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Leopard Research Project, Greater Kruger

By | Conservation
Focused research on leopards through data collection assists with conservation solutions that protect species and individuals, and contributes to the health of the entire ecosystem.
Population of large carnivores are threatened and experiencing declines in numbers globally. Over a third of South Africa’s leopard habitat is found in just Limpopo province, yet 95% of that is outside of formally protected areas. Despite these issues, the majority of population and conservation-based research has occurred in protected areas. This has led to a lack of data or unreliable results to inform conservation practice.

It is vital that data collection is conducted on private land and that populations are studied in these areas to work towards evidence-based conservation practice. Ultimately, it is only through focused research in these areas that we can develop conservation solutions that will protect these species and individuals’ livelihoods, thus contributing to the health of entire ecosystems.

Through the camera traps bought and in use we are hoping to achieve:
– Leopard captures (photos collected on camera traps)
– Corridors monitored
– Density Studies completed
– Territorial/movement maps created for various predator species
– Snare sweeps completed

We have successfully raised enough money for 8 camera traps which through 1250 pictures, were able to identify 8 different species, conduct research on their behaviours and their movement for adequate conservation strategies to protect them better.

Community Sports Development

By | Stories

South Africa is a huge sport playing nation. Whether at the local level or international, South Africa’s love of sport and competitive nature is world class. Despite this, many children lack the resources necessary to have the chance to play an organized, umpired game.

Physical Education is not part of the school curriculum and after school sports is virtually non-existent in township communities. Throughout the world it is known that taking part in sporting activities can greatly improve both physical and mental health but sadly this is missing for many children in Khayelitsha and Langa. In addition, children are often unsupervised during the hours after school, leading to exposure to gangs, drugs, alcohol and abuse.

The Happy Africa Foundation partners with Sporting Chance coaches and with the help of volunteers from African Impact, students in schools in Khayelitsha and Langa are able to have access to physical education during scheduled lessons. When speaking to the sports coach in Khayelitsha, he revealed that he had started running soccer and cricket training after school to allow children to really embrace all that there is to offer from sports. However, the children had no other teams to play against and so could not practice their skills or develop good sportsmanship.

The Happy Africa Foundation believes that sports programmes offer a positive outlet for children’s energy, providing excellent opportunities for physical, social and emotional development. Therefore, each year, The Happy Africa Foundation in partnership with Sporting Chance, host a 10-week long cricket and soccer tournament on the streets of Khayelitsha, Langa and now in Mitchell’s Plain. This year, quarterly interschool competitions in soccer and netball are also being held between Khayelitsha and Langa schools.

By providing quarterly interschool competitions, a sense of team/school pride is developed as well as goal-setting and achievements. The students can train with a goal in mind; motivation is an incredible tool for development. The first quarterly Interschool Competition was held in April between Khayelitsha United and the Langa Warriors; soccer and netball teams from the two Sports Development Schools. The participants learnt about commitment to training, sportsmanship and school pride. The day was a huge success with children now looking to even the scores next term. If you’d like to know more about this incredible day, check out this short video https://youtu.be/QIqOpB5SZZM

The annual street tournament for soccer and cricket also allows for a sense of community spirit, local employment for coaches and umpires and a chance for children to show their talent. Up to 15 community members are employed in each of the three locations to act as coaches and to ensure fair play and competitive spirit is maintained. The streets are closed, the goal posts are converted barrels-come-stumps are deployed and the community turns out in force to support their respective teams. The tournament culminates in a final game in December for both cricket and soccer, with the winner awarded all-important bragging rights as well as trophies and medals. All participants are also given a shirt to continue the show of pride in participating. Over the 10 weeks, around 360 children will have taken part in the street tournament across Khayelitsha, Langa and Mitchell’s Plain.

The inclusion of quarterly interschool competitions as well as expanding the annual street tournament to include Mitchell’s Plain has increased our fundraising target for our Community Sports Development project. So far, we have fundraised R24,920, needing R135,080 more in order to deliver all four interschool competitions and the street tournament. If you would like to help us achieve this goal, please visit www.happyafricafoundation.org/donate.

My first week in Cape Town

By | News

Written by Taylor Jones

The week leading up to my arrival in Cape Town was filled with anxiety. The normal stresses of travel such as what to pack and last minute plannings were present but most of the anxiety came from the unknown of the work I was about to begin. All the previous times that I had traveled out of the country had been for the cultural immersion and the fun of traveling. While those components were also main parts of my upcoming trip to Cape Town, my primary reason for going was to start interning with The Happy Africa Foundation. I was moving to another country for work not just for play and the idea caused a great deal of anxiety.

