An organisation that places the local community first
Andries Blankenberg of The Cederberg Social Development Foundation talks about the process of changing from a forum to a foundation and how this change will be beneficial to the communities they support
The Cederberg Social Foundation, a relatively new community-based foundation, has spent the past two years transitioning out of being a voluntary forum that primarily offered social services. Seeing more value in working together within the municipality, the various social services organizations joined forces to share skills, knowledge, and resources.
Regrouping for bigger impact
The organization focuses on empowering fellow community-based foundation workers with knowledge around best practice methodology, sharing the knowledge gained from their training with the Southern Africa Trust, and hosting the same training with their partner organizations. Conducting baseline research on the state of giving and NGOs in the Cederberg, and monthly mentoring and coaching from the Initiative for Community Advancement (ICA) are some of their key activities. Partnering with the Southern Africa Trust has enabled this change in approach and assisted with funding the registration and social development training, in particular the structure, function and capacity building initiatives.
Most of the current activities that Cederberg Social Foundation is focusing its efforts towards will continue until the partnership with ICA comes to an end. Blankenberg reflected on the efforts of the past year, specifically dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Working in the rural areas of the Cederberg, organizations were forced to band together to share resources in order to address the major challenges that community members were experiencing during the height of lockdown. Based in Lambert’s Bay, he was asked to assist the South African Department of Social Development (DSD) with snoek donations, as part of a feeding scheme, which arises as a result of the surplus snoek caught during the annual Snoek Run. The donated snoek was distributed all along the West Coast and Cederberg, and even shared with organizations like the Gift of the Givers, and Islamic Relief. ‘Parallel giving’ was a term coined in this time – this is when organizations came to collect snoek which was available, they brought their surplus food from their area, such oranges from Citrusdal – which enabled widespread food distribution in various communities. This is a meaningful solution that emerged from the pandemic which is now one that will be considered to take place annually.
“Covid brought back that fundamental community value of caring for one another; this was seen in the practice of parallel giving as organizations assisted one another, says Blankenberg.”
Going forward, the three focus areas for the Foundation will be: education, health and food security, and then; family support, with a specific focus on gender-based violence.
Affiliated funds for each of these will established. While most organizations have more focus areas, the Foundation, being new, is starting small and will expand as the need arises.
According to Blankenberg, the value of partnering with the Southern Africa Trust has been immeasurable. Firstly, they have broadened the knowledge of the functions and advantages of having a community-based foundation, versus that of a Forum. Secondly, the capacity building sessions have proven to be extremely beneficial, along with the needs analysis of further training required for partner organizations.
The Foundation, through this partnership, have a positive outlook on their future, says Blankenberg.
“We appreciate and look forward to partnering with the Southern Africa Trust going forward, where we will be as functional as they are successful, in these rural areas of the West Coast. Another mini Southern Africa Trust.”
The Southern Africa Trust acknowledges and thanks the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for their support and partnership of this work.