• Masebola Donates to the MRCB

    Leading by example, the regional director of education in the Kgatleng District in Botswana, Sir Wonder Masebola, has pledged P5 000 towards the building of five classroom blocks at the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind (MRCB).

    Masebola notes that the centre’s appeal to the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana bore fruit when the company donated over P1 million.

    Masebola says in the coming financial year, approximately P800 000 will be used to purchase Braille computers and musical equipment, while the remaining amount will be used to construct the music block.

    As a nonprofit organisation, the centre depends on donations from government, corporates and individuals to survive.

    To read the article titled, “Centre of the blind fundraising gets financial boost,” click here.

    The Monitor
  • TAC to Raise R10m to Remain Open

    The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) plans to raise R10 million in November 2014 to keep the organisation afloat, the organisation is relying on public donations, hoping big funders will then follow.

    Mark Heywood, one of TAC’s directors states that, “The TAC thinks there is a red light over the country's response to the HIV epidemic," following recent statistics released by the Human Sciences Research Council, which show that in 767 people died each day in South Africa from AIDS related illnesses in 2012, 280,000 in a year.

    Speaking after a national council meeting, the health advocacy group emphasised the ongoing struggles in the health system and outlined TAC's work and key campaigns, assuring that, "TAC will always remain a voice of the voiceless people of South Africa."

    To read the article titled, “TAC's critical R10-million month,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Sustainability Institute: Operations Administrator - iShack Project

    Sustainability Institute
    Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
    Opportunity closing date: 
    Friday, May 30, 2014
    Opportunity type: 
    The Sustainability Institute is an international living and learning centre located outside Stellenbosch.The Sustainability Institute provides a space for people to explore an approach to creating a more equitable society that lives in a way that sustains rather than destroys the eco-system within which all society is embedded.

    The iShack Project is a large-scale enterprise and capacity building program of the Sustainability Institute that delivers household solar electrification in an informal settlement in Stellenbosch. We are seeking to employ an efficient and highly organised team-worker with good administrative and systems skills to maintain and develop the daily operational systems, procedures and databases. This includes stock and client-data management, recordkeeping, basic bookkeeping and database management. The Operations Administrator will be based at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch and will work closely with the Operations and Field Managers in the execution of this function. 

    The iShack Project is a well-funded enterprise-based development project. A small team of residents, called “iShack Agents” from within the target community (Enkanini, an informal settlement in Stellenbosch), are recruited, trained and supported to deliver pay-for-use solar electricity services to residents living Enkanini. The project aims to develop technical capacity and enterprise skills in informal settlements in order to support a process of bottom-up incremental improvements in housing and services over time. The iShack Agents are undergoing a long-term program of training (technical, marketing and business skills, etc), with a view to eventually graduating to become iShack “Hub Operators”. These Hub Operators will eventually run their own iShack micro-franchise, each servicing a designated group of iShack Clients to provide a durable energy service to the community.

    Solar Home Systems (SHS) are installed, by the iShack Agents, in the shacks of iShack Clients. The clients pay a joining fee and a monthly fee for the energy service. The revenues from the project ensure the sustainable maintenance and operations of the energy service. Each SHS can generate sufficient energy to power basic household appliances such as lights, TV’s, radios and DVD players.

    The Sustainability Institute seeks to appoint an Operations Administrator - iShack Project, based in Stellenbosch.

    The person will report to the Operations Manager.

    This is a 36 hours per week (4.5 days x 8 hours per day) contract with possibility of working on weekends and after hours.  

    This is a renewable, one-year contracted position.

    The Operations Administrator will manage a set evolving systems and procedures that keep track of client information, stock and sales and other financial records. The Operations Administrator is also responsible for various operations and quality management tasks. The project is highly reliant on accurate and up to date information which is the responsibility of the Operations Administrator.

    The Operations Administrator role is well suited to an energetic, highly efficient and focused person with strong attention to detail and excellent organisational, multi-tasking and time management skills in order to prioritise tasks whilst juggling a demanding workload; and an ability to meet and adapt positively to the changing administrative needs of an exciting and innovative project. The successful candidate will have a proven ability to work intelligently with systems that are still in development, understand the purpose of these systems and ensure that they are well implemented to meet the needs of the project. Accurate data-capturing, while vital, is not the only function of the role.

