COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Community development is at the heart of Umsizi, and as a result, we have long standing partnerships with the leading experts in the field of rural development. Within community development projects the aim is to significantly improve the wellbeing of households within rural communities. Projects are designed to be community specific so that upon implementation the positive impacts on the ground can be sustainable and widespread.

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KEY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

The success of all the Umsizi projects is as a result of extensive community engagement and training. Training is thereafter followed up by monitoring and mentoring, which ensure that the participants are nurtured and grow under the guidance of training facilitators. Umsizi has mastered the art of training community members in a manner that both motivates and inspires the learner. The company has had experience training community members in agricultural crop production, livestock farming, community-run indigenous crop propagation and entrepreneurial skills development. The following descriptions illustrate some of the key LED projects which Umsizi has developed and implemented.

INSPIRATION TO ALL

Umsizi has mastered the art of training community members in a manner that both motivates and inspires the learner.

Household Agricultural Livelihood Improvement Project

Agricultural crop production training is key to community development, and has been presented to many households in villages throughout Southern Africa, with an open invitation for any and all interested community members to attend. The training covers several modules on homestead agriculture and food security, including nutrition, soil fertility, crop rotation, rainwater harvesting and produce marketing, etc. When people grasp the links between good nutrition, health and brain power, major popular demand develops for more training modules and our fruit tree planting festivals.

The agricultural training has been developed for crop production at households within rural communities. It trains individuals in enhanced crop production techniques which are low in cost and water conservative. The community which is partaking in agricultural training receives constant mentoring and monitoring by training facilitators to ensure learnt techniques are correctly implied and that participants are mentored so that they can confront any challenges.

Household crop production means that individuals take full ownership of the projects and use their home-grown crops to improve their nutrition and thereafter sell excess to generate an income. Households who exhibit dedication and show initiative are supplied with greenhouse tunnels and rainwater harvest tanks to further enhance their efforts (details follow below).

Community-run Indigenous Nurseries

Umsizi’s community-run indigenous nursery strives to firstly, develop skills in community members and thereafter develop a functional enterprise which is fully run by the trained individuals. Individuals are trained in indigenous plant propagation and plant identification so that they are able to rescue plants from mining- or construction- areas. The propagated plants are subsequently used for landsite rehabilitation or for indigenous landscaping. One long-term objective of the project is to ultimately facilitate poverty eradication through skills development and job creation within an area.

The project also aims to instil a sense of ownership among communities, and to empower them to develop their own community projects by using the skills and training they have received. The nursery includes the erection of infrastructure, namely, five (5) green- and hothouses, which provide employment to community members. This project has been successfully implemented within Roossenekal, Limpopo Province, with 14 full time jobs being created and the local mine buying all indigenous vegetation required for rehabilitation projects from the community-run nursery.

Agricultural Crop Production Infrastructure

Infrastructure remains the simplest and most popular form of investment for development projects. Although, Umsizi believes that infrastructure without skills development and capacity building does little to improve quality of life and eradicate poverty.

As such agricultural infrastructure is only given to select households who have demonstrated a commitment to agricultural crop production and preference is given to households where the biggest economic impact can be achieved.  Household agricultural infrastructure includes:

  • Greenhouse tunnels (measuring 6 x 4m) which enable increased crop production because crops are grown in a protected environment. This tunnel is covered with a sewed combination of plastic and shade-cloth ensuring optimal growing conditions for a wide range of crops;
  • 4500L tank with gutters and a 1st-flush system to collect rainwater from the  roof,
  • 5000L sunken garden tanks collect rainwater surface run-off;
  • A silt-trap to collect rainwater off the ground; and
  • A handheld pipe pump, to pump the water out of the sunken tanks.

Basic Services and Infrastructure

In rural villages across South Africa, many people have to dig for seepage water in sandy riverbeds or walk long distances in order to access safe drinking water. Yet, the water is still of poor quality and can cause several health problems within the community. Furthermore, the household can only carry and store as much water as they have containers for, typically only between 50 and 100 litres. Unfortunately, this challenge around access to safe drinking water is still common in many rural villages around South Africa today.

