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Johannesburg: Social Employment Fund Close-Out Ceremony Celebrates Transformative Impact on Horticultural Value Chain

18 June 2024 | Johannesburg, South Africa]: Solidaridad, in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), is proud to announce the successful conclusion of the Social Employment Fund (SEF) Project. A celebratory close-out ceremony – an event to which members of the press are invited to – will be held today, 18 June 2024 at Braampark Office Park, 33 Hoofd Street, Braampark, Johannesburg Braamfontein, South Africa to highlight the achievements and milestones of this transformative initiative. 

The SEF Project, focused on the horticultural value chain, has placed over 2,000 workers on farms across the Gauteng region for immersive learning experiences. These workers engaged in comprehensive activities including soil preparation, crop maintenance, and duteous record-keeping. 

“The SEF Project has truly revolutionized the horticultural sector by equipping workers with essential skills and knowledge. The positive impact on the livelihoods of these workers and the broader community is immeasurable. This initiative underscores Solidaridad’s commitment to sustainable development and empowerment through practical education. In addition to aiding in job creation, the project extended its services to over 1,300 farmers and 9,000 school learners through the establishment of school gardens,” says Mohau Mailula, Country Manager for South Africa at Solidaridad.

According to Mailula, the SEF Project has demonstrated the power of strategic partnerships in driving economic and social progress. The skills and experiences gained by the participants are said to have a lasting impact on their careers and the agricultural sector at large. “We are proud to have been part of this journey and look forward to witnessing the continued success of these graduates. As Solidaridad, we welcome partnerships with government, private sector, and other role players that can lead to constructive advancement of our people,” adds Mailula.

SEF Graduate Testimonials 

“I am a deaf farm worker and this project helped me overcome many challenges. I learned how to plant and have since received a SEF certificate. In future, I want to start my own business and go into the entrepreneurial stream. I did not know that farming had so many elements attached to it, but am now ready to take on the farming industry,” signs Faith Mola, SEF Graduate before praising the project for its inclusivity of all, including youth living with disabilities. 

Another project participant, Andries Kganyago, also shared his newfound appreciation for farming: “Before the extensive training by Solidaridad experts and mentors, we thought farming was only about planting and harvesting. We now know that one has to do soil testing, prepare the soil, maintain the crop, and work the land to get a bountiful harvest. We are very grateful to SEF – and this is the feedback from the other SEF Graduates as well. Continue to give hope to other unemployed youth so that they can have the skills, know-how and confidence to stand on their own.”

A reoccurring theme from the SEF Graduates was on how this project helped them to reassess traditional farming practices and latch on to greener, more fruitful methods. Mmabatho Mbola, was one to reflect on her experience in this regard: “I grew up in a family where farming was a big part of our livelihood. Back then, we just planted and saw things grow. Since becoming involved with the SEF project, I now know that one needs to do due diligence on soil preparation, pest control and so much more. The harvest is so much greater than when we just farmed for the sake of farming. I am very grateful to SEF and what you did for me. I am also thankful to my colleagues and team for pressing on. You made farming exciting, even for us as young people.”

The close-out ceremony does not only celebrate the achievements of the SEF Project, but also sets the stage for future initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable development in the agricultural sector. 

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