    The successful candidate will be able to track information across a system; to draw up reconciliations and reports and to identify gaps or inconsistencies in data and to efficiently resolve these. A very strong working knowledge of Excel is thus essential.


    There are six main areas where the Operations Administrator has responsibilities:
    1. Database Management and Recordkeeping – management of key project databases with accurate hardcopy records ensuring up-to-date information integrity across client and inventory databases.
    2. Stock Control – oversight over the receipt and dispatch of stock, and the troubleshooting and reconciliation of any differences, to ensure that all project stock is always accounted for.
    3. Client Sales – daily oversight over client electricity sales on an internet-based platform and the rapid resolution of any problems (please note that during the first few months of the appointment this role will require updating transaction databases for a few minutes each morning and afternoon - including weekends - until such time as this function is automated).
    4. Financial Administration – managing project petty cash and preparing a set of basic month-end general journal entries and reports; reconciling monthly sales data and drawing up agent commission reconciliations.
    5. Project Support – preparing and arranging any necessary items that the field or office team may require (e.g. spares, documents, stationery); scheduling regular and ad hoc meetings and preparing venues.
    6. Reporting Function – collating weekly and/or monthly data from systems and databases and producing simple reports in order to monitor trends, identify system weaknesses and risks and suggest possible improvements or interventions.
    The overarching goals of the role are to a) accurately and efficiently manage the information across the project in a way that ensures its integrity and reliability for operations needs and decision making purposes; and b) to support the daily operational needs of the project in a way that ensures its smooth and efficient running.

    • Tertiary education;
    • Excellent English spoken and written communication skills;
    • Minimum of five years relevant work experience;
    • Excellent organisational and multi-tasking skills and the proven capacity to juggle a demanding workload towards achievement of deadlines;
    • Exceptionally high level of accuracy in record keeping and managing information across a system;
    • High level of competence in Microsoft Office, specifically Excel and Word;
    • Understanding of basic accounting;
    • Ability to problem solve and to design effective responses to any gaps within a system or process to make them more efficient and more effective;
    • Ability to work productively with a continually adapting set of operational systems and procedures and to contribute to and respond to these adaptations enthusiastically and professionally;
    • Valid South African or International driver’s licence.
    Preferred Criteria
    • Working knowledge of isiXhosa (not essential);
    • Experience in database management;
    • Experience in operations and logistics;
    • IT skills;
    • Experience with Quality Management Systems.
    Salary: R180 000 - R216 000 per annum depending on experience and qualifications.

    Commencement: As soon as possible.

    To apply, submit a CV, contact details of referees and motivation letter to The motivation letter should be no more than two sides of A4 paper and should:
    1. Set out clearly and specifically how you meet each requirement in the Person Specification –based on real work or life experiences and referring to your previous training and qualifications. Please be as detailed as possible, providing examples and evidence where relevant, as this will be the main method that we use to assess your suitability for the position.
    2. Provide contact details of at least two referees and state your relationship with your referees
    3. State your salary expectations and the value of your last or current salary.
    4. State where you heard about the job advertisement.
    Enquiries: Andreas Keller, e-mail:

    Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.

    The Sustainability Institute is an equal opportunity employer. Preference may be given to candidates whose appointment will promote representivity.
    Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

    For more about the iShack Project, refer to

    For more about the Sustainability Institute, refer to

    For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to


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  • Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation: Senior Psychosocial Professional

    Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation
    Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
    Opportunity closing date: 
    Wednesday, April 16, 2014
    Opportunity type: 
    Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) is an innovator in preventing violence and building peaceful societies. The Centre adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to understand and prevent violence, heal its effects and build sustainable peace locally, continentally and globally.

    CSVR seeks to appoint a Senior Psychosocial Professional, based in Johannesburg.

