Integrated rural development in KwaZulu-Natal

The maBhengu Umbelethisi Multiversity (MBE) runs an integrated rural development programme that incorporates a multipronged approach to address the complex needs of youth in rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal.

Introduction

The DBSA promotes the development of CSI programmes supporting women, youth, people with disabilities and people living in rural areas. The maBhengu Umbelethisi Multiversity (MBE) runs an integrated rural development programme that incorporates a multipronged approach to address the complex needs of youth in rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal. Mbelethisi is a Zulu word meaning “midwife” the organisation uses a metaphor of midwife to enable rural communities to “birth’ their innate potential that might be suppressed by environmental deprivation.

SDGs: The MBE programme’s outcomes align to multiple SDGs including: SDGs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16 & 17 

Project Financing
Public
E&S Risk category
Category 1
DBSA Involvement

Typically, MBE operations supports young people who do not have access to tertiary level education. The programme provides tertiary education opportunities to youth and young adults, some of whom have been out of school for more than 10 years due to a lack of resources. In the year under review, MBE helped students from the uMshwathi area in the Uthukela district enrol at the Ezakheni TVET College in Ladysmith. As the college is 200 kilometres away, MBE provides the students with accommodation as well as financial support while they are waiting to secure National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding. 

The MBE programme also includes educational excursions in KwaZulu-Natal’s Midlands area, including the Mandela capture site in Howick KwaZulu-Natal, Howick Falls and the adjacent areas. These excursions provide youth from rural areas with the opportunity to visit educational centres and broaden their horizons. 

Agriculture and food security remain one of the MBE’s pillars of development. Through advocacy, mobilisation and working with the agricultural colleges in the Midlands, the programme has helped educate young and passionate farmers. The programme further supports the young people’s entrepreneurial initiatives by providing start-up resources, following up on their development and assisting them in finding markets for their produce. As a result of the youth’s hard work, micro family plots and farms are going from strength to strength. MBE works closely with the Department of Agriculture in the province. In the year under review, a senior representative of the Department of Agriculture visited the programme and was impressed with the quality of produce.

MBE focuses on developing each student, enabling them to reach their full potential. This is done in partnership with various stakeholders including government departments, academia, religious and faith-based organisation, traditional authorities and the private sector. Through the programme, a culture of awakening, enhanced productivity, social responsibility and Ubuntu is fostered, touching numerous lives. Funding from the DBSA, therefore, enables the MBE to impact the lives of more and more beneficiaries. 

 

 

Stats
20

learners were assisted to access the NSFAS funding and through DBSA sponsorship enrolled in colleges in the interim period, addressing the lack of education that leads to unemployment.

Holistic personal development

seminars were held that enabled rural women to gain confidence and express their rights and make their voices heard.

Women and youth beneficiaries

were assisted in developing their farming knowledge and skills, which will enhance food security capacity. MBE enabled these individual farmers to operate as marketing cooperatives to be able to supply their produce collectively to meet order needs of big clients.

Training and coaching

on ethical and professional orientation of local leadership was conducted. Beneficiaries were school principals, traditional chiefs and other community leaders such as religious leaders and persons working in rural communities as well as promote social cohesion and nation-building initiatives.

MBE

was identified as a powerful resource in promoting social cohesion during xenophobic attacks.

R4.50m
100%
Sustainability impact

During the year, the programme was active in various parts of KwaZulu-Natal including eThekwini, iLembe, uMgungundlovu, uThukela, Zululand and uMzinyathi with around 300 people participating in different initiatives.

  • Approximately, 20 learners were assisted to access the NSFAS funding and through DBSA sponsorship enrolled in colleges in the interim period, addressing the lack of education that leads to unemployment
  • Holistic personal development seminars were held that enabled rural women to gain confidence and express their rights and make their voices heard.
  • Women and youth beneficiaries were assisted in their developing their farming knowledge and skills, which will enhance food security capacity. MBE enabled these individual farmers to operate as marketing cooperatives to be able to supply their produce collectively to meet order needs of big clients.
  • Training and coaching on ethical and professional orientation of local leadership was conducted. Beneficiaries were school principals, traditional chiefs and other community leaders such as religious leaders and persons working in rural communities as well as promote social cohesion and nation-building initiatives.
  • MBE was identified as a powerful resource in promoting social cohesion during xenophobia attacks.