Although our journey began in traditional education we have realized there is a critical need to empower communities through relevant business driven initiatives. In all cases, we look for approaches that empower individuals to help themselves. Positive engagement, driven by approaches such as Asset Based Community Development rather than ‘needs’ based assessments should be utilized.
Where possible we look to support the creation of community driven models that encompass entrepreneurship, innovative energy and building technology, and where applicable organic agriculture, creative water solutions etc. We also look to support enterprises owned and developed by the communities, looking for initiatives that promote business skills relevant to the communities and the areas in which they live.
Our role ranges from providing general business guidance and assisting with legal or other structural needs, to providing grant, seed or bridging funding to projects. We work with initiatives that have the potential to achieve a level of financial sustainability, and where possible like to document information to be utilised or replicated by other similar institutions.
Some incredible examples of Empowerment within communities that we support can be found at The Clothing Bank as well as Mama Mimi’s.
Another exciting initiative in this realm is The Poverty Stoplight program, an innovative, practical methodology and self-evaluation, visual survey tool that allows poor families to self-diagnose their level of poverty as a first step in developing a personalised strategy to lift them permanently out of poverty. This approach is experiencing huge success in Paraguay, and more recently, has been customised and localised for a South African context by The Clothing Bank.
In South Africa, TSF and the Douglas Murray Trust (DGMT) have partnered to support a local Poverty Stoplight office from 2015 that will Encourage and enable organisations engaged in poverty-related programmes to use the Poverty Stoplight approach in order to (a) improve their M&E methodologies, (b) assess impact and validate if they are moving the needle of transformation, and (b) collaborate with other organisations who have requisite competencies in order to eradicate poverty.