T H E
W A T E R B E R G
S T O R Y
Group Partners is very proud to promote the tireless work of this community and the approach they are taking to effect social change. Over the last 6 years our involvement has evolved from somewhat opportunistic assistance to strategic commitment. The stories that we tell here are stories about people we now know well, who we consider true friends and partners in our quest to change the way people think and work. There is no way to tell such a multi-dimensional story and do it true justice in a linear narrative but we hope that the structure we have adopted will give you a sense of the many dimensions that this work covers.
We believe all leaders and teams, all over the world, could learn much from the way this community is creating its own version of the future.
It’s a journey that continues and will do so for many years to come. This is a story about challenges that most of us never have to tackle, and yet these challenges share some very familiar traits – just like any ‘quest’ we undertake they demand certain qualities and traits, and just like any complex issue they require a clear purpose, open minds and a commitment to do the right thing.
How To Start? Stories like this are the hardest to tell... There are often high degrees of emotion and as a result objectivity and valuable insight can be lost Telling important stories can often be deliberately light hearted and we risk being accused of trivialising the subject Make the commentary too clinical and human stories lose the impact that are so vital to convey
There is a visual map at the end of the opening section that illustrates the â€˜entangledâ€™ nature of the challenges faced by the community and the way that the various projects add their contribution to tackling some of the hardest problems known to humanity. We hope you enjoy the experience and that you take away a sense of what is possible with an open, appropriate mindset and approach. John Caswell and Hazel Tiffany
Make it all too complex and readers are overwhelmed with the enormity and difficulty of it all And in an effort to make it simple and we miss the important dynamics and interrelationships that are so vital to its resolution.
1 The stories you will read demonstrate at many levels how these platforms are given the attention and energy that contributes significantly to the many success stories that have resulted.
The Living System – this is how we describe the natural and manmade elements that make up the system we are trying to balance and improve. 3
Resilience In A ‘Social’ Sense
Anyone who has read ‘The Practice of Resilience’ will know that we promote five key platforms. They are at the heart of any business that aims to achieve and sustain the kind of adaptability and relevance they always say they are looking for. A social community is no different – the same five platforms apply just as much here, we have just altered the language slightly to make them less ‘corporate’ and more ‘human’. We believe passionately that business would be in much better shape if it also adopted this way of thinking. (But one step at a time!)
The Dynamics – that affect this community – these are the important influences and characteristics that impact life in this region.
3 Responsible Stewardship – to ensure we are creating the fundamental foundations and sustainable models for continued improvement.
4 The Commitment – passion and energy of the stakeholders of this community – their contribution and participation in it all as well as the very unique perspectives that have come together in support of common causes.
5 Taking Insight from Experience – in a way that teaches those within the community to develop a better life for themselves and makes it possible to share this knowledge with other communities – and organisations at all levels – so that the lessons learned here can be leveraged by others.
First a brief introduction to the area within the Waterberg, Limpopo â€“ one that sets the scene for everything that follows.
We have grown to love this part of South Africa and to consider it our extended home. Despite its many challenges, itâ€™s impossible not to be moved by the natural beauty of this still largely undiscovered part of the country.
WELCOME TO THE
The Waterberg So – imagine this scenario You live in a small township in the Limpopo province. A township in the main town in the area – Vaalwater. Many homes around you are single-room dwellings with the most basic of facilities. Everyone in your township is infected or affected by HIV and AIDs. Job opportunities are limited, skills are not easily acquired, not everyone shares the same motivation to find work.What work can be found is largely unskilled.
At the risk of starting off with undue complexity, what we are talking about here are many systems – and systems within systems – that interconnect in different ways depending on what perspective you wish to understand it from. In this section we describe the various systems and their dynamics and variables, and we’ll touch on the important connections between them. As we break out into specific stories you will see those connections come to life more meaningfully and get a real sense of the energy of the stakeholders, contributors and the approach that they are taking.
Teenage pregnancy numbers are high and drug & alcohol abuse are the norm. Serious and physical abuse and rape is common. There are significant divides between members of the community.
Why would anyone want to live in that environment?
