Redefine launches two programmes to support community development in Soweto

Soweto, South Africa – 04 November 2020: In a move that will help community organisations build capacity and sustain themselves, now more than ever in the post pandemic era, JSE-listed diversified real estate investment trust Redefine Properties has launched two programmes, one for Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) and one targeting Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME) in Soweto. 

The programmes designed to support NPOs and SMMEs working and operating in the communities started on 1 September 2020 and will run over a period of 12 months. 

In addition to causing a global public health crisis, some of the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19, such as lockdown and social distancing slowed down the ability of SMMEs to contribute meaningfully to the economy. Also, the severity of the pandemic drowned out other development issues outside of healthcare. Non-profits tackling key issues in the community now need to raise the visibility of their advocacy projects to attract funding.

These development programmes are the first to be undertaken following community engagements conducted late last year. Redefine held workshops with the community around Maponya Mall as part of its Challenge Convention, an asset based community development initiative. During the Challenge Convention a number of key stakeholders highlighted the real challenges the community was faced with.

Three main priorities emerged during these discussions at the time, support for NPOs, SMMEs and the youth. Supporting the recovery of this vulnerable cohort presents a golden opportunity to build on the strides they were making before Covid-19 in creating jobs and developing communities. 

“As communities around our properties attempt to revive the economy, SMMEs face the same question as us, how do we reopen? How do we reinvent our business model? says Marijke Coetzee, Head of Marketing and Communications, Redefine Properties.

“It is critical that we continue to build the resilience of projects already being run in the communities and also make sure the SMMEs are capacitated to grow and prosper in a constrained economy.  The programmes target people and projects where they can have the greatest economic and social impact.”

The NPO Development Programme will be implemented by the NSBM Consortium, which includes the National Institute Community Development and Management Trust, South African Association of Youth Clubs, Be Unlimited and Mvelwabo Living Lounge. 

The programme consists of 12-module outcomes based training and includes formative and summative assessments of all the participants. It will also focus on key skills like financial management, operations, governance, compliance, leadership and knowledge transfer vital to running successful NPOs as well as leadership development, coaching and mentoring. 

12 local NPOs operating around the Maponya Mall in Soweto have been selected, and each NPO will in turn elect 3 individuals to attend the training programme.  The programme will include 

  • 25 days of contact time, 
  • 360 hours’ worth of coaching and mentoring,
  • 6 hours of leadership and personal transformation sessions per candidate and
  • 18 hours of collective reflective sessions on interpersonal dynamics and team development throughout the year. 

The SMME Development Programme will be implemented by Siwaju Consulting. The programme is aimed at building businesses to survive and thrive in a constrained economy and create employment opportunities for the local youth. It will target businesses at various stages of their development, both in the informal and formal sector. 

30 individual entrepreneurs have been selected to participate in the programme and will consist of the following outputs,

  • 18 days of contact time, 
  • 240 hours of business coaching and mentorship,  
  • Online learner management system that will host e-learning material and knowledge library for the participants to utilise throughout the period.

Given the existing challenges of Covid-19, and restrictions on gatherings, the programmes will be delivered in strict adherence to health guidelines including measures but not limited to social distancing, sanitising, wearing of masks etc. Both programmes will use a blended approach to enhance learning and development including online classroom presentations, one-on-one business coaching as well as digital learning. 

All participants in the programmes will be provided with the tools required to ensure that learning outcomes are not constrained by not having access to technology. 

The implementation of Youth Development Programme will coincide with the formalisation of “The Hub” at Maponya Mall. The multi-purpose space will seek to address the needs identified by the community, particularly the youth, to connect them to resources that will promote participation in the local economy. Further details will be announced in due course. 

‘Investing in the communities is about community engagement and this is at the core of Redefine’s way of business, leveraging spaces we manage to change the lives and the future of the people and communities around them. The Challenge Convention is our investment in local people and projects to solve local problems,” adds Coetzee in conclusion. 

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the partners who have come onboard to help us deliver on the commitments we made to the community.”