Fuzile Zethu.
Communities include Cata and St Matthews near Keiskammahoek, Ndlambe which is part of the Tyefu Irrigation Scheme communities near Committee’s Drift and Peddie and the Ngxutyana ICDP Formulation Project in the Mbashe District.
The RuLIV support in Ndlambe also includes providing mentoring services on the implementation of the ICDP focusing on village governance and two development sectors, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Education.
In St Matthews the support includes the formulation of the ICDP.
The SURUDEC Model is being replicated in Ward 23 of the Mbhashe Local Municipality where the process plans for the formulation of the Ward Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Sector Plan and Ngxutyana Village ICDP Formulation Project is progressing well, Zethu added.
RuLIV applies and promotes participatory approaches to its development practice, with a focus on building social capital resulting in empowered and informed communities.
Key to this orientation, RuLIV focuses on the asset-based development approach by building on and enhancing client communities’ inherent strengths through the application of meta planning, asset-based training and capacity development.
As a registered non-profit organisation, RuLIV actively seeks opportunities for partnerships in scaling up good practise and sustainable development to the benefit of all of the Provinces’ citizens.
RuLIV administering BOSS Gaming CSI programme
Thousands of vulnerable children, the sick and the elderly will continue to benefit from a corporate social investment (CSI) programme across the province this year.
RuLIV has partnered with BOSS Gaming in administering funds from the company’s gaming operations by identifying and disbursing funding for the needs of small projects and charities which assist the some of the most vulnerable groupings.
BOSS Gaming, a leading gaming and betting company in the Eastern Cape, strongly believes that it has a fundamental responsibility to improve the quality of life of the underprivileged in South Africa. The CSI programme is aimed at making a positive, sustainable and measurable impact on local communities which are situated in the company’s operating area, through investing in and improving the quality of life in identified communities.
The project operates in the four cities where the Boss Gaming Group (Bingo Royale) has operating licenses including: Mthatha, both metropoles of Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela and Jefferys Bay.
- The following are some of the organisations that have benefitted from the programme in 2015:
Zingisa Rehabilitation & Home Based Care Centre, Mthatha: Tables and chairs
- Child Abuse Resource Centre, Mthatha: Desktop computers
- Empilweni Home for the Aged, Mthatha: Gardening equipment and inputs
- Khwezi Lokusa Rehabilitation and Development Society, Mthatha: Solar water heating geysers and funding for food needs
- Bethany Children’s Home, Mthatha: Repairs to organisational vehicle
- Ibandla LaseMthini, Mthatha: fencing material
- Mthatha Women’s Support Centre: stove, fridge, chest freezer and other kitchen appliances
- Khayalethu Special School, East London: gardening equipment
- Beacon Bay Baptist Church, Sophumelela clinic in Nompumelelo, EL: food parcels for the indigent
- Ethembeni Old Age Home, EL: Desktop computer, bedding and paint
- Khulani Community Care School, Reeston: Gardening equipment
- Masizakhe Children’s Home, Mdantsane: School bags and school shoes
- Gwebindlala HIV/AIDS Organisation, Duncan Village: Seedlings and home-based-care kits
- Child Welfare Society, EL: A desktop computer
- High Transmission Area Project: EL: Playground equipment in the children’s play ground area
- Khulani Day Care Centre, EL: After learning that they had lost their roof in storms, assistance was provided to build a stronger structure for the day care
- RuLIV is currently facilitating support to a number of organisations in Jeffreys Bay, which will continue in 2016
Through this project, explains RuLIV’s project manager Mandla Khumsha, an inventory of social initiatives and particularly socially marginalised organisations has been developed together with documented needs, contributions and support facilitation together with regular reports on measurable impacts.
Khumsha said this has involved building and maintaining databases, designing selection criteria based on prescribed focus areas, conducting needs assessments, verification and the important facilitation of support required and delivery together with ongoing monitoring.
For more information on this programme, contact Mandla Khumsha on firstname.lastname@example.org
RuLIV’s well established organic garden hitting top gear
The organic garden at the back of RuLIV’s Southernwood premises is growing from strength to strength with a tilapia fish tank, from which nutrient waste will be used to irrigate the garden.
Currently the pool holds around 650 juvenile tilapia (called fingerlings), which will reach maturity in just under twelve months at just under a kilogram, says garden manager, Vincent Heathcote.
With capacity standing at around 1 200, there are plans to increase the amount of fish and aquaculture waste in the near future, once the first pilot batch of fish have settled and lessons learnt documented, Heathcote added.
The idea is that fish waste and decaying fish food particles in the tank water contains helpful bacteria and trace nutrients that plants thrive on. Nutrients include the elements of Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Potassium and Iron.
Taking off the fish waste benefits the fish as well as, left in the tank, the waste can become toxic to the fish as it decays. Basically it works by the fish waste being broken down by nitrification bacteria into nitrates – essential nutrients for plants.
Aquaponics is not new, the Aztec in South America grew produce on floating islands dredged from surrounding lake shallows and these ancient methods are still used in Mexico today. Similarly, people living in South East Asia grew rice in paddies along with fish centuries ago.
For an interesting video on New Yorkers using fish for irrigating urban gardens in the Bronx click on: Fish farming in a high rise world (BBC)
On the garden side, seasonal crops include: green peppers, spinach, beetroot, sweet potatoes, spring and bunching onions, beans, rhubarb, eggplant, chillies, herbs such as thyme, wild garlic, basil and parsley.
The garden has a healthy worm farm as well which is used for irrigation and natural pest control. Companion plants such as marigolds, wild garlic, comfrey, roman chamomile and feverfew also bolster the efforts to deter pests.
