Reasons to hope

ON SATURDAY THE seventeenth, Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust celebrated its annual prizegiving in Cape Town’s City Hall.

The trust was set up in the late 1990s to promote innovation and excellence in service delivery and poverty alleviation. It awards prizes every year to innovative projects run either by NGOs, the public sector or public-private partnerships. The prize money is to be used by recipients to publicise their projects to encourage replication of the projects countrywide.

During 2006 some remarkable projects were unearthed by Impumelelo. The prizegiving was an eyeopener, revealing the hard work that South Africans are doing to make this nation truly a better place for all.

In her opening of the occasion, Mayor of Cape Town, Helen Zille, remarked that there were comparatively few prizewinners from government and the public sector. How true. It is unfortunate that bureaucracy can stifle change and innovation, providing little incentive for civil servants to be imaginative.

From the prizegiving it is evident that South Africa has the solutions to our seemingly insurmountable challenges but for us to succeed as a nation, those solutions need to be implemented on a massive scale. This can only be achieved through commitment and support from government.

Five projects were awarded platinum awards:

Dance for All which teaches hundreds of previously disadvantaged kids ballet, traditional African and contemporary dance. Established in Gugulethu fifteen years ago, Dance For All now has classes in Stand, Montagu, Robertson and teaches 280 kids in Barrydale.

Mariannhill Landfill Conservancy, set up by the e’Thekwini Municipality (Durban) in 1997, is a project that rehabilitates and protects the environment around the landfill. A nursery has been established, a wetland has been created and gas from the landfill is used to make electricity, earning the municipality R30 000 daily.

The Phelophepa Health Train, a partnership between the Department of Health and the Transnet Foundation, provides healthcare to impoverished rural regions. So far it has treated 50 000 patients.

Mothers2Mothers is a network that provides support, counselling, education and advice to mothers and pregnant women who have HIV/Aids. The organisation operates in 65 sites in five South African provinces.

Sakhasonke Housing Initiative

This high-density housing initiative has built 337 quality yet low-cost double-storey semi-detached houses in a landscaped environment and close to amenities. It has provided homes for 2000 people in Port Elizabeth. Because it is in the vicinity of residential areas where many residents work as domestic workers, transport time and money is enormously reduced.

To read about the other winners, visit

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