Terence on SAFM talking about the supplement

Our facilitator Terence was on SAFM talking about the Sunday Times supplement “Journey of a Change Driver”. Have a listen and if you haven’t read it, go have a read.

Activator Story: Lejweleputswa Exchange

First year Activators Action and Themba are organising an Exchange in the Lejweleputswa District in the Free State. The theme for the Exchange is “Crime: A destroyer of young generational legacy”. They explain further why they decided to hold an Exchange.

The Odendaalsrus (Kutloanong) community, which is part of the Lejweleputsa district, has been ravaged by criminal activities, which has not only negatively affected the lives of residents in Kutloanong but it has also created fear in the community. Crime statistics obtained from the local police station indicates that young people are either the perpetrators or the victims of crime.

We believe that some of the  contributing factors to this problem are the lack of role models and people who can motivate the youth. We believe that this is not a helpless situation. The youth, who are part of us as society and community members, can be assisted.

We intend to invite and mobilise people to participate as both mentors and advisors to assist in enforcing the change of attitude and behaviour amongst our young people.

Date: 6 September 2013
Time: 9am to 1 pm
Venue: Kutlwanong Communicaty Hall

For more details you can email Action Setakal and Themba Vryman on setakal@gmail.com

Mandela Day: Protein, vegetables and love

The head office team went to Home from Home in Khayelitsha as part of the Mandela Day initiative. We were split up into teams and went to visit 7 homes. We went armed with soup, rolls and some desert treats.

The team was warmly welcomed by the staff from Home from Home and we were given more information about the organization. Chris brought his family along to do their bit on Mandela Day. Althea also brought her puppy which got all the love and attention from the kids. 

Home from Home is an NPO that provides support and supervised community-based foster care for; orphaned, abused, neglected and vulnerable children within the community. They have a small unit family structure headed up by house mothers or parents with no more than six children. If you would like to find out more about the organisation you can go to their website http://www.homefromhome.org.za 

The day was a success and it is good to be involved with other organisations doing good within their communities.

To view more pictures you can got to our Facebook Page.

Understanding the Differences Between Civil Society and Civil Society Organisations

Within the South African context there seems to be a lot of confusion about who civil society is and what it means. The term is often used loosely, which just deepens the confusion. 

In my opinion though, all of us are civil society. There is a view that business people and politicians are not civil society, but they are. None of us are defined by our work and so within our personal capacity, we all make up the society of South Africa. 

Where civil society is organised though, it becomes a civil society organisation (CSO). Despite the terms ‘civil society’ and ‘CSOs’ often being used synonymously, there is a fundamental difference between the two, which many of us fail to understand. CSOs are defined as organised civil society and can come in many forms, some informal and some as formal entities such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), CBOs, faith-based organisations (FBOs), among many others. This is when a group of individuals come together for a common purpose, as in to fulfil a particular mandate driven by need.

CSOs have a constituency, as they have a clientele/beneficiaries whom they serve and ideally should represent that clientele. As such, it is very disturbing to see how many purport to be representing the views of civil society when in fact civil society has no idea what their mandate is. This is because no matter how well-intended the effort is, if people do not know or understand the mandate being served when ‘civil society’ is represented – then we in the sector are guilty of what we often accuse government of doing – imposing plans on people rather than facilitating a space in which people can make their own informed decisions.

A member of civil society represents their own views. It is very presumptuous of anyone to claim to represent the view of another as we often see. This does nothing but delegitimise the work done by CSOs and should be guarded against. Purporting to represent the view of all South Africans when failing to give people an understanding of what it is being referred to is very demeaning and can be dangerous as it further strips away the voice and dignity that represent civil society. But I have not the faintest clue what they are harping on and on about and yet they claim to be representing my views.

Many are sceptical of the work being done by CSOs, believing the sector to be self-serving and even at times, perpetuating the cycle of social exclusion under the guise of ‘making a difference’. This is a direct result of not differentiating between representing ‘civil society’ and a CSO representing a particular constituency of civil society. By virtue of seeking accountability from government and business, CSOs should hold themselves to the highest standards and this includes ensuring that no error is made about who and what CSOs represent.

Koketso Moeti is part of the Activate! Change Drivers network. To get in touch with her e-mail kmoeti@gmail.com alternatively, refer to http://about.me/koketsomoeti 

This article was first published by NGO Pulse.

Activator Story: Puppet Show

Activator Thabang Tshabalala shares his story of how the first year training has inspired him.

During module 2 we did puppet show and I just told myself on the spot that I’m going to do this with kids when I go back home and also as I’m going to USA. I saw the puppet making and puppet show as a good thing to bring kids together and to bring out the kids creativity. I believe that some of them will realize that they have talent/skills in acting or sharing a dialogue in a different ways because really after the show we saw most of the kids who were quiet most of the time talking and having fun and leading the dialogue. I’m happy that I got that chance to schedule puppet making in the camp schedule as I’m a Program Coordinator at this camp.

I’m using each and every tool I get from Activate to help me in my job here in USA. I have used the washing line tool with my team I’m working with here and it helped us a lot. Being able to bring something new at the camp has made me realize that Activate came in my life at a right time were I needed them.

