Rural development trust has stood the test of time

Siyazisiza Trust's agricultural and craft projects assist rural women in northern KZN PHOTOS: Siyazisiza Trust

THE Siyazisiza Trust, a rural enterprise and non-profit organisation based in KZN’s far northern reaches, which benefits the poor by establishing food security projects, is this year celebrating 30 years of assisting rural communities.

Since its inception in 1987 by founders Dr Chris Saunders, Bruce Forssman and Duchesne Grice, the Siyazisiza Trust continues to make a substantial contribution to the lives of hundreds of rural dwellers through food security projects and the support of craft enterprises.

Khumbulani Craft, Siyazisiza’s daughter organisation, was established in 1999 and focuses on craft development, production and market access.

Based on the knowledge that crafters are not marketers, Khumbulani Craft and Siyazisiza Trust merged in 2012 to form one entity focusing on the establishment of black-owned secondary marketing businesses to serve rural crafters.

Five such businesses have been established and have secured sizeable orders from Woolworths, Tigers Eye, Odeon and London’s Conran Shop.

To date, Siyazisiza’s food security and livelihood work impacts more than 800 people in 62 community gardens across KZN, Mpumulanga and Gauteng.

Its craft development initiatives assist more than 400 crafters through five small craft marketing and sales enterprises.

Some of the items made and sold by crafters assisted by Siyazisiza Trust

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Beneficiaries of the trust’s initiatives are predominantly black women.

‘Siyazisiza Trust has identified a host of challenges facing micro-farmers in the region, and the need for a more diversified approach aimed at building increased resilience in small-scale agricultural enterprises,’ said Siyazisiza Trust Executive Director Jane Zimmerman.

‘Climate change, the youth’s disinterest in agriculture and market barriers facing small-scale agriculturalists are the main factors posing risks to the sustainability of the trust’s agricultural projects.

Through participation in Siyazisiza’s projects, numerous rural women working towards improving the nutrition of their families and communities have, over the years, been rewarded for their efforts by being among the top finalists of Nestle’s Community Nutrition Awards.

Through partnerships with corporates, including the Ackerman, Pick n Pay Foundation, Boxer Superstores and Wesbank Fund, numerous community vegetable gardens are supported through the selling of their produce to supermarkets and the upgrading of their gardens.

‘Over the past three decades, Siyazisiza Trust has implemented many notable development initiatives and it is extremely pleased with the positive and lasting impact it has had, and continues to make, on the lives of many rural dwellers,’ said Zimmerman.



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Tamlyn Jolly

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