Engineering consultant Zutari and the Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire (Bakwena) recently collaborated in developing the Bafenyi ka Bakwena Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Project. The community development programme aims to position the N4 as an asset to the surrounding community, promoting new enterprise development opportunities and a better quality of life.
“Using the ABCD method, a community can develop networks, discover assets and use these to identify and start small- and large-scale initiatives for the benefit of the whole community, with a view to sustainable long-term empowerment,” explains Amelia Visagie, communication and stakeholder engagement manager at Zutari.
The ABCD methodology also enables Bakwena to communicate proactively with the impacted communities, entering into a participative relationship. The project kicked off with various engagements with community leadership structures and organisations. This was in partnership with government representatives to negotiate alignment with the larger development goals in the region. A total of 15 community ‘champions’ were selected on a volunteer basis to represent five wards in the Rustenburg area.
The champions were trained in the ABCD methodology through an initial five-day workshop and received life-skills training in subsequent monthly workshops. The champions were responsible for disseminating ABCD information in their communities by hosting workshops, holiday programmes and engaging with community members. The initiative started gaining momentum as early adopters of the ABCD process and the champions themselves started small-scale community projects. These relate to agriculture, maintenance and making and distributing sanitisers and masks to community members to ensure they comply with the Covid-19 regulations.
The champions began a digital asset-mapping process to increase new project identification in communities when the nationwide lockdown was implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although they were no longer able to continue with face-to-face community engagements and projects, they continued engaging their communities on social media and other online platforms.