Flower Valley News
Every organisation reviews its strategy from time to time, to seize new opportunities and prepare for new challenges. Our review over the last year has been a great team-building exercise – and has led us to our new vision statement:
A Fynbos-Filled Future for Life and Livelihoods
I love it. It’s so simple, yet captures the many layers of our work. For me, it’s especially important in that it highlights the role of people in Fynbos. All our work takes place through a people-centred approach: of learning, demonstration and collaboration.
To focus on collaboration: we partner with harvesters, landowners, suppliers, retailers, parents, children, government – and so many more. Together we bring about positive change. I want to thank all these partners for the teamwork and successes we have enjoyed together this year.
And I also want to thank the many funders who have over the years been partners too. It’s all those companies, organisations, philanthropic individuals and Trusts who invest in this vision: in Fynbos landscapes and Fynbos livelihoods.
It’s clear South Africa’s economy is in a difficult place right now. We can see the effects of this in both the conservation and agricultural sectors. This makes it all the more important to ensure our work offers a good return on investment. And it does! So thank you for your support. We’ll continue to provide those returns: safeguarding ecosystems, securing livelihoods and nurturing young children.
One final thought: It feels really good to give a green gift on festive occasions. What about a green gift from Flower Valley Farm – adopting a hectare of Fynbos and forests for a year for a family member or friend? Please support this cause. Here’s how.
May you have a wonderful festive season. We look forward to your continued support and partnership next year.
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The Flower Valley Conservation Trust’s annual report for 2017 – 2018 is now available. And for Executive Director, Lesley Richardson, Flower Valley has (and continues to) focus on better lives, protected natural landscapes and greater sustainability. These are all things the funders of today want to see. And that’s how the Trust invests in the future. The full report is available here.
The Good Hope Early Childhood Development Centre in Masakhane is now able to accommodate an additional 60 children.
The centre, which serves children from birth to 5 years of age, has been extended with an additional site operating since October.
The existing site already cares for 40 children. The centre has also now opened its doors at the old primary school in Masakhane.
The centre forms part of the Flower Valley Early Childhood Development Programme. According to the programme’s manager, Gabbi Jonker, the growth is thanks to the strong partnerships that have formed around the centre.
How it all started
Flower Valley Conservation Trust has supported and worked in partnership with the Good Hope ECD Centre since 2014. This initial work came through Flower Valley’s partnership with the Western Cape Department of Social Development. Important ground work was initiated through collaboration with the Overstrand Municipality and Masakhane parents and residents, and Good Hope staff.
Partnerships continued to grow to include initial infrastructure input (from Gamko Services), and resource support and monitoring of qualification training, thanks to Enlighten Education Trust and the Nicolette Botha-Guthrie Trust Fund. Boland College also supported teacher qualification training.
Gabbi says in the past 18 months, partnerships have grown substantially. Thanks to the Grootbos Foundation, children have a wonderful new outdoor play area at the new site. The Grootbos Foundation and the Overstrand Municipality joined hands in the renovation of the new site. Grootbos Foundation has also accessed funding to provide seed capital to co-finance a large percentage of salaries. At the same time, Aquinion brought their Payroll expertise to the centre, and also assist with human resource activities.
A vibrant and heartfelt atmosphere
The governing body of the Good Hope ECD Centre now consists of strong representatives of multiple stakeholders. This diversity of skills, knowledge, expertise and care provides a solid basis on which to work towards sustainable service delivery for the children of the Good Hope ECD Centre.
Flower Valley currently supports the Good Hope Centre in all aspects of administration, management, governance, registration, learning programme and teacher training, staff and partnership development, and supporting environmental education in the curriculum. Gabbi says that thanks to the valuable partners, this work takes place in an atmosphere that is vibrant and heartfelt, reflecting a common purpose of equal access to good quality early childhood developmental opportunities.
“It takes many committed persons, government and non-profit organisations to stand together to create a better world. Only together can we support life-affirming environments for our young children and in so doing for our society as a whole. Thank you all for joining hearts and hands in this wonderful initiative.”
For more information please contact: Gabbi Jonker: email@example.com
The demand for Fynbos has rocketed in recent years, with exports doubling since 2012. Fynbos is also now seen as an elite product – especially in the overseas markets.
A recent study into the wild fynbos sector looked at the scale, structure and sustainability of the wild fynbos harvesting supply chain. The results of the study, funded by the Table Mountain Fund (an associated Trust of WWF South Africa) and undertaken by Coventry University and Flower Valley Conservation Trust, were released at a launch event held outside Botriver in November.
According to Dr David Bek, lead researcher, “This used to be a cottage industry. But if you look at the improvements in terms of employment and upgrading, that’s not the case anymore. The entrepreneurs of the industry have done well. And through bouquet-making, we’re capturing the value in South Africa.”
However, the growth of the industry has put some pressure on the resource.
The study found that the range of species being harvested has declined from 300, to around 150. Most harvesting takes place in the Overberg.
“Silver Brunia, in particular, is critical to the financial survival of many harvesting businesses,” Dr Bek said. The prices of Silver Brunia have increased more than 600% in a decade. “This has led to pressure on stocks and has also led to poaching.”
Understanding the nature of employment
Kathy O’Grady, Flower Valley’s Ethical Trade Coordinator, said the harvesting industry employs around 2000 people. An additional 1400 people receive direct employment through packsheds, where bouquets are made.
She said, “Increased formalisation and upskilling in the industry has led to better paid permanent jobs.” However, the study found examples in which harvesters earn about 4.5 percent of the final value of the product. And prices paid to harvesters for greens (excluding Silver Brunia) have increased very little in the last decade.
Despite this, there have been marked increases in expenses for contractors, such as fuel, maintenance and wages.
Wages vary – with some harvesting earning “a good living”, well in excess of the minimum wage, the report found. But some people “have more precarious work and may often earn below the minimum wage”.
The study highlighted some of the key concerns:
- Invasive alien plants: Dr Bek said, “Some people we interviewed said that in 20 to 30 years’ time, all the land will be covered in aliens.”
- Unsustainable harvesting – and in particular, different views on what is sustainable.
- Poaching and fire.
- Assurance does not cover the entire industry – but key segments of the market are increasingly expecting it.
The report has recommended three areas of focus for the industry:
- To promote greater industry cohesion, so that Fynbos can have a voice on bigger platforms.
- To improve data availability and accuracy.
- To ensure steps are taken for the industry to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
The research project grew from the need to better understand the industry, in terms of its economic impact, as well as social and environmental impacts.
The Table Mountain Fund provided the funding for the study, which was overseen by Cape Flora SA, the Fynbos industry body.
To read the abbreviated report – click here.
To read the full report – click here.
In South Africa, when August arrives, we celebrate Women’s Month – honouring women across the country and highlighting opportunities provided in various sectors.
From working with children to clearing invasive alien plants and picking fynbos responsibly for the bouquet market, we work to enable women in the Overberg area to empower themselves sustainably, emotionally and economically.
In this newsletter we put the spotlight on the women who are part of our Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme. You can read about the “Milkwood Retreats” below where
in-depth time is spent with ECD practitioners to broaden their understanding and skills for their special vocation with children.
But that is not where the capacity building stops for us. Through our ABI Alien Clearing programme, we dedicate time and resources towards training and development of the participants – who, of the 250 employed per year, are 60% female. Other successes from the project are listed below.
Top of mind – and heart – for Flower Valley, a conservation and development organisation based in the heart of the Overberg, is the creation of opportunities for women, partnering with them to find solutions and to adapt to environmental, economic and social changes. Women whose voices are heard, have the power to change the world for the better.
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