EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
We like to make a difference in the lives of our participants, and started an Early Childhood Development programme!
The quality of childcare available in remote rural areas is generally poor.
In 2014, we identified nine community-run crèches and one orphanage that did not provide quality care. As a result, LANDWORKS™ initiated a project to upgrade caregiver skills and crèche facilities.
Our desired outcome was to have the community-run crèches registered with the local Department of Social Development, thus raising the standard of care and bringing them into a formal monitoring framework. By delivering a good service to the community, parents would be less reluctant to pay for the service and the crèches could run sustainably.
Over a two year period we provided a stipend to two caregivers per crèche and engaged an Early Childhood Development trainer to provide regular training and mentorship.
As some of the buildings were dilapidated and unhealthy, we worked with the local community to upgrade the facilities.
Although the project finished successfully in March 2107, we continue to track their progress. All are functioning well. Some are now able to access Social Development grant and the teachers continue to apply what they have learned. They set an example for others.
We train our participants in environmentally safe beekeeping practices. The initiative is sweet for both sides.
Fire is used to smoke out bees for their honey and is a major cause of unwanted ignitions that turn into runaway fires. Our solution was to create the opportunity for a beekeeping project.
The Beekeeping Initiative is an innovative community-based programme for honey production that is linked to economic development and transformation into bee-friendly agricultural practice. Rebuilding the health of honeybee populations and supporting the agricultural sector by increasing access to local pollination services are additional benefits of this approach.
In the long term, LANDWORKS™ seeks to build a profitable and sustainable supply chain for ethical, ecosystem-friendly honey that supports livelihoods in poverty-stricken, rural areas of South Africa.
While many communities already practice some form of honey harvesting, sustainable beekeeping has significant environmental, agricultural and social benefits, yet many programmes do not succeed. Insufficient training, a lack of sustained support and a market for product sales are three of the biggest obstacles to long-term success.
LANDWORKS™ participants are taught all aspects of beekeeping, assisted with establishing their first hives and mentored continuously, with a guarantee that we will purchase 80% of their yield at the market rate. The request for community participation in this project has continued to grow steadily.
Innovation is the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods. So, we brought in the ponies!
In the remote foothills of the Maluti Drakensberg Mountains of the Eastern Cape, South Africa there are very few roads leading to rural villages spread across the countryside, at altitudes level with the winter snow line.
In summer, the villagers send their livestock high into the mountains for grazing with herders riding Basotho ponies – the traditional way of life. As a result, men learn to ride as youngsters.
In 2014, LANDWORKS™ integrated their Firewise Community Works operation with this tradition, developing mounted teams to work in areas inaccessible by foot.
The result is a successful partnership between LANDWORKS™, the community members who own the mounts, and using funds from the South African Government’s Extended Public Works Programme have create work, provide training and address local environmental issues.
Along with fuel reduction and inculcating a ‘Firewise’ ethos in the villages, community members work closely with LANDWORKS™ to protect their water sources, freeing rivers clogged with invasive alien plants.
A prerequisite for recruitment into a mounted team is that the recruit supplies his own pony. This forms the community co-funding portion of our partnership. The riders, employed by LANDWORKS™, remunerated with state funding, receive training to enhance their riding skills and horse care, maintain the equipment supplied, (which they ‘own’ after a year of service) and they are taught to reduce their “footprint” when riding as a group.
At the end of the training period, each graduate is awarded a special royal blanket, which holds deep traditional ‘rite of passage’ in a community passing out parade.
There are currently 80 Firewise Community riders, mostly young men, however this model has proven its value and success, in practical terms, and in generating community pride and ownership. The mounted teams are set to increase in 2018.
Our participants are upskilling and repurposing through our Carpentry Initiative, a spin-off project of Firewise.
Our Carpentry Initiative was created to address the problem of maintaining community facilities, such as schools and community halls, in poor rural communities.
Buildings fall into disrepair; classroom furniture is broken and crèches are woefully inadequate.
With reject timber milled from invasive alien plants, donated by the Department of Environmental Affairs at the onset of the initiative, to give the newly trained carpenters a head start in their new venture, participants have been supplied with tools and trained in carpentry and joinery.
While in training, the carpentry teams have repaired community facilities, and made furniture. They now have the ability to “sell” their skills and craftwork within the community, leading to the development of small businesses and local economic development.