In 1987, a group of concerned Durban-based businessmen came together to found an organisation that would aim to benefit the ‘poorest of the poor’. Responding to the call for help from rural northern KwaZulu-Natal, a deeply neglected region of South Africa with a large population, The Siyazisiza Trust was established with the late Duchesne Grice as chairperson and Mary Rose as the first executive director, a position she held for 17 years until her retirement in 2004. Dr Chris Saunders was appointed chairman in 2000, a position held until 2005 when Phumla Mnganga was elected chairperson of the Trust, having served as a trustee since 2000.
In 1999, a daughter organisation, Khumbulani Craft, was registered as a separate legal entity because the Siyazisiza Trust Deed did not allow for trading on behalf of rural crafters. Khumbulani Craft’s mission was to contribute towards poverty alleviation in rural communities through the production, marketing and sale of traditional and contemporary craft. Khumbulani Craft had its own board of directors and staff complement with some overlap with the Siyazisiza Trust.
In 2012, Khumbulani Craft was merged with the Siyazisiza Trust into one legal entity, the Siyazisiza Trust. In arriving at this decision, they consulted both legal and tax advisors, and work-shopped the proposal among Trustees, directors and senior staff of the two organisations. It is important to note that the current nonprofit regulatory environment provides for a level of trading. “The Khumbulani Collection” is the Siyazisiza Trust’s craft brand name.
The Trust is a public benefit organisation in terms of Section 30 of the Income Tax Act, and receipts and accruals are exempt from income tax in terms of Section 10 (cN) of the Act. The Siyazisiza Trust has been approved for purposes of Section 18A (I)(a) of the Act and donations to the organisation are tax deductible in the hands of donors in terms of and subject to the limitations prescribed in Section 18A of the Act with a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) status of level two contributor.
Siyazisiza’s mission is to promote food security and small enterprise development in rural communities in South Africa.
The Trust’s new strategy is aimed at sustainability of both the Siyazisiza Trust itself and the rural communities assisted by it. Given the shrinkage of funding available to nonprofit organisations and the need for nonprofit organisations to operate on business principles, it is critical that the Trust strengthen existing and develop new funding streams and constantly investigate alternative funding opportunities. To address this, a new position of Business Development Manager was created during 2012.
One of the Trust’s challenges as identified in an independent impact assessment carried out in 2010 was the need to develop sustainable and independent enterprises. While the Trust’s activities have made a considerable impact to those communities assisted by it in terms of food security and income generation, their methodology aims to ensure that these communities are able to operate on their own.
To achieve this, their approach to project implementation has been modified to focus on Asset Based Community Development which is a move from ‘what do you need’ to ‘what do you have’ and ‘what can you do with it’?
In recognising that the communities the Trust assists are some of the most vulnerable and marginalised in South Africa, the Trust provides start-up equipment and materials. This includes the first three batches of 500 day old chicks and feed in the case of poultry production units and fencing, irrigation, garden tools, seedling, and more, in the case of community vegetable gardens, and materials where necessary for craft production.
A common misconception in development has been that producers, whether of food, craft or any other product, are equally adept at marketing and financial management and administration. While some producers may have skills to both produce, market and administer, the majority do not and with this reality in mind, the Trust’s new model is currently being piloted in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
Essentially, the model includes the establishment of secondary co-operatives, members of which are the primary cooperatives who are involved in the selection of secondary cooperative members. It is important to note that the structure and operation of cooperatives can differ from community to community as one size does not fit all. Much focus is being placed on the establishment, training, equipping and mentoring of the secondary cooperatives which, it is intended, will, in time, trade directly with buyers - thus developing truly independent and sustainable enterprises.
The Trust will also continue developing primary cooperatives in production practices and business skills, including but not limited to, quality control and assurance, marketing, finance, and basic book keeping. They are fully cognisant that, as simple as this sounds - there will be many hurdles and curved balls. The Trust’s work in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is a steep learning curve which will influence and inform how the Trust implements the basic model in other areas.
Adaptations will need to be made as each community and their circumstances will differ.
The organisation’s overall objective is to facilitate Enterprise Development (ED) in rural communities of South Africa, mainly in craft and agricultural enterprises. This includes:
Business skill training – in class and on site:
- The organisation partner with accredited organisations especially on actual class room training. In recent years they have conducted training with ArtAid on product development and business skills training and New Heights on cooperatives training;
- Cooperative training and assisting in registering;
- Production and product development training.
The Trust assists communities to access the market. Currently numerous craft groups supply Tigers Eye on a monthly basis, and gardens are supplying Boxer Super Store and Spar with fresh produce.
The Trust is currently in contact with Nandos and KFC to facilitate the supply of fresh produce (cabbages) from communities they assist.
Mentoring and monitoring:
Their committed field staff is the key to the success of every project they undertake. The Trust has a total of 13 fulltime field staff with one national field operations manager to ensure smooth delivery of services.
Activities and Services:
The main objective of the Trust is to promote food security and small ED in rural communities within South Africa. In doing so the Siyazisiza Trust:
- Liaises with the relevant stakeholders including community, local and traditional leadership, government departments and any other relevant stakeholders that can influence the success of the project.
Conduct a feasibility study with the community to assess the available resources and ensure all possible risks and opportunities are identified, including:
- Identification of skills available within the participants (community);
- Identification of available resources e.g. land, water, wood, grass and any other resources required for the project;
- Identifying possible market opportunity within the vicinity of the project; and
- Decide with the community the feasible process / project to undertake.
Provide training to empower community members (small farmers and / or crafters) this includes; finance, marketing and sales, training in setting up associations, cooperatives, roles of members, basic business skills, sales and marketing of agri-products (vegetables, fruits, poultry and craft products).
The Trust has to draft a project plan / business plan with the community as one of its services. It facilitates market linkages and promotes fair trade. The Trust also has to have ongoing monitoring and mentoring.
Facilitation of the establishment of cooperatives, primary and secondary cooperatives.
Siyazisiza has recognised that a common expectation by development organisations, is that producers (whether of food or craft) are expected to take on the roles of administrators, financial managers and marketers. Their new model will focus on the establishment of secondary cooperatives which will manage the marketing, administration and financial management on behalf of geographically selected primary co-operatives, the latter being the producer groups.
Provide creative training / product development:
- To ensure fresh ideas and wider range of quality products;
- To ensure that products produced are as environmentally friendly as possible.
Assist in acquiring / provide start-up equipment and material including in agri-projects / community gardens such as; fencing, irrigation system, garden tools, seedling, fertilisers, poultry equipment, feed and chicks, and much more.
The Siyazisiza Trust works in three provinces, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
To view The Siyazisiza Trust in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.