This program earned a Platinum award.
Many areas in the Northern Cape have little access to any form of education, healthcare, or income, apart from work on local farms. They are far from any towns or services, and this condemns many people in them to lives of poverty and unemployment. The Hantam Community Education Trust (HCET) was established in the Colesburg District in 1989 to attempt to address some of these problems. The first project was a nursery school, which has since developed into an Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, with schooling being provided from Grade R to Grade 9. There is also a teacher training project – this includes providing training workshops and support to pre-school teachers throughout the area; sending young women from the district to be trained at the local ECD training centre; providing internships at the HCET; and supporting Grade R teachers both at HCET and other local schools who are competing their ECD Level 5 certification. An Effective Parenting Programme (EPP) has also been established for mothers and fathers of children up to the age of five years. Transport is also provided to all pre-schoolers at HCET, within a 50km radius. An Outreach Teacher Development Programme is also run, and provides training to all Grade R and Foundation Phase teachers from two schools, in Noupoort and Colesburg. A Youth Empowerment Programme assists teenagers who are not able to complete their schooling (those who pass Grade 9 at HCET but cannot continue) – the programme provides job-skills training in building, construction, artisan, technical and hospitality courses, as well as assistance with learners and drivers licences.
Partnerships have been set up with a number of local and international organizations (London Chamber of Commerce; Steyn’s Culinary School in Pretoria; Bergzicht Training Centre in Stellenbosch; and Unique Training Solutions in Bloemfontein). Agreements have also been set up with numerous local hospitality venues, construction companies, farmers, plumbers and electricians to take on students for work experience during their training year. Students also are assisted in completing Adult Basic Education and Training courses in English 1, 2, 3 and 4. All the qualifications meet NQF standards. Bursaries are also provided to students to continue with secondary and tertiary education. All the money has to be paid back, providing money for later students to do the same. HCET also runs a health clinic, which provides primary and oral healthcare; HIV/AIDS testing, treatment, education and support; a pharmacy; access to dental and eye care; and to cancer tests done by CANSA at a reduced fee. The EPP also focuses on good nutrition and health of the children, and teaches parents about common childhood health problems. A number of vegetable gardens have also been developed, which assist with good nutrition.
Innovation: HCET aims to provide a means to break the cycle of poverty in a rural area, by providing education and opportunities to numerous children, teenagers, teachers and parents in the area; as well as health services. This helps to empower these people, and allows them to achieve a higher quality of life. HCET is the only centre of its kind in the area.
Effectiveness: There are currently 2 ECD classrooms with 58 children, two teachers and three interns. The school has 179 pupils, 11 teachers, a library, 10 classrooms and a computer centre. The ECD programme supports 30 teachers in the district, and impacts on approximately 800 children. Daily transport is provided to all 58 children in the ECD programme at HCET. 11 Grade R teachers completed their level 5 training by June 2009. Since its start in 2008, the Youth Empowerment Programme has registered 8 hospitality students with the London Chamber of Commerce, and the Bergzicht Training Institute; and four trade students at Unique Training Solutions. 23 educators are involved in the Teacher Outreach Development. 44 bursary students have graduated; 36 have found employment; and a further 27 are currently studying at secondary and tertiary institutions. The health clinic provides health care and education to families on 28 farms, as well as some nomadic families; and is the only healthcare centre within a 150km radius. An average of 60 patients are treated weekly; and an average of 9 families visited; and 68 people have come forward to be tested for HIV/AIDS. 46 mothers and 58 children take part in the EPP.
Poverty Impact: All members of staff are drawn from the local community; and HCET provides employment to 46 people (14 at the health-clinic; 12 at the school; 6 at the pre-school; 14 general staff). However, the benefits to the community, in terms of access to education, opportunities and healthcare, are much greater .
Sustainability: HCET set up an Endowment Trust, and has raised R7m to date. There are almost 150 different international and local donors, from NGOs, the private sector, and government departments. The project has already been running for 19 years, and seems to be financially sustainable for the future. Also, because all the staff are local; and through the different training programmes (eg. Bursary scheme; teacher training etc), more local community members are being trained to take over in the future. Thus, the project is also sustainable in terms of personnel.
Replication: HCET was established through extensive communication with the community – each project was requested before it was initiated. Thus, any similar project would need to follow the same process, getting strong community buy-in first. Funding would need to be accessed; and partnerships established with different organizations. Thus, replication would not be easy, and would be time-consuming. However, as can be seen from this project (located in a very rural area, 40k from the nearest town), it can be done. Passionate staff would be required!