The National Development Agency held a virtual dialogue with 200 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who are part of the COVID-19 Volunteer Programme on Tuesday, 09 September 2020. The purpose of the dialogue was to assess the status and impact of the programme as the NDA continues to strengthen CSOs.
“CSOs are a critical stakeholder for government to eradicate poverty and implement community development programmes. This programme is an example of how communities can take care of themselves. These organisations have gone all out when everyone was staying at home puzzled by the development of the pandemic. They offered themselves to educate our people in communities on the pandemic and the government protocols.
Our role was to implement the Khawuleza District Model by partnering with these organisations who in turn partnered with their local municipalities and other critical stakeholders while they create awareness. As the NDA, we will continue to do our work and find creative ways to provide services as mandated by Parliament even during these trying times,” says Mrs Thamo Mzobe, NDA Chief Executive Officer.
The 200 CSOs recruited 2000 volunteers to participate in the programme. The first group of volunteers who started with the programme at the end of March 2020 will work until the end of September 2020 and those who joined in June 2020 will work until the end of the year. This enabled the NDA to create 2000 jobs made up of 1600 women, 400 men and of this number, the youth made up the bulk of the volunteers at 1750. The budget set aside for this programme is R32 million which covers CSOs management fees, Volunteer stipends at R1500 per Volunteer and the purchasing of personal protective equipment.
“We went in strong to ensure that we assist the communities to educate them about the pandemic. The biggest challenges were that, at the beginning, people were not used to staying at home. It was difficult. We saw how criminals started taking advantage of the young people because they were not going to school hence police had to get involved”, said Mrs Linda Jack, from Sinethemba Developmental Community Center in the Eastern Cape.
Mr Nkosikhona Mpungase from Youth Interactive NPO in KZN added his appreciation of the Volunteer programme which has benefitted 2000 direct beneficiaries who are now able to put food on their table for over 10 000 indirect beneficiaries, since the beginning of the lock down. He highlighted the vast experience in lobbying and advocacy which participating CSOs have gained and the opportunity to get to know their communities better.
The CEO of South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Ms Busisiwe Memela, thanked all the CSOs who have been assisting SASSA during the pandemic period. ‘’Your services were critical especially at the time when people where applying for Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants, Unemployment COVID-19 grant and marshaling queues in our centers, Post Offices and other pay point areas. SASSA will continue to support the organisations with resources as expected and we hope that this partnership will be sustained going forward,’’ she concludes.
The Volunteers have been involved in the establishment of War Rooms in their respective Districts, distribution of food parcels; screening and testing interventions; championing door-to-door and hot spot area campaigns to create awareness on hygiene and social distancing; and provided other social services targeting vulnerable groups within the communities such as clinic visits for the elderly and assisting victims of gender-based violence.
The NDA remains committed to enhancing our partnership and collaboration with civil society which forms the bedrock of our existence as an entity.
For more information, please contact Ms Makgodu Tsehloane on 072 801-5728 /Makgodut@nda.org.za or Ms Mukondi Makhwathane on 083 739-7642 /MukondeleliM@nda.org.za