OK, there may be some mitigating factors, but how do you reconcile the extremes? so far we have described a place that’s great to visit if you have money or fine to live in if you happen to have a job and a stable home life.
Let’s add a little more context: This is an area rich in biodiversity. It is free from malaria, there is natural beauty all around you – part of the Waterberg is already designated a biosphere Not far from here are some private game lodges with quality game viewing and experiences of true nature Many species of flora and fauna inhabit this area This is one of the few remaining homes to a rapidly reducing and highly vulnerable population of Rhino – in the world
A microcosm of unquestionable magic despite unbelievable challenges â€“ unfathomable to most of us but to this community it is life.
The children always wave as we pass them by They are full of smiles that would melt most hearts There are young men who have turned down better opportunities to remain working in this community People have given up â€˜prior livesâ€™ and much better living conditions to dedicate themselves to this community
This is a community that doesnâ€™t look for excuses or adopt a victim mentality. This community recognises its challenges and takes responsibility for them.
That magic exists primarily because: There is a critical mass of people that care and work hard to do the right thing There are some valuable assets in the surrounding environment People can see the potential that exists There is huge energy, belief & positivity People are united through common purpose that transcends individual agenda or motivation
And there are those in this community who genuinely care about the underlying system and its dynamics rather than merely trying to address the effects. As a result we are starting to get a very real sense of how change happens and dreams can be realised. Anyone wanting to achieve lasting change will find many lessons that can be learned from the work here.
The stories that follow cover a number of initiatives that between them tackle some of the most challenging social issues...
The Waterberg Over the last six years we have seen first hand just how powerful belief and determination combined with support and empowerment can be.
Violence Vulnerability Ignorance
We have seen lives change, we have seen the improvements in peopleâ€™s lives and the way that this has enriched the community as a whole. These stories should inspire anyone â€“ individual, community or enterprise. Indeed anyone who is seeking meaning and better outcomes and believes in the power of the collective to solve societal challenges.
Superstition Sickness Unemployment Hopelessness
We are very proud to tell the stories of the community of Vaalwater in the Waterberg biosphere of Limpopo.
Like many things that get explained in documents it’s really hard to do justice to them – you need to witness all of this first hand to fully appreciate the work being done. We have been very privileged to have done just that and will do our best to bring our experiences to life.
In the near future we will be offering our clients the opportunity to create their own experience with the chance to visit the area for customised ‘retreats’ – opportunities to rediscover core values and learn from people in very different circumstances – they have a lot to teach us and we’d like to think that business has much to offer in return. 12
Ladies With Mission
The Waterberg Community
terberg Welfare Society
Institute Of Rhino Cryogenetics
The Waterberg Biosphere
The Waterberg Welfare Society (WWS) Long before our paths crossed concerned members of Vaalwater along with socially minded individuals elsewhere – were starting to put their shared energy into the growing HIV/AIDS crisis in the area. The small rural town of Vaalwater – the only town in this region – has suffered more than its fair share when it comes to the disease. Within Vaalwater is a Township called Lesadeng. It happens to sit along the route to and from other African countries – a significant dynamic in this context as this disease was introduced largely through the attentions of the passing lorry drivers. WWS s t a r t ed o ut with the intention of raising awareness of the illness and in doing so changing perceptions, breaking down barriers and removing myths. Everything was designed to encourage the vulnerable and the responsible to understand how to minimise and live with the effects and consequences of the disease and 15
how it can be avoided. Not only was the problem widespread – it was compounded by a lack of understanding and appreciation of those supposedly in a position to act, and by superstition and beliefs – that viewed this illness as a curse, a punishment for those who had not lived their lives according to the values and beliefs of the community. It is worth stressing that as well as suffering from a devastating HIV/Aids epidemic, many parts of South Africa are also starved of critical human and financial resources and suffering extreme isolation. Imagine the feeling of hopelessness – alone often in the crowd, no role models, boundaries, choices being made with dangerous consequences. No life skills and for many not only being emotionally isolated but in rural areas of Limpopo geographically isolated from basic education, utilities, radio or TV.
