June 2022

Driving lasting change through the Singita Lowveld Trust's community partnerships

in Community

Driving lasting change through the Singita Lowveld Trust's community partnerships

For humankind to thrive, the environment has to, too. And the inverse is also true. At Singita, our commitment to the long-term welfare of planet and people informs all of our operations, and the growing urgency and increased emphasis on immediate and drastic action is pivotal in shaping our policies.

“At a time when we are still losing nature faster than we can restore it, we need to focus our collective global efforts on economic recovery, growth and development that is decoupled from further environmental destruction,” says Inge Kotze, Singita’s GM of Conservation.

The keyword here is collective. Without buy-in from the global and local community, the needle shifts slowly – making it difficult to achieve lasting change. On a more micro scale, we believe wholeheartedly in the power of the collective – which in our context, encompasses our various non-profit conservation and community partners in collaboration with other NGOs who play a crucial role in helping us to reach our conservation goals.

The Singita Lowveld Trust (SLT) contributes significantly to Singita’s 100-year purpose through building enduring partnerships with neighbouring communities

Communities living in harmony with nature

Our South African non-profit partner – the Singita Lowveld Trust (SLT) – contributes significantly to Singita’s 100-year purpose to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations, while building enduring partnerships with neighbouring communities.

The SLT was set up in 2007 to ensure that neighbouring rural communities living adjacent to the greater Kruger National Park would be the main beneficiaries through direct partnerships across the 11 villages adjacent to the Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park concession. Community partnerships are central in the SLT’s work and there’s a strategic focus on supporting access to quality education and career and enterprise development, which serves as a critical avenue to improving social-economic conditions in the region.

As such, 75% of donations directly benefits local community partnerships and beneficiaries, while the remaining 25% goes to funding the ongoing wildlife protection initiatives and needs, such as anti-poaching technology and K9 dog units, as well as biodiversity research within the reserve.

Donations to the Singita Lowveld Trust directly benefit local community partnerships and beneficiaries and conservation programmes

Driving meaningful change

The SLT’s community interventions range from early childhood to career development. “We focus significant resources on holistic early childhood development (ages 0 – 5 years) support programmes – as we see these as the critical foundation for physical and mental development and readiness for formal schooling years,” says Kotze. The SLT is currently partnering with 17 ECD centres in the villages adjacent to our reserves, and supporting centre practitioners (teachers, carers and centre managers or principals) to implement the National Curriculum through the appropriate resources, training and teaching support and school governance.

Further along the career path, the SLT supports the Singita Community Culinary School (SCCS), which is based at Lebombo Lodge in Singita Kruger National Park. The school opened in 2007 to offer aspiring young adults from neighbouring communities a full scholarship to acquire an internationally recognised World Chefs qualification. When students graduate from this year-long Singita-crafted chef-development course, they emerge competitively equipped to embark on a successful career. The latest monitoring and evaluation survey conducted in December 2021 shows some remarkable achievements – 99 students have graduated since its opening, with 81% formally employed and almost half of these having progressed to the level of commis chefs and one third to junior sous chef level.

The SLT’s community interventions range from early childhood to career development, with the Singita Community Culinary School one of its most successful and impactful programmes to date

In addition to the SLT’s flagship community partnerships, Singita also supports the Good Work Foundation, which provides access to online digital learning hubs in the rural villages adjacent to Singita Sabi Sand. Their innovative programmes work with students aged 10 and up to improve their maths, English and computer literacy, while a Bridging Academy prepares high school graduates for the job market or tertiary education opportunities in tourism, hospitality and ICT.

Education is a key focus for the SLT, which supports various interventions for learners across age groups

Be a part of our conservation success story

These initiatives demonstrate our commitment to building long-term partnerships that allow neighbouring communities to flourish. To us, building a shared future starts with building long term, impactful relationships that benefit all.

You too, can play a role in shaping a future where nature and communities thrive in harmony with one another. To learn more about the SLT’s diverse range of programmes, and how to support them, click here >

By Julia Freemantle

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