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Green Livelihoods

The second L is Livelihoods.

The focus continues to be the "green occupations" - blended with some basic Entrepreneurship training.

Unfortunately for school-leavers, the economy is still shedding jobs after 25 years of ANC rule.  The population is rising (and getting younger), while the number of jobs is decreasing.

For example, C4L has now trained 300 young women and men how to install Solar water heaters on the roofs of homes.  Switching over from elecrical geysers to Solar water heats could be seen as an act of patriotism, given the condition of Eskom.

This one small step for a house is also a huge step in terms of environmental impact.  Because to keep the water in every electrical geyser hot for one year consumes one ton of coal!

C4L also promotes:

  • Carbon forestry (i.e. growing Spekboom)
  • Nutrition and medicinal gardening (i.e. growing Tree Spinach)
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Recycling
  • Energy auditing

One exciting new business opportunity for Youth installers is also emerging in 2020 - the qbik.  This is an amazing device that can add an additional secuiry blanket to homes in the midst of an epidemic of burglaries.

C4L has been offering blended learning to youth (enterprise + technical) for a decade now.  It now has an alumni of 1200 "green activists" across Mpumalanga province.

Reconstruction following Cyclone Idai

C4L is involved in the emergence of a new inter-church initiative to help rebuild homes, businesses, farms and places of worship in central Mozambique and the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe.

Cyclone Idai flattened the coastal city of beira in March 2019, then continued its rampage inland into eastern Zimbabwe.  The Pungwe Flats were flooded and disaster reponse followed the usual stages:

  • Search and rescue
  • Emergency relief
  • Food aid
  • Temporary shelter
  • Agricultural rehabilitation
By the end of 2019, this new initiative will be able to deliver building materials and experts for the Reconstruction phase.

The government of Mozambique has wisely requested that more storm-resistant structures be erected when rebuilding the ones that were blown down.

Once again, C4L's role in this initiative is technical support, at Project level.  C4L is not the "lead agency" of the initiative.

Such inter-church collaboration could in due course evolve into a definitive Network, but the first priority is to assist with Reconstruction post-Idai.

Both in terms of more storm-resistant buildings, and in terms of inter-church collaboration, a old song comes to mind:

Bind us together, Lord
Bind us together
With bonds that cannot be broken!

Storm-resistant Reconstruction


Treated gum-poles that are bolted together with threaded rod is the optimal design. 

These can be erected rapidly as a skeleton, leaving local building methods and work force to complete the construction.

This means that a combination of technical expertise and local labour can collaborate to rebuild infrastructure.  Using a blend of both imported and local inputs.

Key building materials can be sourced in South Africa and exported by road to project sites.  These can be tailored to custom designs, although a simple catalogue of some basic lay-outs is already in the pipeline, complete with their quantity surveys.

This makes it easy for relief agencies on the ground, devastated farms, local government and other actors, to define and quantify their needs.  Orders can be requisitioned by intermediaries or end-users.  For delivery to project sites, this gains economies of scale.

C4L's role will be aimed "low" - at the Project level.  We want to see Beira and central Mozambique rise again, to be a thriving community.

Nehemiah is famous for rebuilding the walls of his city - so that its security would be good enough for trade and commerce to recover.  Some basic weather-proof infrastructure is needed to assure that transactions and trading can take place in a safe and secure setting in the Beira corridor.



This inter-church networks of "catalysts" is still in the process of organizing itself, and needs some time and space to do so.

In due course, it will emerge with its own name and registration, distinct from its mother-body or host organization.  In other words, it is still in gestation, or an embryo.

Any enquires to C4L will be regerred to the convenor of its Standing Committee.

C4L is honoured to be a part of this new initiative, albeit at Project level - on the ground in M and E.  Our role will be to validate and authenticate the outputs and the impact of this initiative.

The network is planning its identity and destiny in such a way that it can continue to operate long after the Post-Idai Reconstruction period.  So that the impact of future storms can be mitigated as well.  (Climate change suggests that there will be an increase in the frequency of storms.)


Blasts From the Past

C4L remembers...

1. The Nehemiah Network which met annually for a number of years.  I was composed of catalysts of different kinds - recource people, consultants, trainers, etc.

2. The Regional Catalyst - an online news service that was run by C4L project manager Useni Sibanda.  It was one of our first advocacy projects, funded by Tearfund UK

3. Wilderness Guides, a C4L project that arose from the "Mozambique floods" of the year 2000.  Those two back-to-back storms (Eline and Hilda) also affected South Africa (e.g. Skakuza ended up under water). Botswana (which did not remember ever seeing so much rain!) Zimbabwe and Malawi.  This project trained a dozen or so "catalysts" to serve Mozambique and Malawi, and generated training tools for them to use