The combination of beliefs, values and attitudes, with the lack of opportunity led to some serious consequences that introduce dynamics beyond the stigma and implications of the disease itself: A growing number of orphans as children lose their parents to the illness Guardians who had no idea how to respond to the situation and so don’t even tell the children that their parent/s have died – or that they themselves are infected – leaving the issues dormant and making them someone else’s problem – and that includes those who may now become infected themselves as a result A youth with no strong moral awareness or sense of responsibility Exploitation of the vulnerable who simply wanted the simple pleasures of life – that we take for granted – and had only one way to pay for those pleasures Apathy regarding the surrounding environment – what interest would there be for people who could barely make ends meet? Responsibilities thrust onto those who should be focusing on their education and development. Leading to overwhelming demands and pressures 17
And yet the majority do possess a mobile phone – it is their most important possession and it connects them to the things they care most about – while potentially providing them a window on a world that is neither real or within their grasp...
The starting point was all about creating awareness and that meant a few things: Recognition of the issues Understanding the facts and dispelling the myths Creating belief that being HIV Positive was not a death sentence â€“ that there could be a quality of life that could be achieved Removing the stigma associated with being HIV positive
The hard work had begun...
By any definition this is a wicked problem but donâ€™t make the mistake of classing it as irretrievable
The Waterberg Welfare Society (WWS) 18
The Waterberg Welfare Society (WWS)
It started in very modest circumstances and grew in line with the changes that occurred and the needs that emerged. A great parallel with the way nature evolves, a model started to take shape. What began as primarily communication gradually shifted to practical care. That care has taken many forms as the WWS took shape. Each new initiative responds in its own way to the shared purpose of helping this community to thrive.
From the WWS perspective From the WWS perspective this this means: means: Knowing your status â€“ always Having a strong support network to turn to in difficult times Access to vital medical care Setting positive examples of responsible behaviour Spreading the word and engaging others
You have to create trust so that people will open up and accept your help You have to preserve dignity and self-respect The power of Stepping Forward is that it reaches out to the community,
This is a vital moment and having the Mobile Clinic available to provide immediate counselling (as well as testing) can make a huge difference – in particular when it comes to that individual following up with treatment and in so doing changing behaviour.
F WAR OR
Asking someone to take responsibility for knowing their status may sound like plain common sense but you need to put yourself into the heads and lives of
You have to create belief that this is not an immediate death sentence
An integral part of WWS, the mobile clinic can reach those who need it - to offer testing services, counselling and transport for those in need of more intensive help from the hospice.
You have to create awareness and recognition that this is important
in environments that are familiar – on home ground. And it comes complete with the support network to back it up when the news that is dreaded becomes real – that you are indeed HIV positive.
WWS Mobile Clinic
the people being asked to understand the challenges this brings – and it is much more than simply the fear of discovery.
The themes of Prevention, Awareness, Access and Empowerment run through all of the work – some notable initiatives include:
IS A STEP FORWARD
The Waterberg Welfare Society (WWS)
One example of how WWS has been able combine community awareness, responsibility and wellbeing is in its provision of opportunities for playing a variety of different sports such as soccer, lacrosse and basketball. Not only are these readily welcomed by the local community they are also an ideal time to mobilise people to find out their HIV status while doing something unrelated in a neutral environment. The main WWS journey has now been visualised three times, each one picking up on the last. This means we worked on the ground to literally tell the story together with them directly on the walls of the facility. A tapestry of their incredible work over time.
Stepping Forward is much more than simply a means to persuade people to know their status. It provides a community focus – this includes education, it teaches critical life skills and promotes quality living. And it is blessed with the most inspirational of ambassadors in July Letsebe – who knows all too well the challenges and stigmas of HIV and the potential to overcome it and lead a quality life if only treatment and advice is followed. July was close to death when he was finally carried to WWS, now he represents enormous hope for the future and is the best evidence of all to demonstrate the value in Stepping Forward. A visit to WWS is never the same if we don’t get to see July! 21
We now have a story that starts with the beginnings in that first hut and over the years as we’ve listened to their experiences and ambitions we’ve translated the key points in a way that has given the community a tool for engagement. It’s a story that has lived on the walls at WWS and taken visitors and investors on that journey and helped them to appreciate the need for such work and the vital contributions needed to continue it. Our latest visit in 2013 brought this story up to date and signals an important stage in the evolution of WWS. This amazing organisation is reaching a new maturity and level of strategic thinking. Our last conversations were focused on the ways this work could now be scaled and repeated so that others could leverage the expertise and best practices that have been developed and we have explored ways and opportunities for the creation of a vehicle for others to adopt a similar approach.
