Where Communities Lead
in pursuing Sustainable Development that builds Resilience to Climate Change
Communities are central to the planning, implementation and evaluation of programmes. They manage programmes with Ubunye through the Community Advisory board and Programme Working Groups
Community leadership is in-built into the structure of Ubunye. All our programmes include both community members and staff in Programme Working Groups. Their role is to identify and prioritise what projects Ubunye will focus on, then guide implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Support Sustainable Development
All Ubunye’s programmes are centred on the Sustainable Development Goals. With communities, Ubunye works to ensure that all programme activities contribute to the longevity and vitality of life in these rural areas.
Our programmes are linked to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each programme is monitored and evaluated using the same Sustainable Development Goal indicators - contributing to the global endeavour.
Resilience to Climate Change
Running through all Ubunye’s Programmes is managing and mitigating the challenge of climate change. Each activity considers and acts against potential negative impact on the environment
Together, Ubunye builds ‘green’ businesses, fosters knowledge and care of the environment among youth and ensures a focus on healthy living of all community members.
Context & People
Ubunye works with communities in the Ngqushwa and Makana local municipal districts of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.
Our work is concentrated in the former homeland of the Ciskei, an area which was deliberately neglected and underdeveloped during apartheid and where the legacy of this era is reflected starkly by intergenerational and structural poverty.
The Eastern Cape has a population of approximately seven million people, 60% of whom live in rural areas with nearly 80% speaking isiXhosa as their home language. Our province has some of the country’s highest rates of income poverty and unemployment, and rural women and children constitute the most marginalized demographic. The rural areas are also characterized by undeveloped infrastructure and a lack of access to ordinary public services such as reliable water, sanitation, refuse removal and decent health and education facilities.
The area is highly water scarce and environmentally degraded and communities are feeling the effects of climate change. These factors contribute to out-migration and those ‘left behind’ constitute a much skewed population dominated by the elderly and the very young. Most households are dependent on social grants: child support grants (ZAR380 / US$29 per month in 2017) and/or old age pension grants (ZAR1 510 / US$115 per month in 2017).
Although falling, there is still an illiteracy rate of over 20% in the district and the standard of schooling is very poor, reflecting the education crisis in our country as a whole. Approximately 12% of the population are HIV-positive in the major district in which Ubunye works. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has devastating social and economic effects for families and our province also has a very high burden of tuberculosis, with the situation aggravated by the emergence of drug resistant strains.
Our political and economic climate is unstable, exacerbated by dissatisfaction with leadership, the pace of change, poor service delivery and slow economic growth. In the everyday lives of rural communities this means cynical treatment by local politicians and constantly increasing food and basic commodity prices that make households more vulnerable than ever.
There are, however, many reasons for hope.
The history of our country means that the potential of a large section of our population has never been recognised. Rural people have a wealth of knowledge, skills and strengths that has been neglected because of a system that denied them agency as full citizens and the right to realise their own potential. The damage done has led people to internalise this mind-set; sometimes manifested in dependency and apathy.
Psycho-social development and healing must take place in order for people to realise their ability to create positive change in their own lives and communities. We are regularly humbled by the tenacity of people to overcome the harshest of circumstances and the creative coping mechanisms they employ to survive and even thrive. We are witness to individuals and families who have experienced repeated shocks and crises and somehow manage to keep going with minimal, if any, safety nets. We have much to learn from this and our challenge is to support people in building on their existing strengths whilst working tirelessly to create a more enabling environment.
The Ubunye Team
Team Leader - Programme Coordinator Education
Cynthia Monelwa Siyona
Savings Programme Coordinator
Savings Programme Field Officer
Early Childhood Development Programme Field Officer
Fort Brown Programme Field Officer
Livelihoods Programme Field Officer
Health Programme Field Officer
Kwandwe Wellness Programme Coordinator
Senior Manager Monitoring and Evaluation.
Administrative and Programme Support
Green Business Coordinator
Preschool Supervisor/Centre Manager