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Sustainability | Umthathi Training Project


  • The methods taught are not labour or cost intensive and are appropriate to people who are not physically strong and do not have a great deal of time or money. The Permaculture cultivation method ensures that the problem situation of food shortages is addressed.
  • We encourage participants to create learning gardens of moderate size, which can be easily managed, but which include a variety of nutritious vegetables, indigenous plants as well as medicinal plants. Cultivation methods are kept simple so that they can be easily replicated.
  • They empower community members to participate in the local community development processes within local government, tribal authorities, municipalities and become active citizens by organising themselves into groups.
  • They ensure the skills development of community members to sell their excess produce and generate a much needed income.
  • The transference of skills, information and knowledge by our groups to their family, neighbours and surrounding schools and community plays an important role in initiating other gardens and like-minded projects which are modeled according to our training methods.
  • Community profiling and community interaction through focus group discussions ensures that we are working towards the needs and requirements of the people and this helps build community confidence, empowerment and ownership.
  • We use an assets based approach in enhancing the skills, capacities and resources that already exist in a context rather than being perceived as service providers who do all the work and have all the answers.
  • Constant updating of our training programmes through inclusion of new material and adjusting sections where necessary as a result of participatory and consultative sessions with our beneficiaries.


  • For us organisational sustainability is the ability to endure the internal and external pressures, through change and innovation, as we endeavor to effectively deliver our training.
  • We are in the fortunate position of having long-term partnerships with funders many of whom provide grants with a three-year cycle. This ensures organisational and programme continuity.
  • Ongoing fundraising and organisation awareness programmes raise our profile and this process ensures new partners are brought into the organisation.
  • Umthathi has sound financial and administrative systems, overseen by our Board of Trustees, with annual externally audited financial records. Stringent financial oversight ensures fiscal accountability.
  • There are 6 Board members, representing various sectors of the Grahamstown community and a range of interest groups and stakeholders with whom the organisation interacts. Our Board of Trustees which includes past staff members plays a strong and supportive role in the organisation.
  • Our staff, most of whom have been with the organisation for many years are dedicated towards the upliftment of impoverished communities and passionate about the content of the training.
  • Continuous staff development plays an important role in our organisation's processes.
  • All work within Umthathi is structured around consistent focus areas, methods and principles and horizontal learning through sharing of experiences, knowledge and insights are encouraged both internally and with groups whom we train.
  • All staff members have a clear understanding of our processes and all work towards the same goal.
  • Regular reporting, internally and to funders ensures the sustainability of the organisation by being accountable.