    The successful candidate will provide an oversight of clinical system, ensure quality assurance of clinical work and provide psychosocial/therapeutic interventions to individuals, families and groups who are affected by violence and torture.

    This is a 12 month contract.

    • Provide clinical interventions to survivors of violence and torture;
    • Ensure adherence to clinical systems and procedures;
    • Engage with M&E and model refinement processes;
    • Ensure the continual improvement of the clinical systems and process;
    • Oversee case management within the clinic;
    • Capacity building activities for students and other relevant service providers;
    • Participate in developing a referral network for service providers;
    • Coach, mentorship and quality assurance of the clinical staff;
    • Liaise with external supervisors and ensure the clinical team’s adherence to individual and group supervision;
    • Facilitate linkages between clinical and community work .
    • Qualified psychologist or social worker, registered with the relevant professional body;
    • Master’s Degree in Social Work or Psychology;
    • Experience in clinical work with previous exposure to the field of traumatic stress;
    • Minimum for five years’ experience with non-governmental organisations;
    • Experience in overseeing of clinical systems, protocols and procedures;
    • Experience and exposure to M&E protocols;
    • Prior experience in providing therapy and counselling to survivors of violence and torture;
    • Good Verbal and written communications skills;
    • Experience in providing support and mentorship to other mental health/psychosocial professional;
    • Facilitation skills;
    • Analysing and problem solving skills;
    • Service orientated;
    • Counselling skills;
    • Leadership skills                  
    • Conflict Management Skills
    • Basic Human Resource Management                          
    • Planning and Organising skills
    To apply, submit a CV and motivational letter with contactable references to

    Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.

    For more about the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, refer to

    For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to


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  • 2014 - Financially Astute?

    The CMDS - a registered practice with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants which acts as accounting officers for organisations that choose not to have an independent audit - believes that 2014 is a year for leaders of nonprofit organisations (NPO) to become more financially alert and astute and so be more aware of financial dangers and pitfalls as well as new opportunities for broadening income streams and building financial sustainability.

    In these unpredictable times in the sector, it is only the organisations that have implemented good strategies for financial sustainability that will successfully ride the storms ahead. Consequently, CMDS plans to, once again, offer workshops on financial sustainability in 2014. In addition to the usual one-day workshop introducing strategies for financial sustainability, CDMS is planning an advanced workshop at which it will focus particularly on possible ‘business models’ for NPOs that focus on income generation through the provision of services, trading and investment. This workshop will consider some of the dangers and pitfalls associated with such models, as well as the opportunities.

    The CDMS will also try to ensure that NPOs are updated, through its news and the website, with the constantly changing issues related to employees' tax and the South African Revenue Services (SARS). The Employment Tax Incentive Act is one recent development which presents some opportunities for NPOs (as employers). CMDS also plans to offer information sessions related to payroll and to some of the dangers and pitfalls relating to SARS and the law. The failure to pay over Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and other taxes to SARS results in steep penalties and interest and has already caused many organisations to close its doors. Be aware, be astute - pay SARS first!

    Another issue that has tripped up some organisations has been their extensive use of cash to make payments (because they thought the use of large amounts of cash was unavoidable or enabled them to save money). The dangers and pitfalls of using cash to make payments are significant so CMDS intends, in the second half of the year, to offer its one day workshop on this topic, entitled ‘Cash and Accountability’. In dealing with cash, as with all areas of financial management, there is a cost to implementing effective control - financially astute NPO leaders need to weigh up this cost against the risks and benefits of increased control.

    Aside from these open, ‘public’ workshops, CMDS is also available to facilitate and run workshops specifically to any organisation or a group of organisations - some topics that have proved particularly popular with, and helpful for, NPOs include:
    • Financial management for project managers;
    • Risk assessment and management for NPO boards;
    • Activity-based budgeting;
    • Effective cash flow management; and
    • Understanding NPO financial reports.
    Contact CMDS if you are interested in any of these workshops.

    The open training schedule for 2014 will be finalised and available by the end of January, giving NPOs the opportunity to consider which areas of capacity development could benefit them.

    We wish you every success in 2014.

