This project aims to assist community members in establishing 10 different microenterprises over the next 24 months. If successful, we hope they will spread virally through the area creating sustainable livelihood opportunities. After the initial planning sessions to determine the 12 month roll out schedule of the first 5 enterprises to be launched, meetings with the sub-headman (community traditional leaders) in the 4 villages of the Xhora Mouth area began in earnest. The purpose of these meetings was to discuss the viability of launching the proposed enterprises in the different villages and to request the opportunity at which we could approach the broader communities for suitable candidates to participate in the initial set up phase.
Because previous projects have been concentrated in Nqileni Village, we’ve tried to spread the location of the set up of these new enterprises further away, where possible. In consultation with the sub-headman, the villages of Mgojweni and Tshezi were identified as viable sites for setting up hairdressing salons. The sub-headman confirmed that community members spent large sums of money travelling to Elliotdale town for hairdressing services and that a village based service of this kind could be successful. Due to its picturesque location, the village of Folokwe was identified as a viable site for the lunch stop on the Village Hike activity. The sub-headman of that village committed to approaching the community members with homesteads located on a hill with a beautiful forest view, to establish their interest in participating in the project. The sub-headman of all three villages would convey our interest in purchasing the wool sheared from their sheep this season. In the past, wool has been discarded as rubbish. The Wool project hopes to teach simple spinning techniques so that the wool can be used for making scarves, hats, blankets and other crafts for sale to tourists and community members.
STARTING TO FILM!
One of the key deliverables of this project is to document the set up process of each new enterprise and produce a “How to” DVD and booklet for distribution in other areas, similar to our own. A DVD and booklet will be produced for each successful enterprise launched: “How to Start a Hairdressing Salon”, “How to Start a Village-based Homestay”, “How to Start a Sewing Project” and so on. Information about the resources needed for the initial set up and lessons that we learn in the first few months of running the businesses will be shared through these DVDs and booklets. We have already starting filming the start up processes, including our initial discussions with the sub-headman and the community as this is a crucial step in the success of projects set up in traditional rural areas.
Kunjulwa Mbi is well set up in her craft shop now, based at the Bulungula Lodge. We hope that this will be the first successfully run craft shop, owned by a local community member. Kunjulwa has changed the name of the shop to Siyakhula (We are growing) and she continues to receive training and support from this project. The shop will be an important outlet for the crafts that are developed in the Sewing, Wool and Hot Box enterprises.