There are plans to look at the feasibility of adding rabbits to the mix in the future, as their manure is also rich in nutrients.
Members of the public are welcome to visit and purchase fresh produce. RuLIV also supplied vegetable to charities and homes for the indigent in and around East London.
The principles and concept behind the garden
The RuLiv garden uses agroecological methods in growing its produce. Heathcote explains agroecological production as applying ecological principles to agriculture or gardening practices. This way of gardening avoids the use of toxic petrochemical fertilisers and pesticides.
RuLIV first saw agroecological principles in action while visiting both large and small-scale urban agriculture gardens in Cuba a few years back, in which closed systems were used for all the gardens’ needs. These gardens, called organoponicos in Spanish, have spread all over Cuba with the NGO called the Cuban Association of Agriculture and Forestry Technicians (Asociacion Cubana de Tecnicos Agricolas y Forestales or ACTAF), which works to promote reforestation and urban agriculture with some 25 000 affiliated professionals and around 2000 organisations, providing technical assistance.
In the meantime the RuLIV garden is flourishing under the care of Heathcote, Phindiswa Nami and Mzikayise Fisa. New plantings take place continually, taking advantage of our extended growing season in this frost free area.
One of the main thrusts in establishing the garden said Heathcote is for the garden to act as a demonstration and training site to empower small-scale farmers and urban gardeners through exposure to agroecological gardening practices.
These practices promote farmer/gardener control using low input agricultural production methods with virtually no reliance on artificial inputs, creating a sustainable ecosystem and eliminating environmental pollution.
This can result in meaningful empowerment of communities in that people are able to control their own food production processes becoming independent of expensive inputs with the added benefit of improved health. The idea behind the training aspect is that this garden will be used to promote voluntary gardener-to-gardener knowledge exchange, increasing participation of all interest groups and encouraging local partnerships.
RuLIV partnered with DSD on food security
RuLIV implemented the Department of Social Development’s food security programme in 2015 by establishing food distribution centres and procuring, storing and distributing food to
Community Food and Nutrition Centres around the Province.
Khaya George, who managed the initiative on behalf of RuLIV said the project consisted of buying food in bulk, storing or warehousing it adequately, then delivering it Nutrition and Development Centres, currently at just under 20 around the province.
A warehouse in Fort Jackson is used and a fleet of trucks deliver the food to Community Food Depots, and then onto Community Food and Nutrition Development Centres (CNDCs), where the food is processed and cooked into nutritious meals for communities in need.
George said the bulk food was sourced from emerging food producers and contractors in an effort at transforming the sector and making sure that emerging firms get the business.
Sourced food items included frozen meats such as chicken and beef, maize meal, vegetables, fruit, rice, beans and legumes.
About the programme
An earlier General Households Survey indicated that hunger and malnutrition were widespread in South Africa and that food security problems were most prevalent in North West where 32,9% of households had inadequate or severely inadequate food access, followed by Northern Cape (29,7%), Mpumalanga (26,1%), Eastern Cape (25%), Free State (22,6%) and Western Cape (22,4%).
The scope of work includes:
- Establishment of a Provincial Food Distribution Centers (PFDCs) in the province
- Support and operationalise the Community Food Depots
- Support a minimum of 8 Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs) in the province
- Linking the Community Food Depots to the feeding programmes (CNDCs) in the province
- Bulk Procurement of food from local food producers
- Acquisition of capital assets for the programme
- Ensure proper management of the programme in the province
- Technical support for programme implementation in the province
- Project administration, staffing and human resource management.
2014 in review
Welcome to 2015 from management and staff at RuLIV. In this post we will reflect on some of 2014’s activities.
Over the year RuLIV took part in joint initiatives such as public seminars and round-table discussions such as a dialogue on land reform addressed by Professor Ruth Hall from the Programme of Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS). The event was a joint initiative of RuLIV, the Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council (ECSECC), the University of Fort Hare and the Eastern Cape Today newspaper. A similar address was also given at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth.
In another initiative, RuLIV finance and administration manager Mandla Khumsha is assisting in building organisational and business skills in a small furniture manufacturing business in Stutterheim, which is training local residents in furniture making aimed at making them employable and giving them a leg-up into entrepreneurial activities.
Khumsha sits on the board of Abenzi Woodhouse, a NGO and section 21 SMME initiated by Aspire and the Amahlathi Municipality. He chairs the audit and finance committee and actively assists in building financial and managerial skills.
The company trains people in furniture making skills from surrounding areas including Keiskammahoek and Kei Road. The company takes in around 30 trainees at a time, using the small incubator model to foster and build business and entrepreneurial skills.
Practical skills are also taught such as welding and woodworking and all trainees graduate with a certificate. The enterprise is currently planning to work towards getting the training accredited and recognised by the Department of Education and the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
RuLIV has also embarked on an exciting initiative – an organic garden at the backyard of its Southernwood premises. (The story of the start of the garden will follow in the next post).
RuLIV also hosted a seminar on social movements in which representatives of the Brazilian Landless People’s Movement addressed audience of activists, development practitioners, trade unionists and academics.
With the SURUDEC close out phase coming to an end, RuLIV said goodbye to some full-time and part-time staff members, although some will continue their association with RuLIV in 2015 conducting project piece work as and when required.
Can we do better with Land Restitution and farm worker rights?
In a recent Public Dialogue here hosted by Ruliv, ECSECC and the Fort Hare Institute of Economic and Social Research (FHISER) Professor Ruth Hall from the Programme of Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) asked whether new government measures will meet the needs of rural people in protecting their land rights.