SOCIAL EMPLOYMENT FUND
THE SOCIAL EMPLOYMENT FUND
ACT is one of 28 Strategic Implementing Partners of the Social Employment Fund (SEF), collectively 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.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
ACT is overseeing the employment of 2,928 participants, working in 180+ teams in three provinces: KwaZulu-Natal, Free State 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:
GREENING AND THE ENVIRONMENT
- 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.
COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC ART
- 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 as at June 2023 include:
- Almost 159 HA of productive agricultural landscapes have been established (equivalent to 79,000 gardens of 20 m2),
- 2,705 participants and community members have received training in agroecological farming practices (four-day course), as well 68 participants upskilled as training facilitators,
- 61,800 m2 of erosion control measures implemented by teams – many projects of their own initiative,
- More than 64,000 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).