Let nobody say “nothing happens in the rural areas! It has been a year of consolidation and rapid growth, which has required some hard thinking and planning for all the work ahead. We have decided to keep our work within four programmatic areas these are:
Nutrition and Health
Here’s a very brief summary of what we are up to in each area (more info available on request, of course):
Objective: To provide access to future opportunities through the facilitation of the provision of an enabling education
We’re hoping to get the whole, wonderful, school built over the next year. (It is going to be quite a sight to behold, everyone should come and visit.) This is reliant on funds coming in and us not being too thwarted by the rains or any other unseen crisis.
Now that the Grade R is about to have its roof put on (see the latest NO-OFISI School project update), we seriously need to start thinking about furnishing and teaching supplies. Next year we will be moving on to working with the principal, teachers and the parents to improve the education delivery. This might be the biggest challenge of all.
A huge new initiative we undertaking is the creation of an Early Learning Centre in the village. This project seeks to:
- Establish a dynamic pre-school for children between 2 and 6 years in the village (integrating education, health, nutrition and social services)
- Foster an appreciation of the importance of early childhood education and promote the concept of ‘family and household’ as primary sites of learning
- Encourage ‘education activism’ amongst parents and learners
Provide mentorship and support for local primary schools, to ensure a continuation of education excellence for children graduating from the pre-school.
Objective: To strive to eradicate poverty in the village through facilitating the strengthening and diversification of the local economy
Over the past few months Mark Welch has been researching possible new micro-businesses that could be set up in the village. Next year we will be facilitating the set up of three of the suggested projects, so that three more people in the village have their own businesses.
Another huge project which will be starting next year, under the guidance of Charles Standing, is the Essential Oils Farming Project. This small scale farming project is going to be by far the biggest agricultural project in the village, with the plan being that within a few years almost all families in the village will be able to be involved. The objective of this project is the creation of a sustainable income source for small scale farmers in Nqileni village, with the potential for replication in other historically disadvantaged rural areas
NUTRITION AND HEALTH
Objective:To improve the health status of Nqileni and surrounding villages
Dale Millard is back in the village, he is the kind of hippy we love, a “scientific-doer-hippy with commune credentials” as Liesl (our lodge manager) puts it. Dale is a Permaculture authority who will be assisting Nothembile and Noayin to make their gardens more sustainable. He will also be setting up the school food forest, planting lots of trees around the school, and training village members in permaculture gardening.
Objective: To ensure that the human right to basic service provision is met
We have two new initiatives which have been recently been undertaken in the basic services category. The first constituted of the protection of two springs, and two education days (one in Nqileni, one in the neighbouring village) in which micro-scopes were used to show people exactly what is going on in their dirty water. This was extremely effective, now everyone wants their spring protected. The second is the Wind turbine project. Felix, from Copper Africa, arrived in the village with all the bits for a wind turbine battery charger. This will charge batteries which will then act as nodes of electrical supply in the village.
With all of this we’re having a bit of a staff shuffle around. I am moving out (my contract has come to an end, and I am ready to spend some time at home in Cape Town) and Dave will be overseeing things until the new Programme Director is employed. Mark is just about finished his research and Dale has arrived to be with us until the end of the year. Sonja Giese and Charles Standing will be moving to the village at the beginning of next year and adding their energy to the mix.