The WWS Hospice While the primary role of WWS is prevention and awareness it still provides critical medical care to those who need it. The emphasis is changing to some degree as the authorities start to take more responsibility locally but it will be some time before patients no longer need to come to the hospice for day care, to receive vital respite and to help them recover more quickly in the early days of their treatment. And for some it is simply a more dignified and caring way for them to face the inevitable. What started in a small hut in the town of Vaalwater has grown into a key hub of this community. There are now many aspects to WWS and all of them have emerged in response to a need within the community that was not being fulfilled by the authorities – because the authorities were simply not equipped to provide the services and support that people needed. We like to think of WWS as an incubation hub - a place where ideas are given life, where people can create opportunity and magic can genuinely happen.
To date, the WWS list of To date, WWS achievements achievements include: include: Establishing a firm foundation in terms of their organisational structure, principals, operating and monitoring systems from which to build and develop our future objectives Providing prevention and awareness workshops to approx. 15,000 individuals within the community target group and providing access to Voluntary Counselling and Testing for HIV/AIDs Providing Access to HIV treatment and management (including provision of ARV Medication) Acquiring, equipping and piloting a mobile clinic from which the WWS can operate a complete HIV treatment programme to the surrounding rural farms and communities Providing a comprehensive care plan to registered patients and OVCs; in situ, counselling and HIV/AIDs support groups. Registered member of the Hospice and Palliative Care Association Building a drop-in centre for orphans & vulnerable youth (Timothy House) on site in Vaalwater Gender Sensitive Youth Programmes (Boys2Men) Waterberg Waves Radio/Recording Studio Dumela Income Generating Vegetable Garden
We are also seeing another significant milestone as the local health services start to take responsibility for the health of those in need â€“ responsibility for the provision of essential medical treatment is gradually shifting from WWS to government, freeing the team at WWS to focus on their core mission while remaining a valued partner. A great example of public/private collaboration is emerging and another that many organisations could learn from. As referenced in the WWS achievements, a number of projects have now evolved from these foundations. They are impressive in many ways and provide excellent examples of collaboration, holistic thinking, local empowerment and ownership. Through these projects people of all ages are rethinking behaviours and attitudes and this is leading to new opportunities as energies are redirected into study or work. We continue with some specific WWS stories related to those projects that bring to life the power of belief and commitment and show just how change can happen, despite huge adversity.
The Waterberg Welfare Society (WWS)
Giving The Youth A Voice & Hope Timothy House is a kind of collective ‘umbrella’ programme for the youth of this community. It is an incubator for the younger generation to create projects and a life support system for young vulnerable children. It is managed by our great friend ’Zach’. Having established a strong foundation that addressed physical and immediate physical and emotional needs, thoughts turned to more sustainable solutions – and attention moved to the next generation – those that represented the first ones who could actually change the dynamics for the future. Under this umbrella programme a number of inspirational projects have developed and our stories start with a selection of them... 25
BOND FOR LIFE
Boys2Men It started with the boys, often forgotten but whose behaviour had a huge influence in so many things. They were given their own identity in the form of a club – Boys2Men, an inspired title for a group of boys who championed a new ‘attitude’ – to responsibility, to sex, to treatment of girls, to right and wrong. And possibly most importantly in the early days, this club created a safe place to talk and to share fears and challenges with peers who would genuinely understand the issues faced – a group of young men who could support each other through difficult times.
This was a significant step towards empowering a community and creating the conditions for change to happen naturally The boys didn’t let their sponsors down. The first group are now young men who have ‘graduated’ this most vital of ‘academies’. Some now work for WWS, others have gone on to further education – most are still an integral part of the alumni.
