Thursday, 11 February 2021 16:36

Staff Reporter.

Photo Credit: Trevor Samson.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has handed over a cheque of R337 676.81 to Mhani Gingi Centre for Women and Children based at the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg, Cape Town to help buy fertiliser for their vegetable gardens.

Zulu handed over the cheque during her oversight visit to monitor the progress and impact of National Development Agency (NDA) grants to support gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) interventions, income generation and the agency’s volunteer programme.

As part of the pre-SONA oversight visits, Minister Zulu visited the Mhani Gingi Centre for Women and Children on Wednesday, which focuses on food security interventions among people with disabilities and abused women.

The centre’s vegetable gardens were a source of food during lockdown, as communities received food through the soup kitchens that they support.

Sixty-nine people are benefiting through the funding from the NDA, this includes 27 direct and 42 indirect beneficiaries.

The 20 direct beneficiaries are recruited within the Saartjie Baartman Centre and each is provided with a space saver gardening starter kit with skills training and mentoring towards an income generating enterprise after a 6-month engagement. The programme employs seven permanent staff.

The cheque handed over by Zulu will help the centre to purchase soil additives (fertiliser and compost), seeds, irrigation infrastructure, three growing tunnels, fencing and 20 vegetable-garden-start up kits.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Zulu said she was happy to be back at Mhani Gingi and to see the expansion that has happened.

She reiterated that the NDA’s mandate is to partner with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in development interventions.

"Our vision as government is to see programmes we fund become sustainable and are accountable for the money we have entrusted to them. The NDA has assisted with this expansion and the employment of abused women.

"However, there is room for other stakeholders like the Department of Agriculture to assist the new technology innovation being used at Mhani Gingi," Zulu said.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted community-based food relief operations and NDA introduced its volunteer programme to assist with household food distribution, assist persons in applying for the COVID-19 Special Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350, and to assist with queue management at SASSA offices during the lockdown.

Twenty-two CSOs which partnered with the NDA were asked to recruit and employ 228 volunteers from communities across the province to implement a comprehensive programme that also included awareness and preventive screening interventions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The NDA volunteer programme was effectively utilised recently to manage the long queues at SASSA offices across the country.

Noting the alarming increase in domestic and GBVF incidents during lockdown, the NDA has funded CSOs that provide direct prevention and support services to victims of violence.

To date, 23 gender-based violence CSOs have been funded to the tune of R2 950.

The GBVF programmes are able to identify, refer and offer rehabilitation support to GBVF victims - directly from households, police stations and clinics which brings services closer to those who need protective services.

The CSOs also conduct community education and advocacy in all local languages to raise awareness of support services available.