Umthathi Training Project

The project is based on Community Development Model which is based on the perception that community members are ultimately in their best position to develop themselves and their own communities and to eliminate the obstacles that impede the process. (Weyers,2011:153). Umthathi Training Project's vision is to increase the quality of life through further developing the knowledge, skills, activities and networks necessary for healthy living within focus area in the Eastern Cape. This is done to empower our beneficiaries so that they will be able to generate income from selling their produce and eradicate poverty along the process.

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

We partner with the Rhodes University Community Engagement office, where we normally get student volunteers to assist on the programme. Working with our local community and stakeholders have helped us to identify leaders who will assist us in sustaining the programme. We also work with community volunteers (Champions) who will be working hard in their communities to ensure that they have thriving gardens and if people are living health life style as taught. The Champions will be able to sustain the project so that it carries on even if the organisation is to close down.

The challenges

It was discovered that there is high rate of unemployment in Grahamstown hence most people have resorted to commiting crime for survival. Most of youths in the area are school drop outs who have joined gangersterism, abusing drugs and abusing alcohol. Most of the people in the area do not know on how to life health life style which in turn cause them to suffer from the disease that are caused by eating unhealthy diets. The aim of this programme is to empower community members by providing them with skills that will sustain them and promote a healthy life style.

Addressing the challenges

As Umthathi Training Project, we train community members on Healthy Living covering the following topics:- Food security, Nutrition, Hygiene, Money Management, Home Based Care, Advocacy and Lobbying and Climate Change. We encourage them to have backyard gardens after demonstrating to them on how to make a thriving garden, this includes, mulching, inter-cropping, methods of water harvesting and many more to mention. We also train them on Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) where we connect them with the stakeholders within their area so that they can be assisted with funding that will assist in the community development. ABCD training assists them to unlock their hidden talents . We also teach them on group formation and assist them to establish and register a Co-operative. Team work also promotes their social skills and it encourages them to work harder.

The achievements

We have managed to boost confidents in our beneficiaries, they now have thriving gardens than before. The skills we taught them had left a huge impact and poverty was eradicated along the way because they are no longer depending on government grants as before. They are now generating income for themselves from selling produce from their gardens. Crime rate has reduced because they are generating income for themselves from making ointment which they make from using natural herbs. Their health has improved too because they have been taught on how to plant, grow and eat healthy food.