13 March 2009

A Triangle of Partnerships

A triangle of networking and relationships for progress and development of the Western World, South Africa and Southern Africa can be recognized to benefit all corners of the triangle. The following benefits result:
  1. Southern Africa can execute indigenous ways of developing, which includes breeding new developments from within existing communities in an culturally adapt manner;
  2. South Africa can support neighboring communities with resources and understanding of the African environment, being able to build and facilitate bridges between first and third world environments, relational and rational environments, and horizontal and vertical development approaches.
  3. The Western World can support in culturally adapt development; visit African settings in an appropriate manners, and report on progress in a western culture adapt fashion.

Recognized issues of availability of empowered local leadership, holistic/horizontal approaches including aspects of health (hiv/aids), education, and communities play pivotal roles. Cross pollination of all parties by building multicultural (electronic) community exchange of mature concepts and ideas between the corners of the triangle grows mutual respect and understanding.

Focus on Getting It Done
Africa and the development world has seen many meetings, conferences, and other well-meant discussions passing without them leading to sustainable actions and progress. Now we can build upon a number of exiting and existing projects that are alive and kicking today, often build up in adverse circumstances, having stand the test of time and often well regarded in their respective communities.

Currently we witness a unique time of opportunities. South Africa can show an impressive list of practical work done in township and rural communities, over a period of many decennia in South Africa. Such has been done using indigenous South African resources, often aided with funding from oversees donors over an extended period of time.

Secondly, a large array of relationships are developed and developing with great potential for further growth. These relationships contain those focussed on using resources to getting the job done, and those with focus on participating and empowering those who get the job done, which often are the people in the areas of development themselves.

Developments in Macha, in the rural area of Southern Province in Zambia, have been interesting to national and foreign visitors. Zambia’s Vice-President opened Vision Community Center that did boast over 10 interdependent units, acting as an innovation hub in the rural area. Infrastructure development like those transport, communications, and energy are tackled in a manner empowering all in the local rural community, and supporting multiplication and growth beyond the rural Macha area, and is recognized by national government and the regulator. One of the projects, LinkNet – empowering rural communities including health and education institutions, by building and maintaining internet service provisioning - has branched out to other rural communities. A change process is defined, and a large and growing multifaceted array of partners in these developments is established.

In the West a conglomerate of institutions, private individuals recognize the unique situation at hand. Social venturing investments are made cautiously, with donor organizations empowering projects to grow beyond their current status, which ironically were most often implemented without institutional donor funding. Professional organizations in the West and South Africa are becoming aware of their own capabilities and resource for supporting developments in Africa, in their strive for global social responsibility and study of emerging markets.

All these developments are more and more supported by visionary, holistic, and inspired leadership on grassroot and national level, which is striving for culturally adapt management of programs, projects and resources. With the further emerging of transport and communication possibilities and resources at all corners of the triangle new ways of interaction and cross pollination of leadership is available.

It needs to be recognized that change in the developed world will emerge mainly from urban areas, while in the (Southern) African setting real change can emanate out of rural areas. Thus activities on several levels must take place.

First of all, on grass root level, projects have to emerge that show the feasibility and sustainability of progress in Africa. Concepts and activities as shown in Macha and (sub urban) South Africa must be guarded, nurtured and multiplied, going from ‘proof of concept’ via ‘proof of reproduction’ to ‘proof of production’.

Funding, Research, and Organization
In all corners of the triangle there is a growing understanding that current mechanisms of funding often do not align with the realities at grassroots level. African knowledge and growing understanding of the value of cultural diversity must lead to consideration of proposals for trust-based funding schemes, including output target funding.

Reviewing actual and sustainable projects established on the ground in Zambia and South Africa will show feasibility of a new approach, closely guided by experts from many nations. Existing and new relationships will act in benchmarking and active monitoring of the program and projects taking into account ethical and managerial frameworks.

Applied and fundamental research is encouraged in further understanding the ethical and African paradigms, cultural ingredients, and actual physics needed in African (rural) environments.