The Mvula Trust was recently involved with the KSD Presidential Intervention programme, which is an initiative of the Department of Water Affairs, together with the OR Tambo DM with an aim of providing water to villages within a radius of 30 KMs from Mthatha town. The programme entails the installation of bulk pipelines, as well as construction of reservoirs in selected villages. The majority of affected villages fall under the KSD LM, hence the programme is named the ‘KSD Presidential Intervention programme’.
The Mvula Trust has been appointed for Institutional and Social Development facilitation covering pre-construction and construction phases in selected packages and corridors within the programme. Social facilitation is important as it ensures community involvement and active participation during project implementation.
Before the start of any project, communities that are affected by the project need to be consulted. This ensures stakeholder engagement which consists of a series of interactions that are well planned and executed to systematically draw all affected stakeholders into working together. The role of the social facilitator is to ensure effective co-operation by facilitating co-ordination between all role-players, thereby helping to create an environment conducive for smooth running and implementation throughout the project.
The Mvula Trust’s approach has always been based on involving communities, meaning it has always been a community-based approach which encourages participation, making sure that community members are able to not only influence activities that will affect them, but also build their capacity and contribute to their empowerment so as to ensure sustainability of the project, assist them in guarding against vandalism and theft and also to encourage responsibility and ownership. This is one of the critical elements necessary for the success of the project, and The Mvula Trust makes sure that this comes into play.
Community members and traditional leaders such as chiefs, councilors, headmen, and sub-headmen have been directly involved in this project, with community mobilization meetings being held in different communities. The Mvula Trust also ensures that stakeholders such as chiefs, councilors and land owners have been consulted concerning land that will have to be tampered with during excavations, as well as pieces of land which have been identified for the construction of reservoirs. This includes mielie fields belonging to community members, therefore proper consultations have been conducted and agreements have been reached. When agreements are reached, the owners need to write letters of consent to the client.
All of this is facilitated by The Mvula Trust, as the relationship with community leaders and communities created through social facilitation helps in the identification of community issues, so it’s important to plan activities to address them, ensuring that there are less conflicts during and after project implementation.
Training and capacity building have always been an integral component of The Mvula Trust’s approach. In this project, training and capacity building included, amongst other things, training of the project steering committees, CLOs, traditional leaders, etc. The Project Steering Committees are trained in their roles and responsibilities, project managerial skills, leadership qualities, procedural terms for meetings and conflict resolution.
Overall, the KSD Presidential Intervention programme is very beneficial but also very much demanding hence it is crucial that there is in place correct planning and the involvement and engagement of all stakeholders from the commencement of the project until finalization of the project.