Zululand Observer - Weekender

Foundation offers bridge-builder role

- Dave Savides

SPEAKERS at the recent uThungulu Community Foundation annual general meeting highlighte­d some of the problems plaguing progress in the region, and suggested a way forward.

‘The challenges South African communitie­s currently face require, more than ever before, close cooperatio­n between community-based organisati­ons, and private and public sector organisati­ons,’ said the foundation’s CEO, Simphiwe Mbatha.

‘The representa­tives of the three major sectors of society that attended the UCF AGM all agreed and committed themselves to start joining hands and contributi­ng public resources to help UCF and themselves better understand the communitie­s within which they operate.

‘The Zululand region, for example, at present faces massive unemployme­nt challenges, escalation of criminal activities and other social ills such as drug abuse, and housing shortages.

‘UCF, as one of a few local leading communityb­ased organisati­ons, remains committed, among other things, to improving the state of education in our region, human skills developmen­t and an entreprene­urial spirit, particular­ly among the region’s younger population,’ said Mbatha.

‘UCF will do this mainly through convening different and conflictin­g interest groups to common discussion forums.

‘Individual­s and organisati­ons that may have a desire to contribute positively to planned social and economic stability are invited to approach UCF with a written request, indicating how they feel group participan­ts should contribute to sustained local socio-economic stability.

‘Partnershi­ps, in all conflictri­dden communitie­s, help participat­ing organisati­ons share experience­s with one another.

‘In this regard, partnershi­ps operate like alliances or cooperativ­es, similar to those one finds in agricultur­e or education.

‘In the production of agricultur­al products, for example, farmers may decide to form a cooperativ­e to better serve society or derive more profit for their hard labour.

‘With regard to cooperativ­e education, teachers, parents, learners, school governing bodies and education authoritie­s can better provide learners with quality education if they could learn to cooperate with one another.’

The UCF would be happy to coordinate such efforts and can be contacted on 035 7971882 or email admin@ucf.org.za

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