Khulisa celebrate the women-run businesses creating sustainable livelihoods.
Dineo Motsoasele (St Catherina Hospice vegetable garden).
03 August 2023, Johannesburg – By empowering the women in our communities, access to food and nutrition, clean water, jobs, and economic growth will accelerate. Khulisa Social Solutions has seen this first hand; working in the communities of Rustenberg and Amandelbult, to implement their Sustainable Livelihoods programme, that is focused on capacitating women-owned businesses in the areas of agriculture, civic education, peace-building and social cohesion.
While palliative care needs to remain the core focus, Dineo has started and runs a thriving vegetable garden that provides food for patients, staff and the community. The property hosts a farm that is 800m2 with a further growth potential of growth of 2.5 hectors that can be used.
“The woman in our organization are the pillars of strength, looking after those who are terminally ill and those who are physically challenged while working with limited resources,” says Motsoasele. “Through Sustainable Livelihoods, we have learnt how to run a successful NGO, comply with the requirements of the Department of Social Development, and develop our own company policies. This is setting us up to expand our garden, however we still need more fencing for security and support with agricultural training.”
Pricilla Mmasello Sekoboane (Emancipation – Substance Abuse Rehabilitation centre)
“About 90% of our employees are women. We take great pride in this, because we know that women are now taking their place in the work environment and doing everything to develop themselves in our community,” says Sekoboane. “With khulisa we have developed our own policies. We have improved our business development, procedures and policies, and strategies to acquire funding. This programme is extremely beneficial for us.” Emancipation offers in-patient outpatient rehabilitation for people struggling with substance abuse, this includes individual counselling, support groups, educational groups, 12 steps to recovery, motivational talk, Bible studies, and church services. Emancipation is seen as a crucial service in the community.
Priscilla Nkqwili (Kliptown community garden)
Priscilla, a true community developer in Kliptown, established her own vegetable garden in 2013 on a piece of land allocated by the local ward councillor of the City of Johannesburg. Through Sustainable Livelihoods, Priscilla has been trained in permaculture and is now producing up to 500 vegetables per month for the community from a 15m2 garden.
Losia Phudieng Co-Operative (Rustenberg)
The Losia Phudieng Co-operative consists of five women. Despite running their own businesses, the women came together with a common goal: “Adding value, creating employment, and assisting their community”. The co-operative is defined as a senior citizens program which aims to better the lives of people through the provision of organic produce. The currently limitation that the organisation is addressing is the availability of land. They are engaging with schools and churches for possible spaces for immediate availability.
Working with these incredible women, van Selm reflects on the importance of empowering women-led organisations, “To increase the economic resilience of a community, we need to address patriarchy and the limiting social and ecological factors that marginalise and suppress women. When we achieved this in Rustenberg and Amandelbult, we can see that not only do the businesses start to thrive, but the rest of the community significantly benefits from the provision of these businesses, including employment.”
Through its Sustainable Livelihoods programme, Khulisa takes an ecosystem approach, looking at the political, environmental, and social realities that determine the distribution and access to resources. The programme is designed to increase agricultural output and to develop livelihoods opportunities in targeted areas that will eventually lead to a thriving local economy with resilient households.
For the communities of Amandelbult and Rustenberg, the Sustainable Livelihoods came at a time when it was urgently needed. According to research conducted by Khulisa, GBV is a major issue in these communities and deeply rooted patriarchy determines access to land, resources and economic rights. “It is crucial that we strengthen our Sustainable Livelihoods programme to address GBV, marginalisation of women, and to improve food security within the communities.
“Through our partners and funders, we have been able to capacitate over 100 organisation and individuals in promoting sustainable livelihoods, through vegetable growing, permaculture, and micro-agricultural projects. Over and above this, thousands of community members have benefited from master training in various facets of sustainability. There is a major need to expand our Sustainable Livelihoods programme and therefore we are inviting potential funders to join us in this important journey,” says van Selm.
Khulisa Social Solutions is a non-profit company that helps vulnerable children, youth, and communities unlock their potential and develop skills toward a sustainable future.
It operates nationally, employs over 180 staff through 18 offices, and works in approximately 150 communities in collaboration with 350 NGO partners, impacting the lives of close to 200,000 people per annum.
Khulisa partners with national and local government departments, schools, correctional facilities, community leaders, corporates, thought leaders, academic institutions, and private companies. Khulisa’s internationally acclaimed and locally rewarded best practice programmes deliver positive and measurable impact with the main focus on youth and community development.
Through their work towards peacebuilding and restorative justice, Khulisa has been recognised locally and internationally. Within the past year, Khulisa has been awarded the Best Social Solutions Not-for-Profit 2023 at this years Global Excellence Awards. Founder and managing director, Lesley Ann van Selm was also awarded CEO Today Africa Award for her leadership in the peacebuilding and restorative justice space.