After a number of years of staff stability we have now had some changes. At the end of May 2016 we say good-bye to Madalitso Mtine who had been with us for 8 years. Mada will take a position of Programme Manager at ESSET in Johannesburg. We are very sad to bid farewell to Mada.
What do we do with excess produce from our gardens? The Hlakaniphani Widows Group in Trustfeed invited their peers in the Food Justice Collective to join them for a workshop on making jam and fresh juice from excess produce from their gardens.
PACSA hosted a film festival as part of the Happy Earth Festival which takes place annually at the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens. Now in its 4th year, the Happy Earth Festival focuses on environmental education from eco-systems to experiential learning and the value and complexity of nature. It is an Environmental Education platform for teachers, students and the interested public. About 1,300 people attended the 2 days festival.
Over the past month, in addition to the numerous media engagements, we made presentations on food price affordability at a seminar organised by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape; at the Association for Dietetics in SA conference in Durban; and at the OXFAM SA drought research workshop hosted by the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA) in Pietermaritzburg.
As the El Nino weather pattern challenges southern Africa, what is the role of churches in helping people realize their right to food and livelihood?
South Africa has one of the highest inequalities ratios and this is reflected in the wages that most workers in South Africa take home. The median wage, in 2014 figures, was R3033 per month and then 50% of all workers earned less that the median. The question of a national minimum wage and the level at which such a minimum should be set is therefore one of the most contested policy discussion in South Africa today.
The cost of the PACSA food basket increased by 14.5% (R237) year-on-year, from R1 632.85 in March 2015 to R1 869.39 in March 2016. The impact of the drought on the food baskets of low-income households emerged strongly from November 2015: over the last five months food price inflation increased by 13.4% or R221 (see Figure 1).
Reflecting on the changing nature of our context and who we are and how we act in this context is a regular feature of PACSA’s organisational learning rhythm. In early March we spend two days on such reflection and were joined on the first day by Ariane Gruszczynski and Anke Schünemann from Bread for the World, one of our partner organisations. Two case studies were presented as part of our action-reflection. One case dealt with PACSA’s practise in working with local government and the other case addressed the difficult question of how an NGO should act in spaces designed to surface the voices of community groups.