ACT is a Strategic Implementing Partner of the Social Employment Fund (SEF). A Presidential Employment Stimulus project, the SEF is providing job opportunities to 50,000 unemployed persons from impoverished, marginalized, and/or disadvantaged communities and groups. The SEF focuses on ‘work for the common good’ which is work that is not for profit and inherently meaningful, as it contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and/or improves the quality of life in communities.


ACT is overseeing the employment of 3,000 participants, working in 180+ teams in four provinces: KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Our focus is primarily to create jobs in the environmental sphere, but a secondary impact will be a residual skillset and empowered communities, working towards a longer-term vision of co-created conservation economies.

The project is being implemented under three themes:


  • The removal of alien and invasive plants which throttle landscapes and prevent natural vegetation from growing.
    Restoring landscapes and large erosion dongas using manual rehabilitation techniques, particularly in the Upper Thukela Catchment.


  • The establishment of a network of homestead and community vegetable gardens to support nutrition and food security.
  • Training of participants and community members in agro-ecological / permaculture farming practices.
  • The establishment of a supportive network of Demonstration Gardens and Heirloom seeding nurseries to sustain the gardens and break the cycle of dependency on purchased GMO crops.


  • San rock art site monitoring & assessment by local custodians, including trail monitoring and development.

What has been achieved?

The impact on the ground has been phenomenal, as participants and their families are able to put food on the table, benefit from increased financial security and a sense of purpose from being involved in meaningful work. Highlights for our current project (August 2023 – April 2024) include:

  • 77, 3 HA of productive agricultural landscapes have been established, mapped or maintained,
  • 3,169 participants and community members have received training in agroecological farming practices (four-day course), 
  • 38,6 tons of produce donated by participant teams to community centres, feeding schemes and families in need,
  • 58,300 m2 of erosion control measures implemented by teams – many projects of their own initiative,
  • 1,640 HA of invasive vegetation thinned,
  • More than 67,000 volunteer days have been accrued, as participants are donating their time to repairing roads, maintaining schools, cleaning pension pay points and collecting plastic waste, to name a few.

About the SEF

The Social Employment Fund forms part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, a programme which aims to support employment opportunities and rebuild the economy, particularly after the devastating impact of Covid-19. The project is led by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and managed by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).