Programmes » Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)

Phumeza and Anne trained more than 169 people in Asset-based Community-driven Development this year. Each training session is three and a half days. Among them were three groups of Joza residents (Grahamstown) most of whom were recruited to our Siya Sonke project (see below).

Furthermore, we trained two groups of community members in Adelaide (Thembalitsha Community Project), and one group of Early Childhood Development (ECD) sites' staff members who were attending a broader ECD training programme at Rhodes University. In addition, we facilitated a workshop for a youth group from the initiative Bridge the Gap, sent by a local organisation, Oasis.

Also, Umthathi Training Project approached us to provide the workshop to their trainees who came from different places in the Eastern Cape (King William's Town, Peddie, Alexandria and Alice). Finally, we felt very privileged to facilitate this training for team members from our local partner organisations – Grahamstown Hospice and Eluxolweni Child and Youth Centre.

The main objective of the ABCD Course has been to deepen awareness and understanding of how community development can work sustainably and how an ABCD approach can support community-driven growth and prosperity.

The ABCD Forum serves as a platform for exchanging information, experience and assets. Furthermore, it is there to keep motivation and asset-based thinking (versus focusing on problems and lacks) alive. The Forum members are people who have attended ABCD training and try to apply it to their businesses (MED ), their organisations, institutions and in their personal lives.

This year, we had five Forum meetings. The first two gatherings were used to design a strategic framework for the Forum. We worked on our Vision, Mission and our objectives for 2016. Furthermore, we took stock of our Forum's assets, which are very diverse as they are brought along by each Forum member (including our personal (human) assets, and our resources and links to other community and institutional partners). All following meetings were standard Forum meetings where all initiatives and individuals have had an opportunity to share their latest milestones and new plans with the entire group.

Starting with only two organisations (Assumption Development Centre and the Raphael Centre) last year, we are very proud and happy to report that the Forum has grown in membership. This year we welcomed Oasis, Child Welfare, Sokoyisa Drop In, Phezulu Movement, Sibanye Day Care Centre, Siyakhulisa Preschool, Sunshine Day Care Centre, Department of Social Development, as well as two local MED – initiatives: Tribos (home manufacturers) and Natural Cosmetics (aloe products) which came into being in the course of our ABCD training last year and this year. Also, we had special guests and micro funders attending two of our gatherings: Bernie Dolley from Ikhala Trust, as well as Rev. Denise Herbert.

With Siya Sonke we are aiming to promote wellness within the entire household. In 2016, we started to build close relationships with 29 Joza community households. We are aiming for 40. Our collaboration will last over a three-year period. Here, we have been giving guidance in the process of applying ABCD in individual lives as well as offering various life skills and wellness interventions for the children and youth of these households. In particular, Phumeza visited the families to assist with creating human, physical, social and financial asset inventories with each family. Based on this, she helped to create a family and/ or individual vision (where people see themselves in 10 years' time). In addition she assisted in developing first small goals, which will help to translate a vision into first plans of action. Further follow-up visits of families will happen once per term to catch up on plans and to assist in developing them further.

MED = Micro Economic Development

For the Siya Sonke children we set up various age-appropriate projects which are run throughout the year. Children between the ages of six and nine years attended child protection projects, as well as art and dance. For our children and youth between ages 10 and 18 years we offered arts, resilience activities and a resilience-focused camp outing for five days this year. All children have been learning about ABCD in age-appropriate ways. ABCD themes are worked on in all of our projects and were part of our youth training at the camp in October.

So far, Phumeza and Sanelisa have been running various activities with our children and youth: 1) Child Protection: "My Body is my Body" (seven to nine years, weekly for three months), 2) The "Hero Books" (10 to 16 years, weekly for three months), 3) art classes (seven to nine years and 10 to 16 years, weekly to the end of November), and 4) a child and youth camp together with Hobbiton-at-Fairewood during the October holidays (10 to 16 years).

My Body is My Body aimed to develop body assertiveness skills and resilience and was attended by 14 children. To facilitate this, Sanelisa had carefully consulted guidelines called: "Call to Arms – Child Protection Manual for ECD Centres" which was published by Child Welfare in Tshwane. Sanelisa says: "The children always come and are in time. Every time we see them they are so curious and interested in the next activity! It has been such a pleasure to work with them."

The Hero Book workshop is art therapy and resilience work in one intervention. 17 children and youth participated. It literally concerns a book which is made, designed and written – from cover to filling its pages – by the children and youth themselves. It contains life journeys with good and negative experiences, and hopes for the future. Phumeza says: "What stood out for me was the commitment and active and open participation of them! There was growing a great bond between the children and us facilitators."

Youth Camp. The Camp was hosted by Hobbiton-at-Fairewood for five days and attended by our oldest age group of children. The Hobbiton team facilitated exciting outdoor and team building activities in the mornings. Sanelisa and Nomfundo worked with our children and youth on particular YOLO themes, such as self-identity, self-confidence, assertiveness and personal boundaries, health risky behaviour, as well as healthy and unhealthy relationships. The highlight was when expert Basil Mills shared his knowledge about snakes and introduced two of his pythons to the group.