Three giants on the sustainable development front have partnered to plant 112 trees in the Mbekweni township just north of Paarl as part of Food and Trees for Africa’s Trees for Homes initiative.
The Niall Mellon Township Trust (NMTT), the Ackermann Family Foundation and Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) are ensuring resilient indigenous trees will soon be taking root besides the houses which were built during the annual NMTT Building Blitz Week last year.
This will improve the standard of living for the community living in 75 houses built by 500 volunteers, of which 300 were women. Two and 3 bedroomed homes were built with a kitchen and bathroom, running water, electricity and sanitation.
Education, action and employment
The FTFA community-building projects achieve more than the pioneering introduction of indigenous and fruit trees into barren landscapes; they educate the community members, prompt them to action, employ them, and ensure accountability by various post-planting interactions to assess development and to receive feedback on progress.
The Mbekweni community has a high rate of unemployment. Some of the residents rely on seasonal work on nearby farms, work as domestic workers and find temporary work at the local municipality.
As part of the government’s efforts to create a better life for all through improving infrastructure and living conditions, Project 2 low cost housing project was implemented between 1997 and 1998. Currently over 2000 low cost housing units have been constructed and occupied in Mbekweni.
Due to the population growth of this area, it currently mothers a number of sub-settlements, namely Thembani, Silver Town, and Polar Park.
3.6 million trees all in all
FTFA is South Africa’s national social enterprise that started in 1990 to address sustainable development through greening, climate change action, sustainable natural resource management and food security programmes. FTFA has distributed over 3.6 million trees, facilitated over 2 500 organic food gardens for the poorest in South Africa and launched the first carbon calculator and the Carbon Standard (now the Carbon Protocol) in this country.
Working in partnership, and with the support, endorsement and cooperation of government, the private and public sectors and civil society to achieve these aims, FTFA implements the following programmes: