Ubunye Foundation

Our aim is to support people to realise their own agency and ability to shape their lives and communities in positive and lasting ways. We do this through an asset-based community-driven approach that acknowledges existing local strengths, emphasizes local ownership and avoids a level of involvement that may lead to dependency. We take a holistic integrated approach in to development through 4 programme areas namely: Savings and Financial Education Programme, Livelihoods Programme, Early Childhood Develpment Programme and Health Programme.

What skills and resources were you able to draw from the community for this project?

We work with SCG members to identify individuals with leadership qualities and are recruited into a CC role. The CC is trained and mentored to establish, mentor and support SCGs in their communities and neighbouring communities. We also work through a Community Advisory Body (whom have been part of Ubunye programmes and have leadership qualities) to provide guidance, support and advice into our community work. These two structures ensure sustaiability of the programmes when Ubunye exits the community.

The challenges

The rural areas in which Ubunye works (predominantly in the former Ciskei homeland) are characterized by economic poverty, extremely high levels of unemployment and dependence on social grants. Rural communities represent one of the most marginalized sections of our society, disadvantaged by an apartheid system that provided sub-standard education, disenfranchised the majority, quashed aspiration and undermined agency; and sadly these areas remain neglected under the current system. In spite of these challenges, households survive through a creative mix of livelihoods strategies and resilience.

Addressing the challenges

We work at the level of the individual, family and household, community, and the systemic influences that either support or constrain development. Our vision is 'connected communities holding the power to thrive' reflecting a belief in our shared humanity and the importance of unlocking human potential and agency in rural communities. we have made a difference in the following areas: *We establish, train and mentor Savings and Credit Groups (SCGs) and provide 6 Financial Education modules to SCG members. *We also train and mentor Community Champions (CCs) wh are volunteers from the communities to provide on-going support and mentoring to SCGs. *SCG members who are interested in small enterprise and are from graduated SCGs are trained and mentored in Micro MBA course. *We work with Parent Body members and Early Childhood Development Practitioners (ECDPs) to ensure quality early learning for children aged 0-6 years. * We mentor and support Community Health Workers (CHW) and community Heath Clinics in ensuring community members access quality health care services.

The achievements

We have established, trained and mentored 225 Savings and Credit Groups (SCGs) with over 4100 members. ... Micro entrepreneurs have from the 225 SCGs and have been trained mentored and graduated from Micro MBA course. We currently work with Parent Body members and Early Childhood Development (ECD) Practitioner from 16 ECD sites. We also mentor and support 23 Community Health Worker(CHW) from 5 community Heath Clinics.