2005 Winner
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
South Africa

Description: The Emseni Community Project was started in August 1999 and is a registered not-for-profit community development organisation (reg no: 2003/015490/08). This project was started to address the community social problems of unemployment, HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation, lack of continuous sustenance, child-headed families, and inadequate educational facilities in the area including Kwa Mashu, Inanda and Ntuzuma, within the eThekwini municipality. The project currently runs a feeding scheme, vegetable garden, an HIV/AIDS support programme, care for orphans programme, the Bonginkosi Christian Academy and the Adopt-a School programme. Bongikosi is a school incorporating a nursery, pre-school children, and grades 1 and 2. The Adopt-a-School programme is a training programme for learners and teachers and educates them in sustaining a healthy living environment at Mzuvele High School. This educating is done through talks at the school. The project as a whole was established by the KwaMashu Christian Centre and receives 90% of funding from the centre. The other 10% is received from the eThekwini municipality. Partnerships also exist with the KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Education and Health and Social Welfare in running the various programmes.

Innovation: Each individual programme at this school is not unique in itself but the combined project is a very worthwhile initiative in this community.

Effectiveness: 1200 meals are provided every month, 3 days a week at the feeding scheme by counsellors and volunteers. The vegetable garden produces food for the feeding scheme and for other gardeners who work. 138 people have been trained in basic gardening skills. The following other activities exist: the HIV/AIDS programme provides home-based care, carried out by volunteers; a support group counsels 40-45 HIV/AIDS patients and is run by retired medical practitioners; and a building is in the process of being completed to provide a fully functioning hospice. The orphan programme provides food and transport money for 60 predominantly HIV/AIDS affected orphans. Emseni also helps to collect clothing and food for other orphanages in the area. The Bonginkosi School provides 112 early learners with basic skills to prepare them for further education at larger primary schools.

The Adopt-a-School programme aimed to improve the grounds of the school with the help of the Parks Board. This programme was established at the Mzuvele High School. Through Adopt-a-School, an exchange programme was established with Abbey-Grange Church of England High School in Leeds, England.

Poverty Impact: This project tackles a number of social problems in the area and therefore helps to improve the quality of life for many people in different ways. As indicated by the figures and statistics mentioned above, there are many people receiving benefits from the project's various activities.

Sustainability: The community project is under the guidance of a board of directors, led by Mrs Doris Mzimela. It also receives help from three different provincial departments and the local municipality. This faith in the project shows that there is a belief that it will continue to succeed. If this project continues to get community support and can possibly get other sources of funding apart from the KwaMashu Christian Centre, then this project will be sustainable

Replication: This project is unique in the sense that it was set up by a faith-based organisation. There is no doubt that similar conditions facing a community exist elsewhere in South Africa but only if a similar network of staff and a reliable source of funding can be found will this project be able to be replicated. The basic principles are however there to be replicated.