Village Power Community Development Projects is an organization that focuses on rural development, self-empowerment and gender equity.
Because unemployment is such a critical factor in South Africa at present, Village Power sees it as a crucial area for development initiatives to focus on. Village Power is currently involved in an enterprise development project in Masakhane, a rural village near Magaliesburg. Participants in this project receive basic business skill training and mentorship to develop their micro enterprises. Funds are needed to expand this programme to reach unemployed youth through life skills training and thus help them stay away from crime.
As part of Village Power's enterprise development, life skills courses are offered in rural settings. Courses are often tailored to fit the needs of a particular group. Life skills courses have been delivered to groups of youth, jobless women and a group of elderly illiterate and semi-literate individuals. The modules which were covered included the following topics:
Career counselling is a continuous process throughout the time during which the course is presented. The course culminates in a career counselling day during which the main vocational skills of the group or individuals are identified and a plan of action drawn up to address these needs.
The facilitators have been mentoring these individuals to compile business plans to access seed capital to start their own businesses. These businesses include chicken farming, sewing and making and selling biltong. The seed capital is provided in the form of loans that are repaid over various periods of time as determined in the business plans.
The business skills course consists of a basic business skills course during which several aspects of business management is facilitated by a qualified adult education facilitator.
Some of the topics which are covered in the course are:
Aims of the enterprise development project:
A beauty therapist
After attending the life skills course in 2010 Lettie Tshepiso decided that she wanted to study to become a beauty therapist. During one of her career counselling sessions she was put in touch with a local company that trained beauticians. She completed her training and then presented a business plan and accessed funding to buy a massage bed, towels and some basic equipment. Tshepiso now does free-lance beauty therapy in the area close to her home.
A driving school in a rural village
After completing the career counselling component of the life skills course in 2009 Simon obtained his driver's licence. He then did some research and realized that there was a need in his community for basic driving lessons. Most young people from this community had never driven before and Simon helps them to get basic driving skills before they move onto more expensive driving lessons. He wrote a proposal and accessed R4000-00 from a Seed Capital Fund that was available at the time. This helped Simon to set up his business which now provides the main income for his family.
A public pay phone in a rural village
Seune Phiri, a graduate of the life skills course that was presented in his village in 2009 started a small spaza shop in September 2010. He then identified the need for a public pay phone in the settlement. He attended our business skills training course and with the help of the business skills mentor he wrote up a business plan and accessed R 2000-00 to purchase a public pay phone. From this phone, which has a printer, he can also sell airtime to the people of his village.
James is a soccer player for the Masakhane soccer team. He submitted a proposal to buy a camera and printer. For this he accessed R 2000-00. He takes pictures of soccer players and soccer games, which he then sells to players and spectators. James is currently saving up to buy a computer and a larger printer so that he can design and print T-shirts.
Eggs by the dozen
After attending the business skills training and starting a mobile tyre-repair workshop Thulo accessed a further R 1000-00 with which he built his chicken coop bought his first 50 hens. He has since expanded his business and keeps 100 egg-laying hens. When the hens go past their prime laying period Thulo sells them as meat-chickens.