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The GRCF is pleased to announce two recent major developments – one within our own offices, and other in the Mathopestat community (our ABCD pilot) — which will surely push the boundaries of development even further in the greater Rustenburg area.

Corne Theunissen, Resource and Development Manager

The first major development is the partnership of UNISA with the Canadian based Coady Institute and the GRCF in starting a brand new PhD program around community foundations and innovative paradigms of development.  This is sure to put the Rustenburg region even more on the international development map, and provide more chances for collaboration and knowledge sharing to ensure that we are always at the cutting edge of helping our communities help themselves. GRCF’s own Corne Theunissen, the current Resource and Development Manager, will be the first student in this unique research program.

Corne is a highly qualified development professional with advanced degrees in Political Science, International Relations and Development and Management.  She has almost two decades of international and local experience including in community development, research, consulting, numerous conferences and workshops, and being a University lecturer.  When asked why she chose to dedicate the last 10 years of her life to a community foundation Corne responds, “Because I like to drive my Jeep into the bush,” she then continues more seriously, “there are few jobs where you can get your hands dirty doing the real work down on the ground, and also deal with the policy level issues with governments and donors.  You get the academic end and the practical end together and can work both up and down.  At the end of the day you are working with people and the environment to make your community a great place for everyone, so what’s not to love?”.

We at the GRCF are proud to support Corne as she embarks on this groundbreaking journey in helping the Rustenburg community take great leaps forward in the development sphere.

Mathopestat ABCD participants.

The second update we are happy to announce is from our ABCD pilot community in Mathopestat.  As mentioned previously, the ABCD (Asset Based Community Driven) paradigm is meant to show a community that it is richer than it thinks and that if individuals pool their assets then they can drive their own development.  For this reason, although the GRCF is a community grantmaker, we do not provide the ABCD communities with grants in the initial stages of ABCD (our grants are meant for already establish NPOs/NGOs). Instead we see how well they progress after 6 months and if they can show that the projects they have generated are effective and sustainable, then we help them further by providing grants for scaling up as well as additional capacity support.

Checking in frequently over the 6 months after we had facilitated the first ABCD workshop in Mathopestat, we saw repeatedly that the changes had been dramatic.   Several projects have been started up and are still going strong and the Community Forum that was started by some participants provides a wonderful support network to community members and helps in the pooling of assets.

Given that the members of Mathopestat have proven that they have the dedication and strength to help themselves, and have shown they can create sustainable projects, the GRCF recently presented the community with a grant of R 10, 000 at the UNISA conference in Pretoria. This grant will help the projects scale-up.  In addition to this grant, the GRCF has also promised another match grant of R 5000 once the community has raised that same amount through their projects.  The GRCF will of course continue its capacity support of Mathopestat as well as other Rustenburg communities through helping organizations set up constitutions and obtain legal status, as well as through other kinds of training as needed.  We hope that all ABCD communities will be as successful as Mathopestat has been and look forward to finding ways to make sure that this happens. Innovation, community involvement, passion.  We at the GRCF are continually looking for ways to make Rustenburg the place we love to call home.

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