Unemployment and a general lack of skills in these communities is exceptionally high, with less than 40% of the adult population having any formal employment. As a consequence, household income in the municipal area is far below subsistence income levels. Coupled with the challenging logistics of bringing services to rural communities, these levels of unemployment create a situation wherein rural poverty is, on average, three times higher than urban poverty.
The Trust endeavours to encourage and support enterprise development through adult education, expanding opportunities in the wildlife economy and piloting community based economic development programmes.
Adult Education & Training
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we giveThe Trust’s mission ‘Upliftment through Education’ extends beyond children and youth to adult education initiatives focusing on in-service training opportunities linked to basic service delivery and local economic development. Against this background, the two most successful local economic development projects funded to date have been directly linked to food security – the Utah Community Bakery; and the Utah Community Garden. Both projects provide training and work opportunities for adults while also providing cheaply available food sources to local communities. Both projects are also able to subsidise their businesses by selling products to shops in other villages and are beginning to supply local eco-tourism lodges.
Village Wildlife Economy Programme
The Buffelshoek Trust has recently begun the work of extending existing partnerships beyond the realm of basic service delivery and towards the development of a local green economy that is able to support biodiversity conservation and local economic development. This new focus hopes to see the growth of vibrant, climate-resilient, rural communities. In partnership with traditional authorities, NGOs, education institutions and government, the vision is to expand the wildlife economy in Bushbuckridge through building partnerships between private game reserves and community-based small and medium sized enterprises. Resources supporting this programme come from the Jobs Fund, a grant that supports initiatives that generate employment in innovative ways. Read more on the Jobs Fund here.
The Pfunanani Enterprise Development Project (PED Project) is a two-year programme beginning in September 2014 and ending in August 2016, aimed at producing 120 permanent jobs, 240 temporary jobs (360 jobs in total) and 60 SMMEs. The project will be implemented in eleven villages closest to the border with the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and that are part of existing partner programs. Have a look at the Pfunanani Enterprise Development Project brochure to learn more.
Community Cattle and Wildlife Programme
Cattle are the bank of the African peopleAs part of the Village Wildlife Economy, the Trust and partners have begun the community cattle and wildlife demonstration project, which aims to ensure that cattle and wildlife can co-exist sustainably and support each other through training interventions aimed at the creation of appropriate systems to manage disease; overgrazing; water and environment; and improved access to economic opportunities for cattle owners.
The Utah Community Garden is located at Manyangana High School, and supplies high quality fresh herbs and vegetables to local ecotourism lodges and creating work and training opportunities for 12 previously unemployed community members. Additional vegetables are also grown to supply the school with fresh produce. We are fundraising to create a second commercial community garden in Dixie village. This project is based on the success of the Utah Community Garden and growing demand for high quality fresh produce from lodges within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Read more here.
Utah Community Bakery
The Utah Community Bakery Project seeks to address unemployment while also supplying the community with quality, affordable bread. Since its inception the bakery has enjoyed the economic support of the community and has also created 12 work and training opportunities for unemployed community members. The bakery currently has the capacity to produce over two thousand loaves of bread per day. Read more here.