Just a few of their highlights...
The Waterberg Waves
V WA ES
This is no amateur endeavour. These boys are producing their own music, developing stories and designing programmes. A great combination of entertainment and social networking for good.
A community radio station that will shortly obtain a license to broadcast, connecting up more members if the community and reaching other boys in need of support and a place to belong.
Satellite B2M Clubs Such is the success of this first case that outlying areas are asking how they can have their own club. So now the boys are learning to be designers and advisers. They are teaching others how to set up a B2M group. They maybe haven’t heard the expressions – ‘scale’, ‘repeatability’, ‘franchise’, they don’t need what is now overused jargon and consulting speak in the West - it’s simply the right thing to do and so they are doing it in the best way they can, when they can. A number of the boys started out coming to Timothy House to get away from their world for a while and to share fears and uncertainties with others going through the same experiences. They are now working at WWS and helping others in their turn...
Not Just Soccer A board game that is designed around a football pitch – every boys passion and favourite sport. But the game has a very different context after that. In this game questions are asked as you make your way across the pitch and the answers come from anyone who can offer insight and perspective.
These are questions that break your heart to read. They are all based on real situations that no child should be faced with and yet each one hides a true story for one or more of these boys. Through this game they get the answers they desperately need but struggle to ask for. And still they managed to make it entertaining and something others are willing to join in. 28
Not Forgetting The Girls What better time to extend focus to the girls than when the world is waking up to the idea that women have a lot to offer in our new systems and models. And to be clear â€“ this is no pitch for a revival of womenâ€™s lib. This is another case of integrative approaches. Everyone has something to offer and together is way better â€“ but it was important that the girls first established their own identity.
And So ‘Ladies With Mission’ Was Born Where B2M was well firmed when we came in the scene, LWM was in its very early stages – a definite intention with some views on what it meant, but definitely a work in progress. It’s important to appreciate we are talking about a community that perceives girls to often be more a possession than individuals in their own right. To boys they are sex objects, to parents they are an additional pair of hands, to orphaned siblings they are mother, sister, aunt. And through all of this they desperately struggle to make time for an education that for most are never fulfilled. Most probably many don’t even dream of a future beyond marriage and security.
Until Now That Is Over three consecutive days we witnessed a group of (mostly) teenage girls grow – in confidence, in belief, in creativity and in self awareness. It’s hard to compare the feelings of pride and respect that we all experienced in those days. We have seen all kinds of organisations defeated by challenges that are almost trivial by comparison – and mostly self-made.
Not These Girls On the final day they stood up in front of a selection of boys – the same boys who have grown up believing the man is the head of the house, the man makes the decisions, the man solves the problems – and they proudly and confidently presented their framework.
We Didn’t Really Know What To Expect Next To be honest we probably didn’t think very deeply about the implications of what was unfolding at the time – until the boys responded. In hindsight this was a critical moment for the girls. What emerged went way beyond anyone’s expectations. Firstly it’s fair to say that the initial reaction was one of complete surprise. Gradually each boy present found their voice and was able to share their feelings about what they had heard. 31
Bravo Finius! If Only We Had Captured Your Speech We have enormous hope for the girls, they have a lot of genuinely good ideas and some can start to be actioned very quickly. They have plans for their own game – a game that can be played with the boys as well, so that they can hear each others perspectives and solve problems together. The boys even helped them start the design process – well they are still boys, and boys will not change completely!
There Was A Common Theme And Pattern Surprise at the confidence that the girls displayed – followed soon after by genuine and warm respect for what they had done. At the same time there were definitely some new sensations and feelings being experienced – were girls trying to take over as the head of the household? Why were we, as the men and head of the family, not sorting these things out?
Then the pride came – pride in their girls, and a heartfelt commitment to support them. And just when we thought it couldn’t be more moving one of the boys made a declaration that we can only hope will spread – he suddenly saw a new attraction in girls – not just as a target for sex, he looked at these girls and discovered that their minds and thoughts could also be attractive, that these were girls whose company he would enjoy.
