Story of Transformation – Systemic Approach to Developing an Integrated Community

The story about the transformation of Patrick Lekaota

Most people are aware of the major challenges we face in South Africa and especially in disadvantages communities. But it is often difficult to understand where all these problems come from and why we struggle so much to overcome them.

Throughout more 18 years of experience we have acquired a profound knowledge of the situation in many communities in South Africa and realized that here is a vicious circle: Infants become very vulnerable when they are born into a disadvantaged communities and their family members fail to adequately take care of them due to several reasons. They will increasingly suffer from all these difficulties, such as bad service delivery, a low quality of education, unemployment and poverty within their family high levels of violence and crime and most of all, a lack of future perspectives. Looking at the severity of all these problems, it becomes understandable that a young person in such a community is overwhelmed and might eventually turn to violence, crime or any other problematic behaviour him/ herself. Over the past 18 ½ years Khulisa has acquired a profound understanding of the situation in many communities in South Africa.  The Cycle of Poverty and Hopelessness (developed by Dr Barbara Holtmann) demonstrates that infants become vulnerable when they are born into disadvantaged communities and family members fail to adequately take care of them.  They increasingly suffer from a multitude of difficulties ranging from bad service delivery, low quality education

The Cycle of Poverty and Hopelessness also highlights the importance of interventions at various stages of this cycle, where both offenders and the vulnerable victims need intervention. Khulisa has adopted a strategy of integrated Services to break this cycle and change a community.

The diagram below highlights the importance of interventions at various stages of this cycle where both offenders and victims require stringent interventions.  Khulisa has adopted a strategy to provide integrated services in order to break the cycle and subsequently empower the community to take charge of their own situation, through grassroots level collaboration, consultancy, capacity building and mentoring, to follow an integrated approach.

 

cycle

A great example demonstrating the effectiveness of system interventions, aimed at addressing all needs within the community, was demonstrated through a programme in the Kuruman region of the Northern Cape.  The aim was to provide sustainable, collaborative, integrated community empowerment and safety programmes targeting behaviour change and providing opportunities for self-actualisation.  An array of programmes were included in order to address the multi-faceted needs of this complex community

 

Programme outcomes

The interventions provided over a 2 ½ year period had a significant impact on beneficiaries, resulting in a measurable increase in self-esteem, motivation, communication and problem solving skills.  Amongst women, coping mechanisms, stress management and dealing with trauma, were significantly improved upon.  The young men on the programme were able to reflect on their behaviour and there was a significant decrease in anger and violence.  The programme enhanced the knowledge and skills of parents, having a positive impact on family life in general.  The facilitators of the programme, drawn from a cohort of unemployed youth, were trained by Khulisa and made an extremely positive contribution in their communities.  The majority of them have now started tertiary education or are employed.

 

Impact of the integrated community approach


Khulisa includes professional monitoring and evaluation in all projects to report back on the achievements and constantly improve all interventions.
Main outcomes and the impact of the HEARD project include:
The programme has a huge impact on the beneficiaries resulting in a higher self-esteem, more motivation and better communication- and problem solving skills. Besides, women improve their coping mechanisms, have more effective stress management strategies and show less trauma related psychological symptoms. Young men are able to reflect on their own behavior and show better anger management strategies. The programme improved the knowledge and skills of parents and had a positive impact on the family life in general. The facilitators and volunteers that are trained by Khulisa made a positive contribution in their communities and more people started a tertiary education or found employment.

“Ploughing back into the community that reared me to be who I really am, is the feeling that wordily I cannot be able to describe in length – it is a very special feeling.”  – Patrick Lekaota, Programme Facilitator, HEARD Project

We thank everybody that made this intervention a success!