I hope all Activators are using the tools they get from Activate as I’m planning to host a Life Skills camp this coming December 2012 or March 2014 during School Holidays if things goes according to the plan, where I’m going to take Boys who are doing drugs (Nyaope) to a weekend or 5 days residential camp.

To get hold of Thabang you can email him at etshaba@gmail.com

Related Stories:

Activator Story: Mokgadi Matlakala

Activator Mokgadi takes us on a journey through her community as she explains how her community has shaped her. 

The Possibility of the “Funding Crisis”

The words ‘competition’ and ‘competitive’ are increasingly being used to address the non-profit sector, something which should both shame and alarm us all. As a sector, irrespective of our different areas of focus, our collective mandate is to facilitate an environment which uplifts human lives and we should not be competing to do that. Instead, we should be looking for ways to support each other in the achievement of this collective mandate.

Rather than reacting to the so-called ‘funding crisis’ by competing with each other for resources, we should be taking proactive measures not to protect our organisations, but rather those whom we serve. It is an opportunity to discover an alternative way of doing things, one that does not create a spirit of dependency in South African civil society organisations (CSOs).

This can be achieved by pooling resources as may be necessary, including human capital. Collaboration need not be on a huge scale, it can be with simple things like an organisation having more stationery than they need and sharing with another. It is from these little acts that we will be starting a process of creating networks of support for each other and by so doing, maximising the impact of a sector as a whole.

This will not only have a positive impact on those whom we serve, but it will also protect the integrity of the sector. Too many organisations are so focused on the quest for resources that the mere existence of the organisation has come to transcend the actual needs which brought it into existence in the first place. Apart from this, the scramble for resources have left many organisations compromised as they sacrifice their mandates in exchange for donor driven ones- which are not always in the best interests of those being served.

I call on the sector to forget the ‘funding crisis’ and rather accept this as a chance to re-imagine and re-create not only the way we do things, but also our society in general. In the creation of a less reactive and more proactive sector, we will be setting an example not only to those whom we serve; but also those whom we often call to order for their compromised integrity. This in turn will create CSOs which “walk the talk” we so often preach and will be the greatest contribution we can make in strengthening civil society in South Africa.

Koketso Moeti is part of the Activate! Change Drivers network. To get in touch with her e-mail kmoeti@gmail.com alternatively, refer to http://about.me/koketsomoeti 

This article was first published by NGO Pulse.

Dialogue: Do We Have A Culture Of Drinking?

A part of the training programme Activators are taught how to run a dialogue session. There was live tweet session when the Gauteng group was practicing running a dialogue session. This is what they had to say about whether South African have a culture of drinking.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Paperboy – Postboxes for Everyone

Information that’s not transmitted to its recipients is futile in a communication link. I have noticed that a lot of households in my community don’t have post boxes, and this in turn results in a number of letters and responses from the post office and relevant stakeholders getting lost in transition.

Primary school students who come back from school earlier are seen loitering around the streets with flying letters roaming all over which they pick up when the intended recipients are at work. I have taken it upon myself to build post boxes for my community to eradicate this problem. I would need relevant materials to build them and I can work from home. I live in a large community especially now with the recent RDP houses that have been built but I would like to pilot with at least 1584 houses in my section.

This will lead to job creation and community development, and this will also save the post office a lot on duplicate distribution costs and the community at large on getting their invoices and notices on time. This can trickle down to other communities with the same problem.

To contact Mpumi you can email him at mpumimali@ymail.com or you can follow him on Twitter @MpumiMali

Township Roots Project

What is township roots all about? 

Township Roots exists to improve education in Nyanga, Cape Town. Through our programs we aim to help the young people of Nyanga stay out of crime and stay in school, all the way through primary and high-school and into university. 

Right now Nyanga has some challenges. 

•  The annual dropout rate of students in grades 1-8 is between 1% and 4%. Between grades 9 – 11 this grows to 12%. 

In response to this we focus our efforts on children moving from primary school into secondary school. We believe that if we can keep kids in school, we can keep them out of crime. 

What do we do? 

Township Roots runs exciting educational and life skills activities for kids aged 12-16 in Nyanga community after school hours, over weekends and during school vacations. Our young people are mentored both academically and socially to enhance their chances of succeeding in high school. We also partner our kids up with mentors – successful people from Nyanga who are eager to invest in the next generation. We even engage the parents of Nyanga, holding regular community meetings to pursue a vision of hope and opportunity. 

Our Plan 

How much does it cost us to run Township Roots for 40 students? 

We invite sponsors to select the area that they would like to support directly. 

T-shirts for the Learners R4000 

Marketing Banners R1400 

Refreshments for the Learners R2000 

Tutor Support – Transport for tutors R1500 

End of Year Excursion R7000 

Our financial accounts are audited each year by Spark* International. 

(We keep our operating costs as low as possible, and receive strategic, financial and operational support from Spark* International) www.spark.org.au.

from here… 

We are eager to talk with forward thinking South African companies and organisations who would like to partner with us in our vision for Nyanga. 

By investing in the young people of the community, we can work together to turn Nyanga around in a generation. 

We look forward to sharing more with you. Please contact us at the following details: 

Phone: +27812522375 

Email: bulelani@townshiproots.org 

Web: www.townshiproots.org