South Africa is about 1.2 million square kilometers in size. Its terrain is made up of plateau, savannah, desert, mountains and coastal plains. There are eleven official languages, including Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele and isiXhosa. Christianity is the predominant religion.
South Africa has a dual agricultural economy: a well-developed commercial sector and a predominantly subsistence sector. About 12 percent of the country can be used for crop production. High-potential arable land comprises only 22 percent of total arable land. Some 1.3 million hectares (ha) are under irrigation. Agricultural activities range from intensive crop production and mixed farming to cattle ranching in the bushveld and sheep farming in the more arid regions.
In South Africa, 5.6 million people are estimated to be living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa, more than in any other country. It is believed that in 2009, an estimated 310,000 South Africans died of AIDS. Prevalence is 17.8 percent among those aged 15-49, with some age groups being particularly affected. Almost one-in-three women aged 25-29, and over a quarter of men aged 30-34, are living with HIV.
Unemployment is estimated at 24.5 percent. Close to 15 million South Africans receive social grants from the State. It is estimated that at least 50 percent of the country’s population lives below the poverty line.
Heifer's Work in South Africa
Heifer began programs in South Africa before establishing an office. The reasoning was to contribute to the integration and social justice of South Africa. This country had been plagued by years of white-only rule. The close proximity of Zimbabwe allowed for supervision to transpire without having to expend the cost of establishing an office in South Africa.
Heifer did, however, launch a country program in South Africa in 1997. The program started out small but has since fulfilled its goal to build a substantial program over five years that is managed by local staff, controlled by a local board and supported by local and international fundraising.
As of 2006, Heifer South Africa was officially recognized as a Legally Separate Entity (LSE). LSEs operate autonomously but with financial support from Heifer International that provides the funding for operational expenses and offers assistance in funding locally run Heifer projects. Heifer South Africa has a strong fundraising program and uses those funds to implement projects.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Water harvesting; Water management practices; Handling and using AGRO chemicals; Organic manure production; Tree planting
Post-harvest management and processing: Linking farmers to buyers and consumers
Market development: Training youth in micro-enterprise development; Create innovative entrepreneurial activities; Focus on small species livestock with added value potential and market opportunities
Technology: Training in Planning, monitoring and evaluation methods and practices
Nutrition: HIV/AIDS prevention training
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
The project members were like my second family and every time I was with them I enjoyed it to the fullest.They never made me feel like an outsider, even though sometimes there was a language barrier. I learned a lot about the Zulu culture from them, like the type of food they eat at home and their way of doing things. I got to love and respect it. Manje se ngi khuluma isiZulu kahle (Now I can speak Zulu very well), all thanks to the project members.
Heifer’s Read to Feed program welcomes a new supporter – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nobel and Gandhi Prize recipient and human rights activist from South Africa.
July 18th is Nelson Mandela International Day, a day when thousands of people in South Africa and across the world will give their time to volunteer to help others.