Supporting the ‘African Footprints of Hope’ NGO

The BCMDA provides support for numerous community outreach projects and relies on the excellent relationships it has built with numerous NGOs, in their roles as implementing agents. One of its success stories is in the Agency’s work with African Footprints of Hope, an NGO active in the Buffalo City area and with a footprint that extends further into the Province. It is an excellent example of the kinds of far reaching results that can be yielded through effective civic participation initiatives.  

“This project has its roots on the day a young girl knocked at my door, asking for food.” Explains African Footprints Director NolithaNkomana. “This child was part of a group of orphans based in the Sweetwaters community, and when I arrived there to distribute food parcels, I realised that this was a heavily poverty-stricken area that was in dire need of assistance.” 

“I believed that encouraging and supporting household food gardens would be an effective initiative for members of the Sweetwaters community.”

African Footprints submitted an effective proposal to support a number of food gardens to the BCMDA’s call for applications for assistance. The Agency provided R50 000 in assistance that was used to purchase seedlings and implements for beneficiaries. These implements included tools such as spades, rakes, watering cans, pairs of gardening gloves, and other implements. 

“We were fortunate in that the recipients that were chosen on the advice on the Ward Committee and Ward Councillor were already attempting to start household gardens. So we had an existing skills base to work with. Simple household gardens such as these go a long way to address many social challenges faced by this community. For starters it will help to alleviate poverty and hunger. And of course, monitoring is vitally important so that we can demonstrate to the Agency the effectiveness of their assistance.”

But there is a lot more that can be done to help the people of Sweetwaters, believes Nolitha. 

“Surrounded by all these beautiful and healthy vegetables, I am very impressed with the beneficiaries’ results. I hope that BCMDA will continue in the work that they have done, as there is still a lot of untapped potential here. For instance, there is a lot of vacant Municipal land here that is prone to illegal dumping. The Agency should seriously consider scaling up this project to begin larger community gardens in the vacant land parcels. This will not only ensure food security for schools and the elderly in the area, but it will also discourage illegal dumping if the land is being used for something.” 

“At the end of the day, initiatives like these are aimed at giving people the tools to help themselves. The Agency should give some thought to initiatives that can capacitate this community through skills such as bricklaying or carpentry. Skill that will enable people to create their own employment. We should be focused on creating an enabling environment where people are not constantly expecting assistance from the Municipality or from Government. In this way, we can restore the true dignity of our people.”