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Community Development | Umthathi Training Project
 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

To enable sustainable healthy living by training community members in cultivation, health, nutrition and livelihoods skills so they can feed themselves and their families as well as earn an income by selling excess produce from backyard and community gardens.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

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The needs are for adequate knowledge about and real skills relating to nutrition, health, increased food security and conservation by enhancing biodiversity strategies in order for people in our target areas to both cope with HIV/AIDS and then move beyond a paradigm of basic survival.

INTEGRATED, MUTUALLY SUPPORTIVE COMPONENTS

  • Vegetable, medicinal and indigenous plant cultivation training at community, school and household level establishes productive gardens that supply food and healing plants.
  • Nutrition and Health training adds both theoretical and practical know-how, basic health training with an extensive HIV/AIDS information and coping mechanisms component is an important element of all our programmes.
  • Business Skills and Income Generation training that can be applied to any surplus generated to bring in cash and can be applied to any business.

FOOD SECURITY

Developing and maintaining home and community food gardens.

  • The methods taught are not labour or cost intensive and are appropriate to members of the community who are not physically strong and do not have a great deal of time or money.
  • Environmentally and practically sustainable principles and practices are taught, with organic soil fertility, intercropping and biological pest control resulting in an integrated, diverse and productive land-use system

PERMACULTURE

The term permaculture initially meant "permanent agriculture" but was quickly expanded to also stand for "permanent culture" as it was seen that social aspects were an integral part of a truly sustainable system.

MULCHING

  • Protects the soil from erosion
  • Reduces compaction from the impact of heavy rains
  • Conserves moisture, reducing the need for frequent watering
  • Maintains a more even soil temperature
  • Prevents weed growth
  • Keeps fruits and vegetables clean

ESTABLISHING REGULAR PATTERNS OF WORK

Starting and maintaining a productive home vegetable garden not only contributes hugely to household nutrition, health and income, but also establishes the regular patterns of work that are so vital in acting against depression and apathy associated with joblessness.

NUTRITION TRAINING

  • With the extremely high rate of HIV/AIDS in our target area this training aims to provide participants with the skills needed to support the health of the household.
  • In order to keep HIV positive people healthy for longer, improved nutrition is vital.
  • Nutrition education: Theoretical lessons and demonstrations impart knowledge about the three basic food groups (energy-giving food, body-builders and protection from disease).
  • Importance of cleanliness and food hygiene
  • Improving access to nutritious foods
  • Meal Planning
  • Promoting sustainable resource use and self-sufficiency vegetable gardens and fuel saving - hotboxes
  • Improved health through nutrition training

BASIC HEALTH CARE

This training aims to provide participants with the skills needed to support the health of the household. To stop the spread of the virus between members of a household, basic health care skills in the home are vital.

COMPONENTS COVERED

  • Chronic illnesses
  • Caring for bedridden patients - e.g. the care of HIV/AIDS sufferers
  • Sexually transmitted diseases - focusing on reproductive health
  • Sexual violence
  • Home hygiene
  • Basic First Aid
  • Home Remedies
  • Meal planning for patients

INFORMATION ON CRONIC ILLNESSES AND HIV/AIDS

  • HIV/AIDS - background, prevention, transmission, voluntary testing and counseling
  • A further element of the training is the dissemination of information and discussion of chronic illnesses - TB, Hypertension, Obesity and HIV/AIDS.

BUSINESS SKILLS AND INCOME GENERATION

Business Skills - This phase introduces an intensive business skills module based on the garden but whose principles can be applied to any business venture and is modelled around the sale of surplus vegetables harvested from the home or community gardens.

EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME OPPORTUNITIES

Lack of jobs in the formal and informal sectors in this province is one of the greatest causes of the widespread poverty in the area. This course aims to make our participants job creators, not job seekers. Graduates acquire practical skills and conceptual knowledge that allow them to start and develop their own small and micro-enterprises.

Umthathi believes that, through training support of the initiation and growth of small businesses in the Eastern Cape, we are contributing to self-sufficiency, sustainable job creation and income generation.

FINANCIAL LIFE SKILLS

The aim of this component is to empower our participants with the skills and knowledge that will assist them towards becoming financially competent. The course includes: Financial goals, Budgeting, Getting out of debt, Savings, Banking and the ATM.

MINIMIZING THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

The introduction of "Spekboom" and other indigenous plants into all our programmes. Participants are trained in propagation and cultivation methods.

These succulent trees, also known as Elephant's Bush, grow naturally in the arid areas of the Eastern and Western Cape, and have been shown by scientists to have remarkable rates of carbon sequestration (more than 4 tons of Carbon Dioxide per year per hectare). To put this into perspective, an average household's carbon footprint is probably around 12 tons per year.

TRANSFERING SKILLS AND BUILDING SUSTAINABLE RELATIONSHIPS

Knowledge and skills are passed on to family, neighbours and community members, which has a strong and lasting impact on the well-being of the communities we work with.