Ranyaka workshop: Collaboration is a necessity not a choice.

In the latter part of 2017 informal discussions between Stellumthombo staff and other NGOs active in Cloetesville revealed a need for greater sense of partnership between NGOs. While most of us had a general sense of who was active, none of us were completely sure what the core mandate of each organisation was. This led to Khula development group hosting an initial event to get the conversation started. While this was fruitful and facilitated greater cooperation it also revealed a lack of a central strategy for those working in Cloetesville.

As fate would have it one of those attending the meeting was in contact with Johan Olivier of Ranyaka Community Investment Manager. “A social enterprise that was established to provide sustainable, integrated solutions to the challenges facing towns, neighbourhoods and communities in South Africa.” Amongst other things Ranyaka helps those working in community development in a given area to move towards a less disconnected model of intervention. As such we started organising a Ranyaka workshop for NGOs as well as other role players in Cloetesville.

On 23 March we gathered for what would prove to be a very insightful and challenging workshop. In one exercise A1 sized maps of Cloetesville were used to plot the challenges as well as opportunities for growth. Through this simple exercise one is confronted by the sheer size of the task at hand. The map was however also littered with pockets of hope, spaces where one could see the opportunities that simply needed to be seized. The mapping exercise was only the start of our 4-hour workshop, but it set the tone for what was at its core. If the opportunities were to be seized in a manner that had a lasting impact on the challenges of the community it could not be done in a disjointed way. The size and proliferation of the challenges on the map made one acutely aware that going forward an open and honest collaborative approach needed to be adopted amongst those working in Cloetesville.

This is the start of a long road going forward and it won’t be without its challenges and setbacks. Knowing that we are on this road together however makes it an exciting time to be involved in Cloetesville.