Umsizi helps villages meet this need for water through cost effective products that deliver safe, sufficient, high quality water. Umsizi either provides water provision equipment separately to needy households, in the form of rainwater harvesting infrastructure, or else in conjunction with our Household Agricultural Livelihood Development Project. The equipment ensures that households are provided with:

  • Safe clean water for consumption
  • Sufficient water for daily activities such as washing, cleaning and cooking (domestic needs)
  • Decrease in waterborne diseases and therefore a reduction in illnesses
  • Sufficient water for crop production, therefore, improved nutrition and food security
  • Time saving- less time required to walk far distances to collect water
  • Improved school attendance by youth (no need to miss school to fetch water)
  • Reduced competition for water resources
  • Less pressure on the natural resource and ecosystem.

A lack of water is a major constraint and compromises the wellbeing of a household; physically, economically and emotionally. A lack of water also prevents many rural households from producing crops at their homes. However, with improved water storage equipment, households can reuse their grey water to irrigate crops.

The following water harvesting and storage systems can provide enormous relief for water scarce communities:

  1. Roof rainwater harvesting infrastructure;
  2. 210 litre water storage drums (plastic and steel);
  3. 50 litre buckets; and,
  4. Home water filters with microfilter purification.

Livestock Improvement Project

Within many African cultures, livestock symbolize wealth and thereby have enormous value within cultural heritage. Many livestock farmers place most of their family fortune into raising and breeding cattle. Other livestock such as goats, sheep and pigs are also highly prized in farming and are also incorporated into livestock improvement planning. Therefore livestock support and training is one such project which can benefit many families around South Africa.

The Livestock Improvement Project support cannot be generalised into a standard training program, as each farming area faces different challenges and concerns. As such, Umsizi works with the local farmers teaching them the importance of identifying the risk factors that are negatively impacting their cattle, and motivating the farmers to work together to overcome these challenges in a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). Overall the livestock farmers are taught how to:

  • Tag and record livestock numbers;
  • Treat livestock against parasites;
  • Prevent long-term parasite infections;
  • Implement sustainable, strategic grazing practices; and
  • Improve cattle stock quality.

After a community has received training from Umsizi, members are continuously monitored and mentored particularly in crop planning and rotation, business management and financial skills. This enables these beneficiaries to acquire skills needed to sell their produce, taking their agricultural activities to a commercial level.

The Livestock Improvement Project has been successfully implemented in the Royal Bafokeng Region of the North-West Province, where the livestock farmers had been experiencing severe challenges due to overgrazing and droughts. The Participatory Rural Appraisal allowed the farmers to collaboratively find solutions to the challenges within their area whilst being advised by individuals with livestock expertise.

Household Poultry Farming Project

Chicken meat is the most popular source of protein for South Africans. Therefore, the commercial production of broilers is highly developed, with large production units being very common throughout the country. However, in recent years, there has been an influx of cheap imported chicken meat, and a major increase in the cost of poultry feed, as well as a sharp rise in the minimum wage for farm labour.

Despite the challenges currently faced by larger poultry units, there is great potential for home-based and small-scale production of eggs and chicken meat. Successful poultry production at household level provides excellent preparation for stepped-up production in intermediate-sized production units.

A detailed hands-on experimentation training programme is introduced to familiarise the homestead producer with all the elements of commercial poultry production. This includes self-management, financial and production planning, record-keeping and regular review of the results one has achieved. Combined with the appropriate technology solutions, some of the typical problems with rural poultry production are minimised.

The most important factors for successful and sustainable poultry production are to keep costs and losses low and production consistently high. By starting small, the household learn how to minimise the losses and maximise production. Based on this first-hand experience, they can then decide whether and how to expand.

Poultry production must be manageable and affordable within people’s daily context. Therefore the choice of technology is important. The training and technology must be a “smart subsidy”, therefore Umsizi aim to provide the means for a “once-off injection” which provides knowledge and assets for the household, which enables them to be much more productive than before.

“Umsizi helped us to successfully complete our Social & Labour Plans in compliance with the MPRDA.”
Christian Peters, Community and Sustainability Manager - BHP Billiton
“We have put all our faith in Umsizi to create highly significant socio-economic development programmes for our communities.”
Johan Gloy, CEO - Tendele Mining
“Umsizi has changed our lives. We are able to feed our families. Our dignity has been restored.”
Mkhwanazi Beneficiaries, Community Ceremony
“We are thankful for Umsizi and the projects. We hope Umsizi will be here forever.”
Sokhulu Zululand Inkhosi, Chief
“Umsizi has implemented successful social and economic development programmes in the Royal Bafokeng nation around sustainable livelihood creation, agricultural production and enterprise development.”
Royal Bafokeng Nation, Administration and Community Manager

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