From COVID19 relief to economic recovery: what is ahead for marginalised communities?

President Ramaphosa’s warning of the end of COVID19 relief grants puts community organisations on high alert. The bigger their role in helping the desperate, the more critical the need for donor support.

While the COVID19 pandemic has claimed 47,000 lives in South Africa, the many more it has left on the margins of the economy face a bleak future. The much-awaited COVID19 vaccination programme offers hope. But for communities facing the country’s huge social challenges – not least inequality, poverty and unemployment – it is clear that the shift from relief to recovery will take a lot more than this.

Community-based organisations are the backbone to social change and humanitarian relief. Their proximity to communities and the trust that many enjoy makes them well-suited vehicles for promoting health and development initiatives. This work is relevant today as the effects of the COVID19 pandemic continue to have a negative impact on poor people, with community organisations at the coalface of mitigation efforts.

At Hlanganisa Institute for Development Southern Africa, we work with community-based organisations operating across the country. With our funders and partners, we have over the years channeled over R130 million to thousands of organisations to grow their work and to build their strength and sustainability.

For South Africa to begin the recovery process, we need all hands on deck. As special relief grants come to an end, for example, corporate South Africa has a huge role to play. Companies through their CSI funding can support communities through using grassroots organisations to get much needed socio-economic relief and information to communities.

Hlanganisa provides a vehicle through which funding can be targeted at communities most in need, efficiently and with transparent processes. Our COVID19 relief fund channels resources to communities most in need, supported by a range of partners. This allows corporates to invest in communities more strategically and using the wealth of experience that we have in working with these entities, building their resilience in mitigating the impact of COVID19.

Bongi Ndondo

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