Many Sabi Sand Wildtuin members have been involved in development initiatives working in the neighbouring communities for many years and what has already been achieved through their efforts is remarkable. To unlock the potential of a more coordinated, strategic approach, the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust (SSPT) was established as a joint venture of all the existing agencies (lodges and NGOs). This collaborative trust provides an opportunity to align and maximise these efforts to achieve greater impact. NGO organisations which are part of our collaboration include Africa Foundation, Buffelshoek Trust, Chitwa Trust, Good Work Foundation, Virgin’s Pride ‘n Purpose, the Singita Foundation and the former Pfunanani Trust which has now been incorporated as the central body. Participating lodges who are involved in community development work include Leopard hills, Lion Sands, Londolozi, Sabi Sabi and Savanna Game Lodge. By aligning the combined efforts towards a common vision, the promise of meaningful change through progressive development can be realized.
The needs of the communities are immense and they face a multitude of challenges. Aid
intervention alone would not be able to meet all the needs, but can be a catalyst for meaningful community development. In this regard the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust has identified three focus areas which are:
1. Environment – including water, conservation, biodiversity, sustainable use, ecosystem
services, sanitation etc.;
2. Education – including schooling, youth development, skills and capacity building
3. Entrepreneurship – including income generation and inclusion of communities in the
tourism value chain and other opportunities in the wildlife economy
Within these focus areas we have selected a small number of priority projects which we are actively supporting at present and are endeavouring to raise funds for.
The activities of the trust take place in Bushbuckridge municipal area. Activities span 17 rural villages with approximately 91000 people. The beneficiaries are from under privileged and disadvantaged communities. Community participation in projects is essential and we work closely with community members and leadership to identify and shape projects.
A core principal of SSPT is that beneficiaries receive the maximum possible benefit and that shrinkage in the delivery process is minimised. To this end, internal governance processes strictly regulate the use of funds and project resources are carefully monitored and evaluated to ensure the most efficient use thereof. Donor reporting is comprehensive and detailed. A code of transparency and honesty are non-negotiable in all dealings. Our members have extensive experience in successful project implementation and a strong track record of outstanding delivery.
CURRENT PROJECTS UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF OUR YOUTH – COLUMBA LEADERSHIP
The Columba Leadership youth leadership program which is aimed at unlocking the potential of the youth and has produced an exponentially positive affect in many of the areas it has been run. It is the Columba and SSPT team’s goal to run a program in each of the main villages neighbouring the Sabi Sand Wildtuin. This will entail running a further 15 programs in the next 3 years. The vision is to build a movement for responsible leadership amongst South African youth by developing young people who are socially and environmentally conscious and active who lead through service. Aiming to help shift the social perception of the role of young people in public life and to and help resolve the social exclusion of youth. The Columba approach uses experiential learning of values to empower young people to make the right choices in life and to elevate their ideals above pure self-interest. They learn to care for themselves, their schools and communities and the environment. The young leaders are equipped with skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work and they become role models of engaged citizens in depressed areas where there is little hope. The program works with 12 young people (selected based on their commitment to building a better society) with 3 senior educators at a quality Lodge in attractive natural surroundings for 6 days using experiential learning and lessons from nature, history and culture to show how every human being has greatness in them and can be a leader if they understand values. A highly skilled team of facilitators run the Academies.
In return for the privilege our graduates are challenged to recruit their friends and use peer/social networks and partnerships with their educators to drive positive change. Their value system and civic engagement experience significantly improves confidence and efficacy enhancing their employability and/or equipping them to become successful entrepreneurs. In many cases our graduates have started social enterprises in their schools.
To date more than 300 young leaders from 17 disadvantaged schools all over South Africa have graduated from the academy and are making a real difference. The first program in Bushbuckridge was run at Manyangana High School in the North last year. The program has continued to deliver excellent outcomes with recent matric prelim results released by the Manyangana High School in the North increasing from 50% to a hitherto unseen 82%. The school principal attributes the change entirely to the Columba program and speaks enthusiastically of the positive initiatives being planned and implemented by the students themselves.
A HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS IN HUNTINGTON VILLAGE
The Huntington community development forum made an appeal to SSPT for assistance with building a high school in their community. At present there is no high school at Huntington and students have to attend school at Mabarule village. Mabarule High School is overcrowded and unable to cope with over 1400 students attending school there. The department of education has given the community their agreement to support the establishment of a high school facility at Huntington and to provide teachers and operational resources if the community can find a sponsor for the necessary infrastructure. Initially 415 students would attend at Huntington and this will be grown over time. The school would need 5 classrooms, an admin building, toilets and fencing.
Local builders will be used for the project to provide short term employment during the
construction. The tribal authority has said they will make land available for the school. The SSPT management committee is of the opinion that this is a project that should be supported and the SSPT is endeavouring to help the community raise the R3m of funds needed to build the school.
Subject to funding being obtained there is also the opportunity to establish a satellite of the Good Work Foundation digital learning centre at the school to enrich the education services. This will provide English and computer tuition to school and adult learners as well as offering management support to the school educators. Local people will be trained and employed to run the program.
The cost of establishing this facility would be R650k and thereafter R180k per annum.
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