Now that my first week in Cape Town is behind me, the stress and anxiety has subsided to excitement for my next three months. My first week was filled gaining the “volunteer experience”. I spent most of the week going with the volunteers to the various projects that we have around Cape Town and learning how each of them functioned. The projects ranged from teaching at a preschool to helping young girls in a dance group gain self confidence by seeing their own self portrait for the first time. The projects filled myself and my fellow volunteers with hope for the future of these kids even though they faced what can seem like insurmountable obstacles.

When not on projects, most of my time was spent getting to know the incredible group of volunteers that are all staying in the Lion House. Bonds have grown so quickly even though we have only known each other for a short period of time. It is easy to grow close when everyone is sharing such an incredible experience with one another and exploring the amazing city which is Cape Town.

Now there is only excitement as I look ahead to the next three months in this amazing city. I feel confident that I will not only enjoy the work I am doing but also the place that I get to live and the people I will be meeting along the way. I am sure there will be challenges but the support from staff, family, and friends will enable me to stay positive and push through the obstacles.

Bethel Academy, Limuru

By | Education & Enrichment
This project is dedicated to building new bathrooms, as well as updating the aesthetics of the Bethel Academy school by painting walls and roof – providing much needed renovations for the 190 learners at the school.
Bethel Academy is prioritized as it is a community school and has increased in size, with no increase in funds or facilities. Currently 190 children are sharing 4 bathrooms and queuing during their breaks to use the very basic toilets. They also have a student with physical disabilities, who is not able to use the current toilet, due to the size of the wheelchair and instead the teachers are having to use diapers.

Bethel Academy is a community school funded by community support and donations. The project is directed towards providing additional facilities to the school, whose capacity is limited due to the increase of student numbers and the presence of a special needs student.

We are currently fundraising for a bathroom for all the children at Bethel Academy, as well as for aesthetically uplifting the school’s appearance with a coat of paint to make the school a more attractive and engaging place of learning. This project will significantly impact the children, with increased learning and playtime, uninterrupted by queuing to use the limited bathrooms.

Short Term Impact:
There will be an increase in sanitation and hygiene which seeks to increase basic human dignity, access and to the contrary, de-crease absenteeism.

Long Term Impact:
These renovations will also help the school meet the required standards by Ministry of Education to provide improved sanitation and efficiency.

Limuru
The African Impact Foundation projects in Kenya are based in the Limuru District of Kiambu County in the Central Province of Kenya. The majority of the population in the Central Province are Kikuyu – the largest ethnic group in Kenya. However, due to its close proximity to the capital city, Nairobi, the Limuru area is quickly becoming a cosmopolitan area. Other communities (Luhya, Luo, Kamba, Maasai, Kisii) have settled in Kiambu County as a result of rural-urban migration in pursuit of employment and other economic opportunities.

Achieved So Far:
We have started fundraising in June 2017, so watch this space!

Saving the Environment, EcoBrick by EcoBrick

By | News

Today we celebrate World Environment Day with a focus on our Ecobrick projects in Livingstone, Zambia.

An EcoBrick is a plastic bottle stuffed solid with non-biological waste to create a reusable building block. All that is needed to make an EcoBrick is a plastic bottle or container of some sort (including paper / laminate milk cartons) and a stick to compress plastics, non-biodegradables, and synthetics in to, that would otherwise be thrown into landfill.

With our partner African Impact in Zambia, we’ve decided to adopt this idea and implement it in various building projects whilst involving the community in EcoBrick exchange programs. We have two main places where we are currently sourcing EcoBricks, one is a school called Dambwa Christian Care center and the other is the community of Linda Farm. At the school, we have developed a reward system for the learners; they learn how make EcoBricks from the litter they find around their home and they receive rewards based on the number of bottles submitted. The turnout has been great as the kids are excited for the prizes but are also at the same time engaging with their environment and tackling plastic waste issues from their homes to the open area.

At Linda Farm, which is a community of mainly blind and generally disabled people, we’ve decided to engage the community members in EcoBricking exchanges. Linda Farm is the main area we have used the EcoBricks to build structures, including a piggery, large compost bin and an outdoor enclosure for chickens.

EcoBricks have proved to be an awesome way to get plastic trash of the streets, educate our learners about the environment and a cost-effective way to build much needed structures!

