Equal Opportunity Foundation Flagship Projects

To celebrate its 21st birthday, the Foundation identified two of the initiatives it was involved in as flagship projects. These were the Masibambane Vegetable, Baking and Sewing Project in the Eastern Cape and the De Paarl Community Farming Project in Limpopo.

The Foundation gave these projects flagship status on the grounds that:

  • the projects operated within the foundation's key focus areas and embraced foundation goals such as the empowerment of women in rural areas and assistance for the very poor,
  • the projects' members had exhibited determination and resilience,
  • the projects had the capacity to reduce unemployment and alleviate poverty, and
  • the projects were viable and had the potential to grow and become self-sustainable.


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    The De Paarl Community Farming Project, based in Makgwabe Village, near Marble Hall in Limpopo Province, was established in 2004 by a group of unemployed community members with the twin aim of achieving better food security for the community and alleviating poverty.

    Initially the project was involved in subsistence farming, selling any surplus in the surrounding area. The Foundation's first grant to the project bought garden equipment, fencing materials, a borehole system, water pipes and seedlings and paid for basic business skills training. The Department of Agriculture also assisted the project by clearing bush, sourcing poles for fencing, arranging soil testing and providing ongoing support and mentoring

    The project expanded when the Masemola Tribal Authority allocated 3,4 hectares of land to the project, allowing participants to greatly increase their crop production. The EOF decided to make the De Paarl initiative one of its flagship projects by providing additional resources to capitalise on this new resource and ensure maximum output and returns for the project.

    The Foundation decided from the outset to involve all the local stakeholders, and the response of the meetings was immediate and overwhelming. The Masemola Tribal Authority, which had allocated the land, was represented. Tompi Seleka Training College and Small Enterprise Development Agency committed to assisting with training and capacity building. The Foundation made a contribution of R436 000 to provide a shade net structure, a pump and irrigation system, seedlings and a storeroom/office and ablution facility. Other stakeholders who offered support were the Department for Social Development and the district municipality.


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    The Masibambane Baking Sewing and Vegetable Project, based in Mpindweni village near Umtata in the Eastern Cape, was established in 1995 by a group of unemployed women. The project was initially supported by the Department of Agriculture and the OR Tambo District Municipality, with the Foundation supporting the vegetable garden component

    In 2006, the project was approached by the Department of Education to provide bread for several local schools but at the time had only domestic ovens, which could not meet the demand. Further investigation and consultations between the Foundation and the project and other stakeholders confirmed that a bakery was a viable project given demand in the area.

    Meetings were held with relevant government departments and other stakeholders, and the Foundation decided to help take the project to the next level by providing industrial baking ovens and funding some alterations to their buildings. A total of R299 040 was invested in this development. Thereafter, the Department of Social Development also made a substantial contribution to the project, including further extension of their buildings.

    The Foundation selected these projects both to showcase its work and to recognise the important contribution made locally by community projects. By ascribing flagship status, the Foundation has been able to formalise and replicate the lessons learnt nurturing these projects and pass this knowledge on to other development NGOs.