Urban Challenge: Dag 5 t/m 8 en Wrapup
winnaars van de Cordaid Urban Challenge berichten over hun projectreis
DAY 5 27th of April Youth Group Visits Lindile/ Youth Forum
Today marked the 15th year of freedom day in South Africa. Freedom day is a public holiday in which South Africa celebrates the day when they had their first free and fair elections after apartheid. It was also a day filled with lots of learning and excitement of what the youth in Philippi has to offer for their communities. The team visited three different youth group initiatives.
Ikusasa Lethu (“Our Future”) Youth Forum
Our morning started with a visit to a local youth group called Ikusasa Lethu Youth Forum. The group was found in 2006 by 7 guys and 1 girl from the community. This is a dynamic group of young learners and students from different universities, colleges and high schools. Ikasa Lethu Youth Forum was formed on the basis of the following concerns facing the community.
– After school children stand around on street corners
– High number of teenage pregnancies in the area
– Drug Prevention
– HIV and STI education
– Assisting the youth in making informed decisions.
Based on these concerns Ikusasa Lethu focuses on four programmes, life skills, arts and culture, sports and recreation, playing with preschool children. Like most projects in the area this youth organisations also faces a lot of challenges.
We asked them whether a project like ours will be feasible and how useful it will be for the community. The group said that a project like this will be very useful for the community and that they have already thought along the lines of running a food garden project. We also asked the group what is necessary for a project like this to work. The group made the following suggestions:
In order for a project like this to work the team has to be known by the community. The team should pay particular interest in how they market themselves.
The team should work with existing networks. They also discuss the possibility of collaboration with their organisation.
Another important aspect for this project to work, is to gain the trust of the community (both parents and children). It is also very critical to engage the parents in this project. The team should come with the mentality to learn from the local people and they should also be upfront as to what they want to do with the project. In this way we inform the community of both the advantages and disadvantages of such a project.
Based on their experience in starting up their organisation the group also said that the parents are not easily convinced with projects, so the group has to work at convincing the parents so that they allow their children to participate in the project.
They also highlighted the following issues, the project should be in the community, schools are also a possible site for a project like this to take place.
Team Picture with Ikusasa Lethu Youth Forum
Beyond Expectations Environmental Project
Our second visit was to another youth organisation called Beyond Expectations. The major focus of this project is on environmental education. They are a non-profit organisation.
Beyond expectations take children from the townships to Table Mountain. Their target group is children between the ages of 10 to 12 years old. While teaching the children of the environment they also address the issue of self esteem building, the challenges that these children face at home, respect, sharing information, sharing problems, take care of nature, share with people that you trust, not waste water etc. The children who participate in this project were also present during our visit. Each one of them made comments about what they have learned in the project. The following are quotations from the children:
“When I walk on Table Mountain I learned that I have to trust in myself and know that I am going to make it” (13 year old girl)
“I have learned that we should not be scared of doing the right thing because when you do the wrong things you are not scared” (12 year old boy)
The aim of the project is not just for the children to go on a fun walk but also to learn to implement what they have learned on their walks to Table Mountain. In this way the children uses nature as a vehicle or opportunity to reflect on themselves. This organisation are also involved in food gardening projects but it is not the main focus of their project. A few of the children commented on their experiences and most of them said that they really enjoyed it.
The team asked them what they think is necessary for such a project to work. They responded by saying the following:
They said that it is easier to work with a younger group (10 to 13 years), because they can be easily influenced and are more willing to learn than teenagers Gardening should be made interesting or ‘cool’ so that children can learn while having fun.
Soil for People Community Gardening Project
The last visit was to Soil for People Community Gardening Project. This project is run by Patakile who has alot of knowledge on organic gardening. He also runs workshops in the community to show the women how to do gardening in small spaces.
Patakile also teach children from the community to make their own water saving irrigation system, he also teach them how to detect the lack of nutrients in the soil (by observing the change in the colour of the leaves). The main objective of his project is to convince people in the community to start their own gardens in order to ensure food security. So far the project has benefited the people with HIV, children in preschool etc. Patakile also said that he targets that by 2014 most people in the community should cultivate their gardens for vegetables.
