We are extremely pleased to announce that we have a new addition to our team, Thandowethu Lukuko, who has jumped into the role of CPP intern. Thando’s background is in renewable energy entrepreneurship, and he has shown a great deal of promise in the community engagement and justice space with his involvement in the YouLead-Collective (YLC). Welcome on board Thando!
Further afield, we have received word that the Msobomvu farmers group in the Eastern Cape are now a registered co-operative. This is particularly exciting as this has big implications for the group’s ability to start producing commercially. The CPP programme has played a supportive role to the group in the planning and skills development phases, but we are now very grateful to the team from Avo Vision who have agreed to run some of the specialised financial management training for the members of the co-operative. In addition, the increased participation in ward council matters by the community ward council representative – Project 90 worked with Msobomvu community members on building capacity around local government engagement – has started to pay off. After years of appeals with little success, the council is finally providing the community with toilets. We congratulate Noluvuyo (Msobomvu community member and ward council representative) for her patience and persistence.
Over the past year we have been looking into opportunities to join forces with other Project 90 programmes. We recently launched a partnership project between CPP and the Young Leaders Programme, which will involve the participating Leadership Clubs schools in KwaZulu-Natal. The idea of this project is for the schools to come up with creative ways that Project 90 can invest in improving their water and electricity facilities, as well as engage with their community on issues around the environment, connecting with local government, and community development in general.
Our work relies on strong partnerships with other like-minded individuals and organisations. The CPP team began collaborating with the bright young minds from Engineers Without Borders based at the University of Cape Town, with the aim of developing some effective and replicable efficient cook stoves that communities can manufacture for themselves. This all forms part of our philosophy that we should never buy-in what we can make for ourselves.
And finally, adding another dimension to our work, the CPP team has been venturing out of our usual space to take part in various government forums, with the aim of bringing different perspectives to the attention of policy makers. So far, our engagement in the Long Term Adaptation Scenarios planning workshop, the Municipal Services Project conference, and more recently, our investigation of the social impacts of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme, has provided much insight into applying practical experiences to policy development.
Gray Maguire – Community Engagement Facilitator