The EcoBrick Compost Bin

EcoBrick Exchange Program

Build It volunteers in action

“While you’re busy helping to change their lives, they’ll change yours”

By | Stories

Claudy Luft, volunteered in the Girl Impact and Gender Empowerment Project for 12 weeks in Livingstone, Zambia and 12 weeks in Moshi, Tanzania.

Much more can and needs to be done to reach the goal of gender equality in the hole world. I believe every little bit helps and it starts with education, that is why I came to Zambia in 2016 and to Tanzania in 2017.

4 weeks ago, I arrived in Moshi. I was so excited and could not wait to start. From the moment I arrived, I felt part of the Moshi African Impact family, everyone is so welcoming and the projects are well organized. After being a volunteer in different projects, in different locations, I knew how interesting and impactful the Girl Impact program is. The girls (and boys every now and then) that are part of the Girl Impact program improved their knowledge but more important they grow in confidence. When we invest in girls’ health, safety, education and rights we empower them to reach for their dreams and build better lives for themselves and their communities.

There are many similarities in the Girl Impact projects, of course both projects cover all the ‘girls’ topics and both projects are well established and well organized. Even when you volunteer for 2 or 4 weeks you can see the bigger impact the program makes in the community and you are an important part of it. An interesting difference between the locations is the culture. Girls all over the world struggle with the same problems but cultural influences make that girls in different part of the world are more vulnerable than others. A project in Moshi that made a big impact in one of my first weeks was NAFGEM, a project that helps girls who escaped female genital mutilation, which is still common in Maasai and Tanzanian culture. Young women, especially those from such strict cultural backgrounds need and want mentors to help them navigate and bring them more confidents to become strong, independent women. Here in Moshi we work closely with the Maasai; we run a Maasai literacy program and a Maasai professional development program. Girl Impact volunteers in Moshi get the change to join the education project in which we teach the Maasai, adults and kids English. This gives you the opportunity to see more of the impact we make in the community. While volunteering you really get to know the culture and that is one of the biggest benefits volunteering gives you compare to traveling.

Both projects are focussed on different age groups of girls, from young girls up to adults. And all girls that I’ve met in the program are so eager to learn and come to our lessons after school which shows their dedication. This program is an incredible experience for yourself and for the girls that you’ll support by joining the Girl Impact program. African Impact facilitates it so well with tasty food, good accommodation, project transfers and a helpful team to support you before, during and after the projects. You’ll never be on your own!

But be aware while you’re busy helping to change their lives, they’ll change yours and in ways you could never have imagined.

Farmers of the Future, Greater Kruger

By | Empowering Communities
Developing skills for unemployed youth through using community gardens  for subsistence and for an opportunity to develop important life, agricultural and business skills for small business opportunities.
 
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Our initial goal is to help these unemployed young people to sustain themselves and their families through growing vegetables to supplement their diet for self sufficiency. Once this is achieved we will seek with the young people to build their skills for income generation.

We are currently working in partnership with Maputha Ditshaba High School who have offered us a piece of land that we will create a community garden to help local community members sustain themselves and their families and increase income generation. Initially high school graduates will have the opportunity to learn new skills and a sustainable way of feeding themselves and their families. It will be a self-sustaining model where the youth will receive equipment and training in the garden to be able to produce vegetables for their own sustenance as well as producing seedling boxes for others. As a second phase we will provide training in basic business skills to assist with future income generation and further education.

Short Term Impact: The high school graduates will be able to provide nutritious vegetables for themselves and their families as well as learning food gardening skills.

Long Term Impact: The youth will create seedling boxes and vegetables to sell for income generation and so they can start their own garden at home. These youths will be using seedlings to start their own garden at home or continue into commercial farming to maximize income generation and partner with local businesses.

Bushbuckridge Local Municipality is one of the five constituents of Ehlanzeni District Municipality in Mpumalanga. Basic services such as running water, sanitation and health care are all under developed in this rural area. The area suffers severe unemployment, poverty, high rates of HIV/AIDS and a lack of basic education.

Many of the local residents live with family or extended family in basic housing due to the levels of poverty in the area, and the level of education is low with many of the population aged 20 years and above having no formal schooling. Although rates of Primary School attendance are improving, further and higher education in the area remains a challenge. This, in turn, increases the high unemployment rate, which currently sits at over 50%.

