Many women across South Africa are seen as the primary caregivers for food security for their families and communities and depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods. The World Bank states that rural women comprise 43 percent of the agricultural labor force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available.
This Saturday, 15 October 2016, is International Day of Rural Women. This day was established by the United Nations (UN) to recognise the critical role and contribution of rural women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
The mamas of Clover Mama Afrika, Clover’s CSI project, are prime examples of the essence of this day. Each has built up small business such as bakeries, food gardens and piggeries which not only supply food but provide job opportunities to those in their respective communities.
The project has to date appointed 42 Mamas throughout South Africa and empowers community caregivers with viable skills which they can then pass onto others so that they too can earn a sustainable income for themselves. These remarkable women collectively feed 5 600 community members daily with fresh produce from their food garden projects and to together their bread baking projects generate well over R4 500 000 which help to provide children in their care with daily fresh bread.
Prof. Elain Vlok, founder of Clover Mama Afrika, commemorates this day by highlighting the mamas who work tirelessly to make a positive change in their communities.
One of these outstanding mamas is Jacqueline Donkerroek from Overberg in the Western Cape. She runs the Tesselaarsdal Women Alliance Centre, which assists many mothers and children in the rural areas to get back their self-respect and dignity which has been lost due to abusive circumstances. Jacqueline and her team recently fed 38 school children hotdogs which was made in their own bakery. “We have won the hearts of the children which is a blessing,” says mama Jacqueline.
Mama Phumelele Mtshali who runs the Bahle Care Centre in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal feeds an average of 100 members daily and employs 20 caregivers to assist with the centre. Eastern Cape mama Albertina Bloko, who started the Bloko Tyilulwazi Centre for the Disabled in 2005, feeds 31 members every day with the vegetables she grows.
In addition to improving food and nutrition security, the purpose of the initiative is to grow the earnings of South African women and to strengthen their roles as leaders in their communities.
Prof. Elain Vlok founder of Clover Mama Afrika says, “It takes a strong woman to be the backbone of the community and feed those in need. These mamas are shining examples of rural women who are making a real difference. I would like to recognise these women on this special day as I am honoured to be able to help these women to help others!”
About Clover Mama Afrika
The Clover Mama Afrika project started as a humble project 12 years ago and has since developed into Clover’s flagship CSI programme. The project has to date appointed 42 Mamas throughout South Africa. These remarkable women collectively care for over 14 200 children and 2 800 elderly people, many of which are abused, orphaned, homeless and vulnerable.
Clover Mama Afrika is on a search for new, strong, powerful, female community leaders that either sews, cook or bake together, to join the Clover Mama Afrika family. These formidable women should already be managing and upskilling a group of other women, but who are looking for the correct training and equipment to further benefit their communities.
For more information on the Clover Mama Afrika project visit: www.clovermamaafrika.com