    For more information, email:

    For more about the CMDS, refer to

  • NGOs Urged to Become Social Enterprise

    As the world coffers appear to gradually dry up at a time when most non-governmental organisations are donor driven, it is about time these so-called non-profit making groups embrace the concept of social enterprise to sustain their projects.

    According to an analysis by Tonderayi Matonho, these organisations also need to build positive relations with the people and communities they have assisted for the many years they have been in existence.

    Matonho is of the view that the social enterprise concept integrates into programme activities an income generation and business model, creating complete transformation and sustainable processes.

    To read the article titled, “Donor-driven NGOs, should enterprise or they die,” click here.

    All Africa
  • SaveAct: Programme Coordinator

    Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
    Opportunity closing date: 
    Friday, October 18, 2013
    Opportunity type: 
    SaveAct is an NGO promoting group-managed financial services and sustainable livelihoods amongst vulnerable groups in the Matatiele/Mt Fletcher/Mt Frere parts of Eastern Cape and various parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

    SaveAct seeks to appoint Programme Coordinator for the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.

    SaveAct works with poor rural and peri-urban communities of South Africa to improve their livelihoods strategies through the creation of savings groups, financial education training and enterprise development support.

    The person will manage four field officers and a few partnerships. The Programme Coordinator will spend time both in the field and in the office managing the correct implementation of the programme. Preferably, s/he will be fluent in both English and IsiZulu and have a general understanding of the microfinance sector and savings groups in particular.

    The person will report to the Executive Director.

    Managing and monitoring the implementation of development projects at provincial level
    • Supervising and supporting field staff in the proper implementation and monitoring of development projects;
    • Undertaking field visits to monitor the quality of projects and field staff performance;
    • Monitoring and reporting on programme progress against targets;
    • Contributing towards funding proposals for national and international donors and ensuring that financial and reporting requirements from donors are met;
    • Developing project budgets and monitor expenditure against budgets;
    Managing and monitoring the relationships with partner organisations
    • Developing work plans for partner organisations, identifying targets and time-frames for implementation of the project’s activities;
    • Working with both qualitative and quantitative M&E tools;
    • Training field staff on data collection tools and ensuring that the data gathered is of good quality;
    • Conducting analysis of M&E data and developing reports and presentations for different stakeholders and to stimulate internal dialogue and learning.
    • Communicate to a high standard, both verbally and in writing;
    • Represent SaveAct at national and international occasions;
    • Maintain regular communication with partners and internally;
    • Travel frequently within the province and occasionally at a national level;
    • Efficient knowledge of Microsoft Office.
    To apply, submit a CV and motivation letter to

    Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.
    Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

    For more information about SaveAct refer to

    For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to


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  • Six Steps to Surviving 2013

    2012 has been a tough year for civil society. Those funding cuts that we’d been warned of since the crash in 2008, were keenly felt. The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) wrapped up its second five year programme, the Europeans curtailed their investments, the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DIFID) restructured. The retraction in international funding was exacerbated by instability in local funding as the National Lottery in trying to get its house in order, struggled to deliver on its grant mandate. Government too continued to frustrate rather than support, being slow to pay and with large underspends on its welfare budgets. Business plodded along, on hold as it waited for the new BBBEE Draft Codes to be published.

    The result is that the country may not be in recession, but it feels as if the non-profit sector is. The reality of this picture was brought to life by a recent survey by consultancy Greater Good, which interviewed over 600-plus organisations. Eighty percent of those surveyed have lost significant funding this past year, 20 percent have enough money to last another month, 17 percent have no operating cash at all. Published late last year, the report confirms my instincts - that the tough times are real, and life for civil society isn’t going to improve in the near future.

    But I’ve had a forced rethink, after attending the ‘Looking Back, Looking Forward’ forum at GIBS, which hosted visionaries whose crystal balls are a whole lot more informed than mine, strategist, Clem Sunter, constitutional expert, Roelf Meyer, City Press editor, Ferial Haffajee, civil society’s Neville Gabrielle, economist, Adrian Saville and Rand Merchant Bank Chair, Sizwe Nxasana.

    Hosted at the business school - the home of sharp suits, expensive cars and lengthy debates on profit and loss, the forum took an a-typical turn when the panel from their various areas of expertise agreed that the area of positive growth for 2013 wasn’t financial services, or mining, or media.

    But civil society.

    This is exciting, as it means that the work being done in social development is finally integrating into mainstream thinking. The commentary was fascinating: that civil society’s cross cultural mobilisation of citizenry is connecting people more than anything (think of anti-toll group, OUTA). That the nonprofit sector is where real change lies - for employment, skills development, entrepreneurship and of course, social development. That government and business have to engage if they want to move forward and civil society is the key to that action.

    To hear development debates making their way onto business school panels marks a significant change in thinking. It is an opportunity we cannot miss.

    Although I believe that 2013 will be tougher than 2012, I am heartened by the way the work of nonprofits and activists is being viewed. Jim Collins writes about the importance of gaining momentum to achieve change. I like to think that the years of consistent and persistent pushing are starting to gain traction. We don’t have momentum yet, but we’re starting to see the extra spin. And that’s heartening.

    So rather than predictions for 2013, I have written instead a few survival tips to ensure that your organisation comes out fitter, stronger and more focused by 2014.

    These six steps to surviving 2013 create a well-connected approach that will strengthen your relevance and contribution to social development, creating a solid foundation for the more stable years that sit tantalisingly close on the 2014 horizon.

    1. Look beyond the of jobs jobs jobs mantra

    Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. It was the mantra of 2012 which resulted in a flurry of activity because it came with access to sizeable sums of money, and is a neatly measurable indicator.

    I hope that we have learnt from the HIV-years, when everyone ended up with an HIV project regardless of whether it was relevant to their work or not. And in chasing the easy funding, non-profits neglected the local options which is part of why we’re facing financial difficulties today.

    My advice for 2013 is then let’s not focus on jobs, but rather on the more sustainable approach of building business. It’s the entrepreneurs who will create work for those in their communities. We have to move away from the thinking that institutions will create more work. They won’t – the financial pressure that we are already under means that many of us are cutting not creating employment. So it is common sense to think away from the traditional institutional framework. We need to broaden the base of people in employment. We need to focus on improving the systems they work in. And we need to make instill a strong sense of social focus in our entrepreneurship, so that they are a contact point of positive development.

    For more on this, refer to

    2. Accountability – getting our house in order

    With 80 percent of nonprofits not submitting their annual financial statements and narrative reports to the Department of Social Development, we have no foundation for criticising the other sectors of democracy, business and government.

    2013 must be a year where nonprofits commit to Codes of Good Practice and then follow them.

    Only with an accountable, robust civil society can we attain the moral high ground and hold others to account.

    Business and government are making concerted efforts to improve their accountability as evidenced in King III, and the work of the Public Protector, Auditor-General and legislative framework of the Public Finance Management Act.

    We cannot afford to cruise along with a misplaced arrogance that because we do good, we are good.

    If anyone is to survive 2013, accountability and transparency has to be central to their ethos.

    For more on this, refer to

    3.Monitoring and Evaluation

    If you don’t have monitoring and evaluation in place, 2013 is your year to get it going.
    If you fail to get basic measurement in place, chances are your organisation will be obsolete by 2015.

    Not only is measurement an important part of being more accountable, but it enables nonprofit leaders can challenge their assumptions of what works and what doesn’t.

    I believe that as we all focus on monitoring and evaluation, partnerships will become easier to manage leading to a natural consolidation in the sector. When you realise your areas of expertise you begin to share knowledge and so begins a positive cycle that leads to improved more professional services.   

    For more on this, refer to

    4. From Programmes to Activism

    There is a growing voice that is calling for a move away from programme funding to donor support of activism and rights-based movements. The argument is that civil society’s role is not to provide services that government should be delivering (e.g. like HIV care), but rather to hold government to account to provide these services.

    It’s a good argument, and even better because it is rattling our rather traditional approach to development. I think that 2013 will see more money being available in building accountability and growing the rights-driven voice of civil society. The success of SECTION27, the Right2Know Campaign, even the Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) in Gauteng, adds credence to this movement. This is moving the flywheel significantly and I like it.  Watch out for more activism in 2013 and even more for 2014.