We leave the girls with much to move on with: A girls taxi company A coffee shop A cultural centre A beauty salon A safety network (think neighborhood watch)
And both the boys and girls have a wonderful gift of a house, a place that they will be responsible for, that they will share together and create a place of safety and possibility – it’s going to be called LIYA House and we can’t wait to see it. 32
The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve In the scenario we painted earlier we mentioned certain aspects of the natural environment, one that potentially faces an uncertain future and those who care are finding that, more and more, they are competing for attention against the more â€˜humanâ€™ issues that need help and support.
In many situations it has become a binary debate – people either fight for their environment or for the welfare of their community – as if it is possible to make such a choice.
In the Waterberg, at least in that part of it we have been working, there is a much more systemic approach to dealing with the challenges of the region. It’s not universal of course and not everyone has totally bought into the ‘model’ – but there are enough people seeking to address problems in a holistic manner. And the result is an integrative approach to problem solving. (One that the Rotman Business School would be proud of.) In the case of the Waterberg we will include some aspects of sustainability that touch on the surrounding areas. There are so many dimensions to this that we know we will not do it justice, but we hope to create enough interest that readers will feel compelled to find out more. Our stories of the natural environment will cover the ambitions and challenges in maintaining an area that has won the classification of a Biosphere as well as one particular wildlife related challenge facing this country – not just the Waterberg – thanks to a very inhuman business that is growing out of control – that of the poaching (and therefore slaughter) of rhino for their horns.
Nurturing The Living System In our most recent visits to the area we have embraced this new environmental thread in our work and have extended our conversations and support to the work that has been underway for some time now on the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve.
Already recognised by UNESCO, the area of the Waterberg awarded this status is about to extend significantly and the project is being used to create more opportunity for those calling this place home. And in that we are referring to all forms of life, not just humanity. There is a beautiful synergy between the Biosphere Reserve and the work of WWS, and not just because their networks are closely connected and already highly supportive of each other. We are always delighted to hear our clients talk in their own language about the idea of operating as a living system as this is something we promote a lot these days.
Extending our involvement in the Waterberg has given us a very welcome opportunity to get inside the complexity and dynamics of a real living system with all its complexity – and authenticity – and to be a part of the discussions and shaping of strategic direction for how to really bring this to life in a variety of ways.
The ambitions of the pioneers of this programme are immense and far-reaching They also require the commitment of a diverse group of people who are certainly not all motivated by the same thing – beyond wanting the best opportunities. All too often what one person or group wants has an adverse impact on another. The reality is far from that simple – if ever there was a study in dynamics, implications and unintended consequences – this is a master class!
It is not a challenge that lacks clarity, information or intellectual horsepower but what it does lack at this stage is active participation and recognition. Awareness, education and engagement are vital. And once attention has been grabbed and more stakeholders mobilised and participating, some kind of unifying model is needed to keep everything as connected as possible so that we don’t lose the very principles that earn this region its status. Most importantly, this has to be done without creating some bureaucratic machine that repeats the mistakes of many large complex organisations across the world. A lot can be done when people spend quality time together and focus on a specific question. A number of key stakeholders in the community – people with very real interest in the future of the Waterberg – gave up one of their Saturdays to start what we hope will be the first of many such conversations.
It Was A Fascinating And Inspiring Day So much that could be done and in ways that create so much more for the people of this area. What is now needed is collaboration of the highest order and that will only come about when we are able to tell this story in sufficiently different ways that it will appeal to all the Waterberg’s inhabitants – as well as some who are essential for the success of this venture but who live further away.
