The Madikwe region is deep rural and primary agriculture is basically the only employer which can create work. The farmers have mechanised and changed their farming activities over the years so that they need less workers and this has a very negative social impact, with unemployment in this region running rampant.
It is critically important that people have access to employment, otherwise the whole geographical area will become socially unstable and this will have a very negative effect on development. Parents need to be able to look after their children and offer them hope for the future. This is a basic human need.
There have been various programmes established during the years focusing on poverty alleviation and women empowerment and where the MRDP tries to facilitate a process of change.
Qhubeka bicycle assembly
The MRDP is very fortunate to have been able to get this agreement with Qhubeka to assemble their Buffalo bicycles [thx Collin!]. The Quiet Living CC landowners all agreed that the MRDP should take this opportunity and put up an assembly plant on their land [for which the MRDP then pays towards their Landbank debts] and create employment opportunities for the community. This project started in October 2013 and since then ca 25 Batswana men and women are employed, whenever there are bicycles to be assembled. Per year thousands of bicycles are assembled here. This project also involves considerable skills transfer [technical and management] to Batswana that formerly only worked in agriculture.
The former volunteers/friends of the MRDP were pivotal for this project to be able to start, since they donated money to help to erect an assembly plant [a million thanks, guys!]. Quiet Living CC assisted with making land available, but as landowners they did not have the financial capacity to contribute to the assembly plant. This project again illustrates the advantage which the MRDP constellation offer to the Madikwe region, namely a synergy between different worlds and cultures that enriches/strengthens everyone mutually.
Women are empowered by being given an opportunity to create income for themselves through his project. They have skills [they can crochet/knit] and they have time, but these two aspects in isolation do not benefit them in any way. Qhubeka, in cooperation with the MRDP as facilitator, changed their environment by alleviating the constraints and making it possible for the women to use their time and skills to earn a Buffalo bicycle. They make 2 blankets and 2 scarves according to instructions [and with the wool remaining they make caps] and barter this for a Qhubeka Buffalo bicycle. The women love! this project as they can socialise whilst earning a bicycle. So far [May 2017]100 bicycles were transferred, involving 50 women and 1 male!
These earned Buffaloes are used by learners to go to school, members of the families ride around and sell home made products or food, the men use the Buffaloes to inspect their cattle, the family members use the Buffaloes to go shopping etc etc.
This is another project which Colin brokered for the MRDP in 2012! In cooperation with the Bead Coalition, who gives us orders for bracelets to be made, such as Save the Rhino/Ocean Force, the MRDP supports the basadi [women] to make these bracelets. The volunteers prepare samples and pack the parcels [for 100 bracelets] which are then issued to the participating basadi. This project enables the women to earn up to R200/day! The most bracelets we made in a week was 12 000! It will not be possible for the MRDP to facilitate this project without the support of volunteers.
Volunteers from UN Online volunteering assisted to collect data and information pertaining to Permaculture/Food Forests over a period of months. This data was then processed and compiled by another volunteer into a Basic Training Manual in Food Forests for subsistence farmers. The MRDP will over years establish such a Food Forest and then use this as a training place for Batswana subsistence farmers to learn skills to ensure food security for them and their families. This is a long term project.
In 2001 and 2006 two Emerging Farmers projects started [Quiet Living CC and Open Area Development CC] with the support of the MRDP and LRAD [a government initiative]. The MRDP wrote the proposals for these projects, which were then implemented with the cooperation of the SA government [Land Affairs] and Landbank. These projects enabled former farm workers to get access to land and become self-employed commercial farmers. These projects were also supported by BMZ with a project which the MRDP & DSJW brokered for them, to the value of R1.2 million.
These projects are very difficult and takes a lot of time and energy from the MRDP.