    5. Rise of the CBO
    We can’t keep ignoring community-based organisations (CBO). Just because they don’t have the institutional structures that our funding models demand, doesn’t mean that they are irrelevant. We cannot continue channeling funding for communities via national organisations just because they comply structurally to the needs of the donor.

    I would like to see a concerted effort by the larger nonprofits to bring in CBOs, and to help them build up their institutional structures, securing accreditation, developing financial statements and creating annual narratives.

    I think that national organisations will find that the role they can play as mentor and guide is part of their survival strategy as it is through the CBOs that they will maintain their relevance.

    6. Making Profits out of Nonprofits

    A key survival strategy for 2013 is to grow the profit base of your nonprofit. Usually a sacrilegious word in social organisations it is important that we start to professionalise the work that we do by increasing the surplus of funding. And this doesn’t mean going out to raise more grant funding, but rather taking a longer term view on what type of funding you need to survive. Research by the Stanford Innovation Review shows that America’s top nonprofits have funding stability as their common denominator. This is difficult in South Africa where government and donor funding is erratic. But what must happen is a focus on building a surplus into the organisation, by doing what you do well. Whether that funding stream is grant, or entrepreneurial it must be a surplus and it must provide the type of funds that you need to grow.

  • A Matter of Trust

    A case study of the Children’s Hospital Trust’s fundraising success
    The Children’s Hospital Trust (the Trust) is widely considered to be one of the most successful fundraising organisations in South Africa, having raised over R420 million for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Paediatric Healthcare in the Western Cape since its inception in 1994.
    A Matter of Trust is a compelling case study based on the experience gained and the lessons learned by the Trust translated into best practice within the arena of fundraising. The book is a beneficial read for any professional working in the philanthropic sector in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa.
    A Matter of Trust details the challenges that the Trust has faced, as well as opportunities that the Trust has created through strategic and innovative methods. In describing the Trust’s ethos, strategies and protocols, the case study is a useful ‘how to’ guide for nonprofit organisations to operate effectively and grow in the current socio-political environment while building a successful brand.
    The book outlines critical elements that every nonprofit organisation should embrace in order to gain competitive advantage. These include engaging, consulting and relationship building with key stakeholders and funders, as well as building and maintaining a reputation for excellence and integrity in order to engender a significant amount of positive public sentiment and support.
    The unique and practical publication showcases two of the Trust’s most successful fundraising campaigns and highlights the factors that have contributed to this success in such a way that similar organisations can transfer these principles to projects and campaigns they are embarking upon. In telling the story of the Children’s Hospital Trust’s formation and of its consequent success, A Matter of Trust endeavours to contribute to the growing spirit of philanthropy in the country and to demonstrate the gains made in paediatric healthcare in the region.
    Who should read this book?
    Anyone who is interested in effective fundraising and is motivated to strengthen the non-profit sector, particularly:

    • Nonprofit leaders seeking insight into principles that can ensure greater success for their organisations;
    • Donors and philanthropists who require a framework from which charitable organisations can be assessed to determine viability and sustainability;
    • Business leaders who wish to ensure that their companies are good corporate citizens through working with effective nonprofits; and
    • Students and academics who are eager to learn more about the non-profit sector and the inner workings of a non-profit organisation.
    To purchase a copy contact:
    The Children’s Hospital Trust
    Fundraiser for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital & Paediatric Healthcare in the Western Cape
    Tel: 021 686 7860
    Fax: 021 686 7861
    Twitter: @chtrust1
    For more about the Children’s Hospital Trust, refer to

  • Eastern Cape Sustainable Rural Development Needs Multi-Faceted Intervention

    Sustainable rural development in the Eastern Cape would need a package of interventions if real local economic opportunities for rural communities were to be created.

    This was the combined message from three speakers at a seminar hosted by the European Union and Office of the Premier-funded Sustainable Rural Development in the Eastern Cape (SURUDEC) and its local implementing agent, RuLiv in East London in April 2012.

