This program earned a Platinum award.
The Athlone Institute was initially established in 1926, to run a number of primary schools in the area. Over time, and in response to challenges from the different governments since then, the project has had to adapt to meet the new needs of the community. The Athlone Institute was broken down into the Athlone Institute Trust, the Athlone Fund Trust, and the Athlone Charitable Trust. The different trusts are now intended to provide funding for community-initiatives that focus on poverty alleviation. To date, four projects have been established, as well as a number of ongoing assistance to churches, NPOs and for emergency/disaster funds. The four projects are the Athlone Institute Bursary Fund (AIBPROF); the Athlone House of Strength (AHOS); @COMPLAB (a computer help centre); and Athlone Institute Trust and Allandale Correctional Project (AITACOP). One new project is chosen each year; and each is funded for five years on a diminishing capitalization method. There are also attempts to engage with government departments in order to make the projects more sustainable.
Innovation: The Trust aims to encourage locally developed programmes, which focus on poverty alleviation. This helps to empower local community members, while also providing poverty-alleviation initiatives.
Effectiveness: The AIBPROF awarded bursaries and bursary loans to 66 applicants (44 bursaries and 22 bursary loans) in 2008. The AHOS is a shelter for abused women – the buildings were built by inmates from the AITACOP, helping to keep the costs low. Programmes provided by AHOS include computer training, Early Childhood Development, sewing training, support and therapeutic crafting groups, and a shelter for women attending the programme. Thus far, a welding centre has been opened at the Hawequa Correctional Facility under the AITACOP, which is one of five disciplines that will be addressed.
Poverty Impact: The focus of all the projects being sponsored is poverty alleviation; therefore each will provide some impact on poverty in the area. Most of the projects focus on providing skills to those involved (either through a bursary, or through skills-training), which improves their chances of being able to access an income in the future.
Sustainability: The project had accumulated funds of R19.319m by 2008. Thus, it has substantial capital available for supporting its projects. The Trust receives most of the money from investments it has made over the years. By partnering with local community members, and with government departments, the chances of sustainability for the project are improved.
Replication: Similar projects could be replicated, although it would probably take some time to access sufficient resources to do so on a large-scale. However, community-initiated and –developed initiatives are easily replicable, and this could be done in almost any community.