Looking to make as big an impact as possible, the Refilwe Community Project is running a wide range of initiatives involving children of all ages through to adulthood.On the outskirts of the township of Joe Slovo, just outside Lanseria, in Gauteng, lies the Refilwe Community Project. It is a space that serves as a sanctuary for many children living in the surrounding townships, a place of learning and security.The Refilwe Community Project, established in 1991 by Jean Stewart and Yvonne Jacques as a Christian-based community development initiative, has catered to many of the needs of the people of Lanseria and its surrounding areas.Going the Extra Mile campaign (GEM) and Play Your Part paid the organisation a visit to see how it went about its day-to-day activities. Children from Refilwe’s Godparent programme and from the surrounding areas gather for Refilwe’s weekly Kid’s Club on Saturdays, at which facilitators such as Megan Corbett and volunteers run various workshops with the children.“The two communities come together for Kid’s Club every Saturday,” explains Corbett. “We do worship, we do Bible study and run a feeding scheme with them every Saturday.”Volunteers, who had heard about the opportunity to volunteer through the GEM application, were on hand to help run the workshops and prepare the food for the feeding scheme.Sherley, one of the volunteers present through GEM, said she would probably have been relaxing at home if she had not been made aware of the opportunity to volunteer. “It’s good that they [Refilwe Community Project] have got kids involved,” said Sherley. “They’d also probably be chilling at home doing nothing; now they’re learning and playing together and developing, so I think it’s great to see.”She spoke about the role volunteers could play in helping organisations such as Refilwe, and how GEM had made the process so much easier. “The more people who see it, the more people you have involved, the more donors you can get which means the more projects you can start. So it’s important to get people involved so they can grow.”Looking to make as big an impact as possible, the Refilwe Community Project is running a wide range of initiatives involving children of all ages through to adulthood.GEM CONNECTS YOUGEM is a social development drive aimed at mobilising people and developing a sense of ownership of the organisations and initiatives that have been established to make a difference to people’s lives. The GEM app, developed in conjunction with Play Your Part, rewards volunteers for their efforts in helping during special programmes or in the day-to-day activities of NGOs such as Refilwe.One of Play Your Part’s main objectives is to encourage and empower active citizenship amongst all people of South Africa and, through the partnerships such as this one with GEM, the campaign has increased its reach and made it easier for citizens to take action and help.Volunteers can choose to participate in any campaign listed in the app’s database; once the good deed is done, they are eligible to receive a reward via the app, called a GEM. This reward can then be redeemed for a range of products such as airtime, data, pre-paid electricity, or movie tickets.For more information on how to get involved in your community and to keep track of the activities in and around your area, visit GEM’s website or download the application.
1 February 2016South Africa is one of 14 African countries to have received recognition for its fight against malaria during the 2016 African Leaders Malaria Alliance (Alma) meeting on 30 January as part of the 26th African Union Summit in Ethiopia.The 2016 Alma Awards for Excellence were given to:Botswana, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, and Swaziland for achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for malaria;Rwanda, Senegal and Liberia for Performance in Malaria Control between 2011 and 2015;Mali, Guinea and Comoros for being the Most Improved in Malaria Control between 2011 and 2015.“These are impressive achievements,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are a result of your vision of a malaria-free world.”These stats from the Alma shows where Africa is gaining ground in the fight against malaria. The green indicates a country on track, yellow indicates progress but more effort required while red shows countries that are not on track in the fight against malaria. (Image: Alma)South Africa’s progressIn South Africa, cases of malaria have decreased by 82%; and the malaria related death rate has dropped by 71% since the year 2000 to date.The decrease is attributed to a sound malaria vector control programme, in which the country has used dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT odourless insecticide for indoor residual spraying, coupled with other World Health Organization recommended interventions.“We are honoured to receive this 2016 Alma Award, which recognises the efforts that our programme in South Africa has made, not only in the past decade, but also investments we have made to fight malaria since the 1940s,” said President Jacob Zuma, who received the award.Collective effortSince 2000, malaria mortality rates in Africa had fallen by 66% overall and 71% among children under the age of five, said the alliance.“The African Leaders Malaria Alliance is a model for what we can do when we commit ourselves to a collective goal,” noted Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.“Our progress is undeniable. This is what it looks like when we work together – this is how we build a better future for Africa.”Challenge continues“Despite the remarkable achievements, we should not lose sight that malaria remains a disease of poverty and a major public health concern, particularly in Africa,” said Hailemariam Dessalegn, Ethiopia’s prime minister and the current chair of Alma. “We must therefore continue to invest in malaria interventions in order to reduce malaria cases and deaths.”According to the organisation, there were 188 million case of malaria in Africa in 2015. “An African child still dies every two minutes from the disease,” it said.To see how each country fared, click here to read the 2015 fourth quarter report.Source: SouthAfrica.info reporter