The foundation of our work with a community is our tried and tested needs analysis.
This practical and hands on needs analysis reveals and prioritises the needs of a community as a whole through one on one interviews of all the adults in the community. These needs are then systematically addressed by the community with assistance from Pala Forerunners through a simple development plan that flows from the needs analysis:
The above needs (2003) were those of the Dixie community situated between the Sabi Sand and Manyeleti Game Reserves adjoining the Kruger Park.
Within 6 months of completing the needs analysis:
At first we were surprised to see the need for a crèche was slightly greater than the need for water. Further investigation of the needs analysis data capture sheets revealed why. At that time there were 34 mothers in Dixie with 51 children of crèche going age. Being able to enrol those 51 children at the crèche would mean the freeing up of 238 hours per day for the 34 mothers to focus on other initiatives that would further develop the Dixie community. During the interview process, Wonder Khoza, a resident of Dixie, was the only community member who expressed her greatest ambition as becoming the director of a crèche - a position she has held since the Dixie crèche opened. In 2018, we again conducted a number of needs analyses in the area, including the Dixie Community, and the results are reflected in the graph below:
We are presently finalising the socioeconomic development plan with the community based on the above needs and priorities. Pala Forerunners assists various community based organisations such as crèches, schools, orphanages, Home Based Care organisations, farming co-operatives and individuals with the cultivation of fresh vegetables for own consumption and for sale. We deliver top quality vegetable seedlings straight from the nursery to the communities at discounted prices.
Crèches and Home Based Care organisations provide meals comprising fresh vegetables to thousands of vulnerable people every day. To enhance the nutritional value of these meals Pala Forerunners encourages and supports the propagation and growing of moringa olefeira – recognised globally as a wonder plant - to include in the meals.
"Fewer than 2 percent of households grow the majority of their own food, and the majority of small scale producers in rural areas are unable to feed their families. Inadequate access to water, equipment and extension services means that even if rural communities have access to land they cannot be productive enough. Hunger and insecure food supply make it difficult for people to escape the cycle of poverty." http://www.anc.org.za/docs/discus/2014/women_povertyj.pdf
Sometimes there is no land available to grow vegetables and so we secure support from like-minded organisations and individuals to ensure that orphans and vulnerable children in these communities receive meals regularly. An example is the Thinasonke Drop-in Centre in the New Forest Community that feeds 150 orphans and vulnerable children:
In 2016 South Africa experienced its worst drought in living history. This brought the state of rural water infrastructure into sharp focus.
80% of the 500 boreholes where our work is now focussed are not working. Not only does this present serious logistical and health challenges but it also severely hinders the production of fresh vegetables.
In partnership with other community based organisations and government, we restore water infrastructure in these communities.
After a number of interactions with the Department of Water Affairs in 2003, including a meeting with the Minister of Water Affairs on behalf of various communities, the installation of a pipeline from the Hoxane pump station close to Hazyview through Huntington, Lillydale, Ireagh and Dumphrise was accelerated:
Virtually all the dams in the communities where Pala Forerunners operates have silted up after many years of run off during the rainy seasons. There is an upside to the challenge of the silted up dams in that the silt is very rich in nutrients from cattle droppings and urine – ideal material for vegetable gardening.
Pala Forerunners vision is to have the capacity of these dams restored in future. This will enable the establishment of vegetable gardens around the dams and also enable the stocking of dams with fish - providing an additional source of protein for the communities.
In 2001 we started working with the Dixie community to secure their rights to their land. The community was successful with their application (High Court Case 33067/2002). Other land rights cases where Pala Forerunners has been intimately involved include the old Barloworld Farms (Pilgrim’s Rest), Sandford Community Trust (Elephant Whispers in Hazyview), the Matsafeni Trust (Mbombela Stadium) and the Nhlangwini Trust (Lisbon Estates at the Paul Kruger Gate entering the Kruger National Park).
Wherever possible we assist communities with their various health challenges. This has included facilitating cataract operations, eye testing and the supply of spectacles and audio testing. One special case involved Oupa Mathebula, a young orphan from the Seville B community.
- Pala Forerunners has been supplying vegetable seedlings for over 20 years to community farmers and co-operatives, schools and creches, clinics, home based care organisations, drop-in centres and households;
- We assist with the establishment of water infrastructure in the areas where we operate to enable and facilitate the production of fresh vegetables. This has involved the building of dams, the restoration of boreholes and the installation of irrigation systems.
- We provide (and also advise on) organic fertilisers for vegetable farming;
- We advise on plant selection, organic pest control and soil health;
- We assist with the marketing of vegetables;
- We assist rural farmers with the establishment of moringa olefeira plots and to become part of the moringa value add chain.