In Phase 1 of the project we were able to secure permission for the use of the land from the Maputha Ditshaba High School and land has seen the developments of 87 garden beds. Having planted 1615 seedlings of cabbage, beetroot, spring onion, chillies, spinach, tomatoes and green pepper, we have been able to provide 1066 full meals for 6 participants and their families with a nutrition content of 197kg.

With the drought in South Africa, the team became innovative and have put in place an watering system with 2L plastic bottles. By planting them upside down in the soil, we won’t lose water through evaporation and because the water goes deeper in the soil the plants will grow deeper and stronger roots. The gardeners and the volunteers are already collecting them and we have already planted 15 of them. Adding to that, we put in place mulching. The idea is to cover the soil with a layer of hay/dry grass in order to retain the water in the soil and to keep it protected.

We have completed compost bins and to get some aromatic herbs to fight against some pests.

We are starting Phase 2 of the project in 2018,  with a local successful farmer who has allotted us with 5 hectares of his land to be cultivated by the Farmers of the Future participants for their own development. Already in Phase 1 we have had 2 participants start college, 1 started their own business and 1 other participant develop family owned land with other members of her family. In the first Phase, the impact meant that the participants saw 1066 meals provided for them and their families with an additional R3519 generated from the produce of 197 kilograms of produce. Partnering with a local farmer assists with the mentorship of the existing participants.

INTERNSHIP SPECIAL OFFER

By | News

Get £200* off your NGO Internship with The Happy Africa Foundation

If you arrive by 30 June 2017

Join us in either Livingstone (Zambia), Kruger (South Africa), St Lucia (South Africa) or Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)!

Contact charnell@africanimpact.com or go to our Internship page for further details

*Set conversion on Euro and USD will apply

Cafe Roux Event

By | News

High Tea Fundraiser Tickets

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Meet the Faces of the Foundation – Lisa

By | News

Lisa is one of our current Happy Africa Foundation Interns, hailing from Malta. Lisa spent two months in Rural Zululand, St Lucia before coming to Cape Town in January this year. 

Before I started my internship in South Africa, I had no idea what to expect or what my role was going to be. I was worried I would be excluded, since I would be the only intern on site, and that my tasks would be boring. As soon as I arrived, I realised that a little bit of research could have not only taken me further than packing one pair of flipflops and one sweater for six months, but also could have made me realise that this internship would be far from the usual 9 to 5 at the office; doing mindless paper work and making coffee for others.

While living and working at the volunteer house certainly took some getting used to, with the help of the business manager and the intern coordinator, I quickly discovered what my role as an intern would be. I soon became involved in and responsible for many aspects of the projects, either by physically volunteering on each project or through behind the scenes action at the office. Joining in on planning programming for the week also helped me become more involved in the projects. While basic tasks included tracking finances, donations, and merchandise that I sold; I also had to compile weekly and monthly reports, which are used at head office for the monitoring and evaluation of projects. Organising the monthly quiz night, as well as other fundraisers, was also part of my role, which involved networking with local business to get support in raising funds for the projects. Budgeting and planning a fundraising target for each project also helped direct fundraisers. A big task I didn’t think I would have been involved in was making plans for each project to develop and to become more sustainable and independent, such as finding ways for local businesses to support us through physical contributions or by having them visit the projects to share their knowledge. Planning a big trip for about a hundred kids was also an opportunity I did not think I would have at this stage in my career.

Aside from doing work in the office and on project, engaging with the volunteers was also important during my internship. Being the intermediary between the volunteers and staff helped communication between them on how things were handled on project and at the house. Holding a monthly workshop about The Happy Africa Foundation helped explain to the volunteers the link between the charity and African Impact, something that most volunteers would not have understood before coming to the location. This helped motivate them to join in fundraising events and for some to even do some fundraising of their own when they went back home. Going on trips or doing activities with the volunteers on the weekend also made my stay most enjoyable and gave me the opportunity to explore the area. Taking on some of the weekly roles at the house that volunteers have and joining them in learning about cultural traditions along with a new language also helped us bond over how difficult it was to pronounce the clicks and make the oven work.

This internship is not for the faint-hearted, since it includes facing the daily trial of the scorching heat and relentless wind, climbing mountains in spite of fearing heights, sharing moments of laughter and moments of tears, waving off old friends and welcoming new ones, and above all, facing the poverty and reality that is found in the world. But in the end, it is definitely worth it, because where else would you be able to make life-long friends from all over the world, all united by the need to make an impact on the world, while also gaining some credits from your university and making your CV shine above all others?

To find out more about our internship opportunities click here.