Eastern Cape Project Transforming Lives

agriculture job creation community empowerment
Wednesday, 9 April, 2014 - 10:31

This article highlights the successes of agriculturally-focused projects that have created an opportunity for underprivileged people to support and sustain themselves

East London based rural development project, gains recognition for its pioneering work.

Indibano, an economic development implementation organisation, is achieving significant results across the Eastern Cape by creating opportunities that enable underprivileged people to support and sustain themselves. Indibano’s collaborative efforts with the Kula Investment Group, Phambili Vuma Investments and   PriceWaterHouse Coopers, has initiated several agriculturally-focused projects that promise to have a lasting impact in rural parts of the region.

What sets them apart from the many similar projects doing good work is Indibano’s use of a three-fold partnership between the community, corporate role-players and government. This model has proven well-suited to rural solutions that require long-term commitment, entrepreneurial energy and meet a real market need. The ethos behind this rural self-help model is that: 

  • If community members become aware of their problems and are given sufficient information on which to base their decisions (awareness);
  • Are allowed to plan and implement projects for themselves (action planning);
  • Are given the space to experiment to find the most appropriate solution (resourcefulness);

They will take responsibility for their situation (responsibility); and thereby gain confidence in their ability to solve their own problems (self-esteem).

"Our main objective is to provide strategic planning and collaboration skills that will enable an effective delivery vehicle for wealth creation within rural communities. This is underpinned by an entrepreneurial approach, which helps to ensure sustainable results,” explains Indibano’s Sibongile Tabata.

Although Indibano is making strides in helping the historically-disadvantaged, the reality is that just like many similar organisations, it is faced with constant challenges that make it difficult to carry out its agendas. Chief among these is a lack of proper support and funding. “Equipping community-based enterprises to develop, operate, compete and maintain a commercial business is an overarching challenge to poverty alleviation, wealth creation and economic growth and development in South Africa,” says Catherine Wijnberg, founder of enterprise development agency, Fetola, and also director of Indibano,.

Indibano is inspired by business models in South Africa where communities and their chiefs have capitalised on commercialising their natural resource endowments, including land, minerals and livestock. The Bafokeng Community in Rustenburg (mining), the Ncera Communities in East London (macadamia nuts) and the Zulukama communities in Queenstown (livestock) are some of the communities that have inspired the Indibano model for development.

As a result, Indibano has strong relations with various traditional leaders around the Eastern Cape and the capacity to design, fundraise and implement large scale projects, using communities’ natural resources, where communities partner with the private sector in owning and operating these projects.

“Traditional leaders own stretches of undeveloped land, so we try to work with them for wealth creation, and the idea is to  go for large-scale agricultural development projects and set-up abattoirs, shearing  and dairy facilities,” explains Lindiwe Hendricks, founding member of Indibano.

Since Indibano started operating, at least seven villages now have shearing sheds. Furthermore, there are currently another seven projects providing young people from the region with training in sheep shearing, corporate governance and skills development.

“We hope the youth we support make agriculture their career of choice, in which case they will look at how they can process wool and build a bigger industry. It must not be just something they fall back on,” concludes Hendricks with a smile.

Indibano expects to achieve the upgrade of 36 Operational Shearing Sheds, empowering the youth with their own stock and full training for youth shearers and sorters, leading to 72 permanent job opportunities, 648 seasonal jobs and the production of quality wool for commercial trading by the youth cooperatives. A South African, if not a world first, and one that will hopefully encourage rural youth to remain in the wool-producing industry!

To learn more about Indibano or to offer support contact Sibongile Tabata at sibongile@indibano.za.org.

- Abram Molelemane is media coordinator at Fetola.

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