The first task is to develop the messages and stories that will make others want to join us on this journey. We are beginning that by giving a stronger identity to the Biosphere – one that will become synonymous with living systems and the future for thriving communities – and like WWS we hope that the model that we have started to imagine here will have merit elsewhere, not just in the management and care of other Biosphere projects but in business as well. When you strip out the basic principles and dynamics this is something we could all benefit from. Staying connected is powerful in so many ways. We had one great example of this in our Biosphere session that is worth highlighting here for its very simplicity – and the significance of the connection once made.
were able to see through his eyes and were fascinated and – we believe – humbled. The big insight for everyone, particularly those in business and a little further removed from the township, was that they really didn’t know what people thought. It had a profound impact on the discussion and could so easily have been missed had Zach not spoken up. One of the members of this group was our friend Zach – a veteran of our process! He was the only member of this group who really understood how the feeling ran out in the township – a vital part of this community and one in most need of opportunity. There was genuine bemusement (I think that is the right word) in the lack of interest shown in the job opportunities that were actually out there and being turned down.
How easy it should be for us to simply share perspective, and yet, how hard it is in reality.
The group’s logic was that surely any job is worth having and therefore minds were made up as to the intention and motivation of those rejecting what was perceived as a lifeline – until Zach explained the realities from another perspective. It was a simple and authentic explanation – he simply told it as it really is, what life is really like. Suddenly the group
Now we have the beginnings of a connected network of initiatives working in close harmony with shared purpose â€“ the wellbeing of all who live within a community.
The Power Of Connection We have almost certainly only scratched the surface of what is going on in the Waterberg and we know that not everything joins up as much as it could â€“ but the foundations are there and the leaders in these initiatives are more aligned than many successful businesses in the western world.
Inspiration Driven It is hard to imagine anyone visiting – even briefly – and not being inspired by the people who represent WWS. Each of them has their own story to tell, some tell of very emotional and harrowing episodes, all are humbling. We feel extremely fortunate to be able to call these people our friends. In our work we help them to articulate their thoughts, hopes and concerns and to share their vision of the future and how they will contribute to it.
A Natural Evolution Our journey with our friends in the Waterberg will evolve and at this stage we have no idea exactly how. There are so many things we could imagine doing but we are learning that these things have to be allowed to emerge in good time. What we must be is alert and mindful of the dynamics and context so that we can respond in the most appropriate manner. When the time comes we will be ready.
In The Meantime And – for those interested in tackling deep systemic change – we are starting to capture the insights from the patterns and clues littered throughout this document to help us to continue to develop our Practice and embed our learning into our frameworks and tools.
So – How does change happen in a complex situation? We see it happen through: Understanding the local dynamics Knowing what is possible and when the time is right Helping people to help themselves Always being mindful of the big picture Being ready to spot the results and opportunities Having passion and empathy Seeing the connections Believing in people Allowing mistakes to be made
A Magic Wand If we could wave a magic wand we would do a lot more for these people and this community than you can see in these pages. Over recent years few projects have returned so much to our hearts and minds and rewarded us in ways that a commercial relationship seldom does. We hope you see things in this work that inspire you to want to help too. There are limits to how much any organisation can do and also thereâ€™s an inescapable dynamic in our world that means we have to balance commercial reality with social conscience.
So If We Could Wave That Magic Wand And Persuade You To ‘Invest’ Along With Us? Think of the following three ideas as mutually beneficial; propositions designed to help you at the same time as solving some of the wicked problems that we all want to see the back of. Directly benefiting you and your organisation through a completely different perspective and mindset – truly learning and really solving these challenging problems.
Leadership/Team Retreats Imagine being able to spend real quality time reconnecting with purpose and ambition and being able to completely switch thinking and perspective to clear minds and come up with new opportunities.
Business/Social Partnerships Imagine the impact on your reputation from connecting your business to a specific need related to one or more of these challenges and using your skills and influence to open doors and break down barriers.
Sponsorships Imagine your workforce sponsoring a particular cause on behalf of you company and reigniting their passion – in a way that flowed back into their daily work.
...And Finally We really hope that we’ve managed to transfer just a little of our passion to you through telling these stories. At heart we hope that via this medium we might find ways of creating additional opportunity to help this community. Group Partners are completely committed to this work. We will continue to provide services to the community wherever and however we can. This is a part of our stated strategy as a business and a next step in our own evolution. It is integral to our social manifesto and as you can see we’ve been thinking a lot about how value could be exchanged between the business world and communities such as this one.
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firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com mary@.waterbergwelfaresociety.org.za www.waterbergwelfaresociety.org.za