News from the Mission
Awards of $1.9 Million made to Grassroots Community Organizations
By Wandile Mavuso | Staff writer | September 14, 2012
The United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa has awarded $1.9million in grants to grassroots community projects working in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape Provinces. The funding is through the U.S. Ambassador’s Community Grants program and sourced from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR). It is part of the U.S. Mission’s broader effort to combat HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
The U.S. Mission’s Community Grants Program supports community organizations that provide care to orphans and vulnerable children and home-based HIV/AIDS patients.
The Program places significant emphasis on sustainable and income-generating activities, such as bakeries, sewing projects and handicrafts, as well as training grantees in providing care to orphans and vulnerable children or home-based palliative care to those suffering from AIDS-related illness.
Speaking during the award ceremony, Ms Elizabeth Gips, wife of Ambassador Donald Gips congratulated the grantees, commenting that they are based in struggling communities and addressing grave, core problems that the communities face. “Your grass roots, community based work and the U.S. partnership to address the core problems together continue to be the Unites States’s core focus”, she said, adding that she is so proud to see that the amount awarded to grantees increases every year, thus proving beyond reasonable doubt that the community organizations are doing a remarkable job.
Country wide the U.S. is funding 99 small community based projects, through the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids relief (PEPFAR). The average grant per project is about R100, 000. Last year, these small grants helped more than 36, 000 people access HIV/AIDS services, including home-based care for terminally ill and support for orphans and vulnerable children. These small grants are intended to help organizations on a path to sustainability, by allowing them to purchase much-needed equipment and supplies, to acquire training, conduct extensive community awareness campaigns and to launch income-generating projects, telecommunications and bio fuels projects.
Veronica Ndlovu, a grantee from Ba-Ga-Mothibi Advice and Development Centre from North-West province whose core business is paralegal issues said they are very happy to receive a grant of $7,000 (R60, 000). She said they offer palliative care to terminally ill patients, as well as make sure that their legal issues are sorted out. “We also introduce scholars to computer skills, as well as youth programs”, she said. Furthermore, she said the grant will go a long way as their organization operates in a population of 60,000 people in 14 villages. “The beneficiaries will increase because we now have more money to cater for them”.