August 31, 2009

Teach a Man to Fish

By Morgan Soloski

While we all understand that feeding the hungry is an essential step toward repairing the world, effectively battling hunger requires not only treating the symptoms but also giving individuals the tools to control their own lives.  In the U.S. and around the globe, MAZON supports not only food providers but programs that work to build sustainable growth within communities that have slipped through the cracks of the modern world.

One of our newest grantees, Ikamva Labantu, operates out of Cape Town in South Africa. Ikamva Labantu, which means “The Future of our Nation,” traces its origins to the work of Helen Lieberman during the era of Apartheid. Lieberman worked with impoverished women in townships surrounding Cape Town to build solutions from the inside-out, rather than outside-in.

From those humble beginnings was born Ikamva Labantu, which now serves as an umbrella, funding and supporting over one thousand projects around South Africa that focus on building and maintaining sustainable development. They aid children, youth, adults, families, seniors and the disabled, supporting programs such as foster homes for orphans, food garden projects, home-based care training programs, youth life-skills programs, and training seniors to care for seniors.

Taken as a whole, Ikamva Labantu employs a novel and much needed strategy to tackling hunger in these impoverished townships, adopting a business model to focus on building social accountability. The trustees and Board of Directors are successful businessmen and women who bring corporate expertise to financial & management issues, including constantly auditing all funding.

As Ikamva Labantu states: “It is only by handing individuals control of their own lives that we can set them free to support themselves in a meaningful, sustainable way.” In other words, “Teach a man to fish…”