CABSA AGM 2017 - Asset - or Competence Based Community Development. 17/5/2017

Different stakeholders attended the recent CABSA Annual General Meeting held in Randburg at Fontainebleau Community Church, who hosts the CARIS offices. Those present included the Chairperson of CABSA’s Board, Ms Eulogia Murray, Director Lyn van Rooyen, CCoH Facilitators, Donors, CABSA Randburg staff, CABSA Wellington represented by Aneleh Fourie-Le Roux (Training Manager), Leaders form faith-based communities, beneficiaries and the community at large. As networking is one of CABSA’s key activities, the day started with guests being given time to chat over a cup of coffee and cake.

Different speakers lined up for the day, some who had joined CABSA a decade ago. Ms van Rooyen welcomed the guests, followed by one of the trained CCoH facilitators Pastor Mandla Zwane, who blessed the occasion with prayer and a message from John 11 verses 18-19.

The theme of the morning was asset- or competence community development and Lyn van Rooyen did not waste time to introduce the speakers

The first speaker was Janine Ward who is passionate about community development and as a young social worker implemented an Asset-Based Development programme in the rural town of Mafucula in Swaziland. She highlighted the challenges, experiences and lessons she learnt from her time in Mafucula: not forgetting the brick making project, construction of the a bridge in the area, vegetable garden and other income generating projects. Janine said; “I learnt that everyone can be successful only if we i) start where you are; ii) use what you have, and iii) do what you can.” Her later involvement with the Churches, Channels of Hope programme fit in well with this philosophy.

The second speaker was Schalk van Heerden, who contributed his life and time fighting for social justice; he heads the Safe South Africa’s Youth Zones. He reminded people how important Assest-Based Development is, but focused mainly on how faith-based communities’ need to decolonise their mindset to bring equality and social justice, without judging people in challenged communities (including those infected and affected by HIV/ AIDS). Schalk was very bold on the perceptions which people had over racial issues that are dividing the nation. He said, “Being born in a very Afrikaans family and community, decolonising my mindset was an important decision in life, because it helped me to see the good and learn from people of other races”. Schalk encouraged NGOs not to depend on donations from companies but rather be independent through income generating activities that encourage growth and sustainability. He concluded by saying, “Development is a not a job but it is a life-time thing”.

The next speaker was Dave Marokane, a young man who was born and raised in Limpopo and came to Diepsloot to start a new life with a bag of clothes and R 800.00 cash. He followed his dream, never looked down on himself and started an NGO for youth called Book Of Hope (BOH) based in Diepsloot. His journey with CABSA started in 2015, during the CCoH facilitator’s training in Germiston. He regards the training as a life changing moment, both for his church and personally. After the training, he was happy to take the initiative of CCoH to his church, New Life Ministries in Diepsloot, but received a negative response, because his pastors did not want to speak about anything to do with HIV/ AIDS. Dave said, “I approached the church to discuss issues around HIV/ AIDS and what ran into their minds was sex and they quickly criticized me. In response, I said to them show me your plan as a church in tackling HIV/ AIDS, for which I did not get a response”.  He was however able to convince his church to reverse its decisions and they allowed him to initiate HIV/ AIDS talks, where every Sunday after the main service there are discussions around HIV/ AIDS.

It would be impossible to leave the day without hearing from the woman who has been at the centre of CCoH training. Aneleh Fourie-Le Roux, CABSA’s training manager, has worked with CABSA for the past 12 years, and was one of the first trainees of the Churches Channels of Hope programme. She related how she developed the attitude and character to work with Christian based communities during her studies and after. From her experience and knowledge working with faith-based communities and CCoH, she expanded the idea of “Towards competency- recognising the significance of few loaves and fish”, the teaching Luke 9 verses 16 – 17. She encouraged faith leaders to ensure that they give comprehensive teachings on HIV/ AIDS in their faith-based communities. Aneleh highlighted that faith-based communities are often willing to care for people who are ill of AIDS but less confortable dealing with activities that will prevent the spread of HIV. She encouraged faith leaders to share and put into practice some of the principles of competency into their communities.

Lyn van Rooyen, the executive director, concluded the day by sharing the activities and events of 2016.  She took the opportunity to thank all the stakeholders for their support, which enabled CABSA to equip and support faithleaders to make a difference in communities that are affected by HIV or AIDS. After an overview of the statistics in South Africa, Lyn expressed the need for more involvement of the church in dealing with the challenges of HIV and informed the stakeholders of the impact CABSA had in faith-based communities.  She highlighted the following:

  • Training and mobilization has expanded in the previous year with 4 facilitators training held in Kenya, KZN and 2 in Gauteng. The past year has also seen the facilitation of at least 6 workshops with 138 participants and the launch of the Peer Educators’ Training in the Western Cape. 
  • The websites managed by CABSA (www.cabsa.co.za and www.thursdaysinblack.co.za) received a total of 217 822 visits, the Facebook pages had 1 676 likes and Twitter profiles have 752 followers. The subscriber base expanded and Weekle Bible Messages were sent to 1 080 subscribers.
  • Through the “Thursdays in Black” initiative, CABSA has managed to convey the message against sexual abuse and rape. Advocacy was further strengthened through “We Will Speak Out South Africa” (aimed at sexual violence), Transformative Justice Workshops and presentations at various conferences and events.
  • CABSA was the local host for interfaith activities at the International AIDS conference in Durban in 2016. Lyn said: “Our involvement included organising a two day interfaith preconference, an interfaith worshipservice, and a vibrant interfaith networking zone with a very active programme in the Global Networking zone.”

In closing, the chairperson reported on the changes to constitution; which were mainly the mission, vision, more details about the objectives, the roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors and the managing of “friends of CABSA”. “However though there are changes to the constitution, the heart of CABSA did not change - that is equipping faith communities with resources to bring transformation in a world with HIV/ AIDS”, Lyn said.

Guest were served a light lunch which gave time for further networking before the event was over.

                                                    

 

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