A few weeks back our director Rachel joined the Child Friendly Space team from ADSN in Soweto to talk through the various successes and challenges that the project is facing at the moment. It was a great chance for the team to get away together and give some focus to many questions that have arisen over the term and come up with some effective ways forward.
All feedback has shown that the Community Child Protection Committee is doing incredibly well. Initially households in the community did not always welcome the group’s intervention, but through the building of relationship they are now highly regarded and trusted.
The community now work hand in hand with the committee identifying child abuse and domestic violence cases, and the Committee’s confidence has grown in the referral of cases as they have become familiar with the appropriate channels. Staff have started to notice a difference in the young people that come to the resource centre from Soweto. They are supported and counselled by the CCPC and it has made a huge difference to their behaviour and conduct.
The next step will be a refresher for staff on counselling training and play therapy.
Vegetables grown through the agriculture scheme have been bountiful, significantly increasing the amount of nutrition in the meals for the children. The actual budget for food at the centre has not been greatly impacted by this production though. This is because although the team no longer have to buy greens for the children, the saving in real terms is minimal as vegetables are not that expensive.
The real cost of the food budget is the posho (a dish of maize flour cooked with water to a porridge). For this reason they have received more land from the Parish so they can grow staples such as maize, beans, sweet potato and cassava. With the extra land different vegetables will also be grown such as egg plants and beetroot, french beans and chinese cabbage.
These crops will not only be more nutritious for the children but will also fetch a better price when sold, having an effect on the second quarter of this year’s budget.
Grandparent headed households
Again, some of the problem solving here is related to the value of vegetables. Many grandmothers in the area have been supported by the project's income generating schemes, whereby they are given green leaves from the land to sell on their doorsteps. These have not been that successful so far, as people don’t tend to buy from houses. Roving hawkers sell the leaves and the grandmothers can’t compete as they are not mobile.
An idea was suggested for something that grandmothers could sell from their doorsteps that is not perishable like charcoal. This is something the team will be researching over the coming months. In addition to this they will ensure that children of grandparent headed households are given priority at the Child Friendly Space, and that young people from these households are referred to vocational training in order to bring revenue to the households. Sadly many of these Grandparents are looked down on in the community. In response to this, the team will be focussing on empowering these Grandmothers and helping to give them a voice by involving them in decision making.
Another big focus of the workshops was extending services to nearby areas, an exciting turn of events which we will keep you updated on! Just watch this space.
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