Real, transformative change like the one needed to address the horrors of poverty in South Africa can only come about through good leadership in our communities. To this end, The Love Trust has partnered with Khanyisani Trust to offer quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) training and practical skills development for orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) centre workers. We spoke to Dr Guy Stubbs a Christian missionary, who heads up the programmes at Khanyisani Trust, including the ChildVision programme which they started two years ago.
Learning from the African Honey Bee Model – Stubbs adopts a social transformation model he developed based on the success of the African Honey Bee project in KwaZulu Natal where they worked with 1600 families to transform their communities. The model is a self-help community programme that engages the participants in problem-solving. Through the process, Stubbs and his team, work with participants by showing them that they can change their lives with what they’ve got: with their gifts and talents. Through self-help savings groups they learn income generating skills and food production skills. African Honey Bee even helped community members set up a beekeeping social and micro franchise linked to the value chain.
Stubbs wanted to replicate the success of the programme by taking those same principles and applying them to OVC centres through their ChildVision programme.
Tackling the issues of OVC centres – The problem with many OVC centres is that they aren’t self-sustaining and so are completely dependent on grant funding. With scarce resources not only nutrition but also education suffers as often times care workers at these centres are not qualified as teachers. Stubbs believes that if they could educate and transform the lives of the centre workers, then they could have a much bigger impact on the children. Through the training and practical skills development programme he aims to help centre workers become transformational leaders so that the centres become more sustainable and efficient.
To this end the course takes place over three years. The first year focuses on teaching people to think about transformation: how they can transform themselves. Then in the second year, they’re taught to lead transformation: to take that transformation and teach other people how they can transform themselves. And then in the third year, Stubbs and his team actually work with participants in their centres: to help them develop an actual business plan and implement that business plan to bring about that transformation in the centres.
Partnering with The Love Trust – To achieve this goal, ChildVision needed a partner that could help them address the areas they weren’t familiar with. Stubbs was aware of the amazing work of The Love Trust. The significance of the partnership is the holistic approach of The Love Trust programme fits with the ChildVision approach
Although OVC centres include crèche and after school care (babies and toddlers through to eighteen-year-olds), The Love Trust empowers OVC centres with trained teachers to enable the financial sustainability of ECDs. Centre workers are also taught the theoretical implications of nutrition through the ECD training, and by teaching centre workers practical skills such as growing vegetables and animal husbandry (how to get chickens produce eggs for example) they can teach the parents and caregivers of their children how to do the same. “And this is where the leadership comes in,” says Stubbs, “the leadership is in leading change or leading social transformation. So, they learn how to become transformational leaders.”
Measuring their success – “We look primarily at the children,” says Stubbs, “We want to see if there’s changes in the children, because that’s what we are training these transformational leaders to do. They’re going to be working with the children, and they’re going to be working with the children’s families. That’s why we are called ChildVision. We are equipping the people who care for the children to look after the children better. To be enabled to bring about the transformation.”
Through the combination of good theoretical teaching and practical skills implementation, The Love Trust and ChildVision are helping to break that cycle of poverty in underprivileged communities.