To create a reserve where all parties involved are committed, willing and able to make a contribution to the development of the reserve and to benefit from the achievement of its vision and objectives.
Strengthening relationships and developing a sense of community and ownership.
Developing and expanding the capacity of existing staff who have been the workforce on the Amakhala properties for a long time.
Providing opportunities for greater income generation.
During 2003 and 2004, a development initiative was embarked upon that involved the staff of the Reserve in a process of monthly workshops with the Centre for Social Development from Rhodes University. Staff members were divided into two geographical groupings and met together to discuss and resolve issues of importance to them and their environment. This process is now being taken one logical step further to include owners and management in order to further strengthen relationships, break down barriers and develop a shared understanding of aims and objectives.
Education & Training
Staff members are being put through various in-house training programmes on an ongoing basis to enable them to take on new positions and responsibilities at the various lodges. Some of them are involved in Theta Hospitality Learnerships and some have participated in the Eco Training course, which has run its practical component on Amakhala. We are also starting to include staff members on our student programme.
We have been investigating the options for English Second Language training, one of our objectives being to run an ESL course, making use of the support available from the Dept. of Education.
With regard to opportunities for generating income, we have made use of women on the Reserve to make paper from elephant dung, create Welcome boxes for guests, and do sewing of uniforms.
A bee-keeping initiative is currently being investigated, in conjunction with Garth Cambray from Makana Meadery.
A range of other possible income-generating projects have been identified and approaches will be made to the East Cape Development Corporation for advice and support.
A pilot title deed scheme was initiated by one of the Amakhala members in co-operation with the Land Restitution and Development Project (Dept. of Land Affairs). This would involve a portion of land being bought by the Dept. of Land Affairs and granted to a community group (basically that particular staff grouping in the area they have always occupied), who would jointly hold the land in trust (called the Community Property Association) and as such enter into a management agreement with that Amakhala member. Once-off grants would be given to CPA members for utilisation in projects such as purchasing game, clearing alien vegetation, running vegetable gardens, etc. The process, initially facilitated by ECARP (East Cape Agric. Research Project), moved forward very slowly, as there were many aspects that needed to be understood and agreed upon by all the parties concerned. Current thinking is that it might be a better idea to create an Amakhala village for the whole Reserve, based on a similar agreement with Land Affairs, where housing and income-generating projects can be centralised. Obviously this will also involve quite a long negotiating process and it is only in the early stages of investigation.
Conservation & Education
The Conservation Centre on Amakhala facilitates research and training activities in the environmental field, e.g. for post-graduate students from Rhodes University. There is an ongoing relationship with the Sindisa Foundation, a non-profit organisation that promotes conservation through the education of scholars and students from the UK.
It also has an outreach education programme, which enables children from farm schools in the area and children’s charity groups, to experience the outdoors and a game reserve.
Social activities include the holding of a Mr and Ms Amakhala event to which everyone on the Reserve was invited. A meal was shared together, the Graeme College Steel Band provided live entertainment, and the titles were awarded on the basis of staff personalities best representing Amakhala Game Reserve.
On the day of this event, an Amakhala soccer tournament was also held, with 4 teams from the Reserve competing for top honours.
Teams have their kit sponsored by Amakhala lodge owners.
We are planning to target in particular the young people on the Reserve, and any visitors over the holiday period, with AIDS workshops facilitated by an AIDS trainer/counsellor from the Ikhwezi Project in Alexandria.
The Reed Valley Primary School, situated on a portion of the Reserve, is a Xhosa-medium school offering Grades 1 – 7. It is one of the few remaining rural schools in the area, and has a computer facility built by one of the Amakhala members and equipped by the Rhodes Univ. Maths Education Project.
For further information on our Social Development projects, please contact Justine Weeks by email firstname.lastname@example.org.