    Entitled ‘Rural Livelihoods and Development Planning: Experiences from the Eastern Cape’, the seminar heard presentations from the Eastern Cape Social and Economic Consultative Council (ECSECC), the Agricultural extension department of the University of Fort Hare and from SURUDEC.

    Most of the opportunities probably lay in the agro-processing sector according to ECSECC's CEO, Andrew Murray.

    He added that as agriculture contributed a mere 2.6 percent to the provincial gross domestic product (GDP), beneficiation and value chains needed to be explored and would probably be the sector where most jobs could be created.

    One possible strategy was aggregating micro-projects with a focus on value chain multipliers, but Murray cautioned that producers had to produce the right product at the right time within a market system.

    “It’s important to link micro-projects with manufacturing at scale, this needs to be a costed instrument and we have been too slow in getting it right – this needs to be speeded up”.

    “Values have to be shared; it is no good squeezing small producers on one end of the scale while manufacturers take home huge revenues.”

    Training and learning incubators were also important as making land more productive was a lengthy process and consisted of more than mere access to land. Capital, knowledge and skills together with labour were also needed.

    On training, Murray’s view was echoed by Professor Francois Lategan of the Agricultural Extension department at the University of Fort Hare who added that past training of agricultural extension officers had failed and that today’s students needed training in a multiplicity of skills in order to equip them for the job.

    This included entrepreneurial skills, innovation and understanding markets. he most crucial skill was the ability to identify opportunities and act on them.

    “We lack a message or a workable model for small scale farmers but the message needs to include instilling an entrepreneurial slant.

    “Farmers, big and small, need to be shown how to recognise opportunities to make money,” he concluded.

    SURUDEC programme coordinator, Dr Stephen Atkins, outlined SURUDEC’s asset-based approach to development which included recognition that communities employed multiple livelihood strategies and that local conditions determined responses and interventions.

    An example was one SURUDEC-funded project in the Indwe area, a large farm obtained through a restitution award in 2001. While the farm co-operative had R70 000 in its bank account and was now valued at R10 million, the enterprise could potentially earn a net profit of R600 000 a year while employing 20 people full time.

    However, currently additional enterprise and employment generating options were not being considered and Atkins pointed to potential rental accrued from a cell phone mast which was not being collected by the enterprise.

    “The business is in a fragile state and long term plans need to be made by all stakeholders for sustainability of the enterprise,” he added.

    The second case study was of an ecotourism development initiative at Cata, near Keiskammahoek in which existing and new birding hiking trails were refurbished and developed, a community institution was set up and given business skills training and marketing material had been produced. In addition, the project dovetailed well with previous community development initiatives.

    Atkins concluded with some of the lessons coming out of the SURUDEC programme in the Eastern Cape which included:

    • It was vital that robust and accurate data support rural development actions;
    • It was important to know the area and know the people concerned;
    • Possibilities and the challenges needed to be identified;
    • Being realistic of the scale and scope of the intervention was needed from the beginning;
    • It was important to identify the resources required to undertake an action and to budget correctly;
    • Time frames or horizons needed constant monitoring and management;
    • Building capacity over time and planning for support and mentoring was an integral part of any intervention and must be planned and budgeted for;
    • The prioritisation of options needed to be managed constantly;
    • It was important to network with relevant practitioners.
    SURUDEC is a joint programme of the European Union and Republic of South Africa. The Contracting Authority is the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier (OTP) and the Implementing Agent is Promoting Rural and Urban Livelihoods (Ruliv), based in East London.

    SURUDEC aims to reduce poverty in the province by providing grant funding to support the design and implementation of integrated community-driven development plans (ICDPs). These are plans of action that indicate ways in which the economic situation of a community will be improved and how its asset base will grow over time. These plans would inform district and local government IDPs, and importantly, over time and as resources become available, elements of each community plan would be implemented, either directly from community resources, or in combination with funds from partners, donors or Government.

    - Barbara Manning is the Visibility and Communications Coordinator (SURUDEC) within Ruliv.

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