South Africa

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 be 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:
– 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 just launched this project as a microproject to fundraise for camera traps, and have raised enough for 8 camera traps so far.

Sasekile Gardens, Greater Kruger

By | Empowering Communities
Developing skills for unemployed youth through creating community gardens and small business opportunities.
The Greater Kruger region of South Africa experiences severe unemployment, poverty, and a lack of basic education. This is especially true of the youth living in the area, with 15-24 year olds making up 70% of all those unemployed in Mpumalanga.

Despite tourism and conservation being the biggest income stream to the area, most youth community members do not benefit from this tourism, largely due to the lack of education, skills training and access to information to allow them to apply for jobs. In addition to this, a lack of knowledge on the local environment and how to protect proves a threat to the natural wildlife and environment.

The cycle of poor education, poverty and health issues create an environment in which communities struggle to escape. The youth in the area receive limited education from under-resourced facilities, coupled with the lack of practical experience needed to attain and retain employment ultimately limits their ability to get jobs and create a stable income. This further contributes to the unemployment in the area and an increase in poverty levels.

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%.

We have received permission for the use of the land from the Maputha Ditshaba High School and land is being prepared for the gardens. July 2017: we have garden we completed 87 garden beds with compost and started planting. We have now planted 1615 seedlings now, of cabbage, beetroot, spring onion, chillies, spinach, tomatoes and green pepper.
August 2017 We are more than half way through building the fence and it already looks really nice. The gardeners are really proud of it! They are also taking good care of the garden by removing aphids very often and by keeping the path clean. The vegetables are growing super fast, it’s amazing to see the differences each week. The team have also started to put in place an innovative 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.
The next steps are building the compost bins and to get some aromatic herbs to fight against some pests. 

Educational Support, Cape Town

By | Education & Enrichment
The Educational Support project seeks to support strategic renovations for Kuyasa Educare and aims to enrich the children’s education by providing much needed funding in order to renovate the buildings following Cape storm damage in July 2017, as well as purchase age-appropriate educational toys and teaching supplies.
The low standard of living in these communities too often means that families and schools are unable to provide children with the adequate tools they need to aid in their physical and mental development. Many children in these communities do not have access to age-appropriate toys and tools to ultimately enable their short and long term development.

Schools aim to equip its students with a safe and nurturing learning environment that will help children to grow and develop into intelligent adults and give them hope for a bright future as an educated individual. Unfortunately due to the nature of the community, these facilities struggle financially and need additional support to provide the children with the resources they need to enrich their education.

 We have been assisting Kuyasa with providing support and aid for the children’s development as they prepare for primary school. The preschool lost registration at the start of the year due to changing building regulations. The preschool funded the construction of new classrooms to help get registration back. The classrooms were close to completion when the storm damaged them, meaning the principal has been set back to the beginning. Without registration and subsequent funding, children in the area will not receive quality ECD support and thus opportunities to gain entry to primary schools may be compromised.

Short Term: We want to create safe and secure learning environment for the children at the school by completing a list of necessary renovations.

Long Term: to ultimately register the school as an educational government facility. As a registered school, the facility will become eligible for government funding which will further improve the children’s education and increase their sustainability. When children’s development is supported at a young age, they are well-equipped for their schooling career. Evidence indicates that success in early years translates into success in higher levels of education.

Khayelitsha is a partially informal township in Western Cape, South Africa. Located in the Cape Flats area in the City of Cape Town, Khayelitsha means ‘New Home’ in Xhosa. It is noted to be the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa. Today Khayelitsha has an estimated official population of over 500,000 people but the unofficial number counts just under two million people including informal settlement areas as well. The ethnic makeup of Khayelitsha consists mainly of Black African residents, who predominantly speak Xhosa. Khayelitsha has a very young population with over 40% of residents being under the age of 19. As with other settlement communities, residents in Khayelitsha have limited access to basic utilities such as water, sewage, electricity and health care.

Over the years we have worked with a number of Early Childhood Development Centres and seen them become registered and more independent. We started working with Kuyasa in September 2016. In June 2017 we are now busy with renovations following from the Cape storm damage.

Health and Nutrition, Cape Town

By | Health & Nutrition
Providing 86 local children from a disadvantaged community of Redhill with two nutritious meals per day, as well as monitoring the BMI of the children and providing nutrition training to the caregivers. 
Red Hill is an informal community which regularly faces the challenge of inadequate access to basic utilities such as water, sanitation, electricity and health care. This is partly due to the remote and inaccessible location of Red Hill. High rates of unemployment and underemployment within the community means that many families continue to live well below the bread line. This often results in families struggling to meet the daily necessities of life.

The low standard of living in the community limits the ability for families and schools in Red Hill to provide children with the nutrients required for healthy development. Without a balanced diet, children are unable to fend off disease and illness or reach their full potential developmentally.

Red Hill Preschool and Children of Hope Educare aim to help the children and community by providing food daily for the children in their care. Unfortunately, these two facilities struggle financially and need support to continue feeding their students.

The Health and Nutrition Program aims to provide a dynamic approach to addressing the challenges of health and nutrition for two schools in the community of Red Hill. The focal project supports the schools’ feeding programs by supplementing the funds needed to purchase nutritious foods such as fruit, vegetables, vitamin-infused breakfast porridge and rice for the children.

As a part of our commitment to child nutrition, meal plans are cooperatively developed using guidance from the Department of Social Services to ensure that the children’s diets meet national standards for healthy child development.

In partnership with the teachers, African Impact volunteers assess the Body Mass Index (BMI) of each child, over the age of 3 years, every term/quarter to monitor their physical development. Lesson plans and activities relating to good practice for health and nutrition are also incorporated within the annual curriculum to reinforce a healthy lifestyle through education. At school the children learn about the importance of personal hygiene, the relationship between what we eat and health, and exercise has been incorporated into the daily classroom routine. Additionally, every quarter, a nutrition workshop is conducted with all of the teachers to help educate them and increase their knowledge and capability on the importance of health and nutrition in various forms.

Short Term Impact:
Providing each student with a nutritious breakfast, fruit and lunch daily contributes to enhanced learning capacity. This means that not only do the children receive daily sustenance; they will have the energy to play and learn effectively.

Long Term Impact:
Supporting adequate nutrition for healthy child development and sharing knowledge on healthy living will provide children with the tools they need from a young age, to develop into strong, healthy adults.

 Western Cape
Red Hill is an informal settlement made up of non-permanent housing and service structures. The 1 500 residents, who make up a colourful mix of Afrikaans, Xhosa and other African nationalities, do not have access to basic utilities such as water, sanitation, electricity and health care. This is partly due to the remote and inaccessible location of Red Hill. For the past 15 years the community has been demarcated for relocation, however it remains uncertain when or if action will be taken.

We are continuing quarterly nutrition workshops with the teachers, already having completed a session on kitchen safety and proper cleanliness and procedure with children. We are also monitoring the children’s BMI each quarter.

In 2017 46.6% of children can identify 10 letters. Going form 0% to 36% the Hope Educare children can recognise numbers 1-10.