DAY 6 28th of April Food Garden Visits/ Abalimi and SEED
Our day started off with a visit to Abilimi Bezekhaya Urban Agricultural project. This project is mostly profit driven. They make use of local people who have their own organic gardens to produce vegetables that are sold off to private schools, universities etc.
The beautiful school gardens established by SEED (School Environmental Education and Development) are ideal for every school in Cape Town. The place has a positive vibration with the children learning outside in the sunshine surrounded by indigenous plants and veggies. Children should not only learn from the books, but from real life and enjoy ‘their harvest’. We spoke to a couple of employees from SEED, and young dedicated people. Besides establishing school gardens and education, they try to be sustainable with selling parts of their plants and also making ‘worm tea’.
In our opinion it would be wonderful if the target-group (children from 7 to 15 years old, who dropped out of school living in Philippi) as defined in our winning proposal, will have also have such a beautiful educational food garden, like SEED sets up.
It sounds a bit like copying, but why reinvents the wheel. There is a lot of expertise already.
We investigated with the employees what SEED could offer us, if there is a possibility to implement our project. They are willing to offer us assistance with setting up the garden, with advice on which plants should we grow concerning the soil and link us to places where we can obtain qualitative plants and seeds for a low price. Also they could link us to teachers experienced with environmental teaching.
DAY 7 29th of April Recycling Groups Visit – Solid Waste Network and SaveAll
Today the team visited two recycling groups. One group Solid Waste Network that operates on an informal basis and SaveAll that operates on a formal basis.
Our first visit in the morning was to Solid Waste Network (SWN). SWN is a network of 19 recycling groups that includes community groups, orphan and vulnerable groups, HIV etc. We visited two groups in this network. The first group was Siyazama which is a group of women in the community that does glass recycling. They use the proceeds of their recycling to buy ingredients for the soup kitchen they run in the community. The group asked Siyazama what a project like ours can contribute to what they are doing already. They replied by saying that a project like ours can assist with funding. They also said that starting their own garden is a good idea because it will assist with their soup kitchen.
The second group that we visited was in Belhar. This group has a number of projects running including recycling and a food garden. At the moment the food garden is run by an older lady in the community. There is very little interest from the children and parents. But they mentioned if our project has a reward like running competitions etc we might get interest of children to participate.
DAY 8 30th of April Final Presentation to Stakeholders
Today the team gave their final presentation to the local partners. The meeting was mostly attended by the community organisations, youth groups and local urban matters group that we have visited during the course of the week. The presentation went well and was well received by the local partners. The audience gave positive feedback. They made the following comments: They were really interested in the community networking idea and creating partnerships. It was also suggested that our project should draw on the strengths of the existing projects.
The need for this project is significant because it addresses the issues of children not attending school (which they are worried about), hanging around on street corners, issue of Tik use (drug use), etc.
The main concern or comment from the local stakeholders is when this project will be implemented. The local stakeholders are really hoping for this project to be implemented and highlighted how critical the support of our project is for their projects.
REFLECTIONS AND HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TEAM
The past week spent in Philippi engaging with the local partners were fruitful and valuable to our project. The team has learned a lot from this experience.
Defining the core business of the project.
– After this week we learned that the need of the children should be the first priority of the project. But by fulfilling the basic needs of the children, we also address the environmental issues that the community is facing.
– Gardening can be used as a educational tool.
– We learned that income generation in any project is very important. Income generation is necessary to make it sustainable financially. However, considering the core business of this project additional funding will still be required.
– The time frame should have a 3 to 5 year focus.
– The added value that our project can offer is the networking and creating relationships of organisations within Philippi and possibly with neighbouring groups
Looking back on the first day of our presentation to the local partners the group has learned a lot in terms of what initiatives is available and how to build on these initiatives by adding value. We have had an exciting programme so far and enjoyed every moment of it.