Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development (APFRYD)
Western Cape Department of Agriculture

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Farmworkers in the Western Cape make up the highest number of workers in South Africa’s fruit and wine industry. In 2012 Farm Workers' strikes and protests by agricultural workers in the Western Cape started. The protests began on a farm near De Doorns. On average, the minimum wage for the sector was R69 a day in 2012, however many workers were paid less than R69 daily. These workers are dependent on the farm owners for their income. The meagre wage has to cover food for the family, school fees and school clothes for the children. Many permanent workers live on the farms they work, frequently in poor living conditions. Farm Workers protested against the wages their received at the time. These protest incidents, wage strikes, actions of intimidation of workers, led to an increased unemployment rate within these areas. The youth was the hardest hit by these actions. The agricultural work is seasonal, and farmworkers are employed during harvest periods. More than half of farm workers, mostly women, are seasonal. De Doorns was the centre of the strike activity. The strikes escalated where a total of sixteen towns took part and thousands of workers took to the streets. Farm workers demanded a wage increase from R69 to R150 and payment on rainy days. Trust relationships between workers and farmers were destroyed in the process. A culture of mistrust was starting to develop between employees and employers. Farm owner’s reactions to the strike differed. Some farmers retrenched workers and evicted them and their families.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture drafted a Farmworker Response Plan which led to the creation of The Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development Project (APFRYD) to address the inequality of education, and to create skills opportunities for rural youth, specifically children of farm workers. The Project aimed to establish a partnership between the very parties in conflict i.e. the farmers and farmworkers. It further aimed to create hope and opportunities for the rural youth, especially the children of farmworkers, allowing them to actively participate and determine the future of agriculture in the Western Cape.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This Project has contributed to the alleviation of poverty and lack of employment opportunities for these rural youth and farm worker children who could be trapped a cycle experienced by many youth, leading to societal problems and the crime escalation in these communities. This Project has; • Opened the door of possibilities for rural youth, especially farm worker children to reach unimaginable heights, becoming the future professionals, masters and doctorate students in the agricultural sector! • Addressed the educational and skills development challenges faced by rural youth, specifically children of Farm Workers. • Forged partnerships to create the possibility, for disadvantaged rural youth and farm worker children to become skilled individuals in the agricultural labour market. • Having their parents as Mentors – strengthening the family • Agricultural Sector - relationship building between Farmers and Farm Workers • Young Professional nurtured from the Communities- graduating with Master’s degrees • Direct and indirect beneficiaries of the Project – socio economic upliftment – improve quality of life – elevate income status of the families • Role Models created - More youth interested in further studies – Youth making meaningful decisions • Project model can be adapted for all sectors – presenting opportunities to address skills shortage in the Communities • South African youth having papers published in the international platform and their research accepted in international journals • Project complimented and strengthened other Departmental initiatives introducing the external host employer aspect. Learnerships/ candidate programmes/ young professionals/ bursary holders 184 Beneficiaries directly benefitted from the project. The project has indirectly benefitted the community as interns became role models for the other youth and their siblings. The family income was increased, improving the quality of life and contributing to the economic growth of the Community. The internship has created a new passion for agriculture amongst the youth and 17 interns were accepted onto an agricultural Learnership with Elsenburg College. The farmers and their workers are jointly responsible for the success of the internship and together they continue to annually mentor new interns. This has improved the relationship between them and strengthened the commitment to provide skills development and employment opportunities for the rural youth, especially farm workers’ children. The valuable contribution made by External Host Employers, Mentors and the Municipality has made it possible for the Department to stretch the human capital rand. • A one-year internship with placement at an External Host Employers within the Agricultural Sector, to experience and gain exposure to Agriculture and the career opportunities it offers. This internship includes protective clothing, monitored mentorship and monthly stipends, with opportunities of soft skills training as well as IT training and Learner Driver’s Licence classes and registration. • A Scholarship for High School Learners to complete their matric with mathematics and sciences giving them the opportunity for further studies in the scarce and critical agricultural skills. • Awarding bursaries to rural youth to complete further education with Elsenburg Agricultural College as well as other registered higher institutes of learning to obtain qualifications in agriculture from undergraduate to doctorate degrees affording selected candidates to be placed on the Departmental Young Professional Person’s Programme. • Special Agricultural Learnerships are being offered at Elsenburg College for rural youth which includes accommodation, meals and monthly stipends. • A bridging course has been designed to assist Students struggling with mathematics and science subjects at Elsenburg College. • Summer and winter schools have been included in the Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development Project for Grade 9 to Grade 11 Learners for tutoring in mathematics and sciences.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The first of its kind, Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development Project is creating a skills pipeline with possibilities for rural youth, especially farm worker children to reach unimaginable heights, becoming the future professionals, masters and doctorate students in the agricultural sector! Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development Project (APFRYD), an conceptualised initiative, forged through relationship building with Farmers, Farm Workers, Municipalities and Educators whereby rural youth, especially children of Farm Workers are receiving various opportunities of development. The Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development Project (APFRYD) promises to continue to provide a skills pipeline for previously disadvantaged youth, especially rural youth from High School to Higher Education in the scarce and critical fields of agriculture, thus nurturing the future scientists, specialist and farmers to accelerate the research, technology, knowledge, growth and conservation of agriculture. Transforming the face of the agricultural sector and allowing the most vulnerable and marginalised to actively determine the future of agriculture in the Western Cape. • A quality high school education with mathematics and sciences and boarding school accommodation fully paid by the Department through a scholarship, • Learnerships and further education bursaries awarded to Farm Worker Children, • Ann internship whereby Farm Worker Children are being placed on the farms where they reside. • Farmers assume the role of External Host Employers to this Western Cape Department of Agriculture Interns • Farm Workers have greatly benefitted by the mentorship training and the opportunity, to share their knowledge with the youth and watch with pride as their children soar to unbelievable heights. A post-graduate opportunity on the Young Professional Person’s Programme affording our rural youth, academic and financial support, personal development and national and international exposure.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The project was implemented by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. It has a long term focus to address skills deficit in the agricultural sector and the huge youth unemployment rate, focussing rural youth, specifically children of Farm Workers. Funding for the project is committed for five (5) years from 2013 to 2017. The project has sound financial systems and controls in place to account for all expenditure. The project has provided employment opportunities for three contact workers consisting of: 1. Assistant Director (project coordinator) 2. Administrative Officer 3. Administrative Clerk. The core function of the employees is to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of the project. Mainly rural youth from impoverish communities benefitted from the project. 64 rural children benefited through internship from 2014 until now. 85 bursaries have been awarded and 12 farm worker children have been awarded scholarships benefitted from the initiative.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The Department is committed to the promotion transforming of the sector. It has been a white male dominated sector for many years. In order to bring about these changes and developing the skills of the marginalised groupings it is necessary to set about systematically to bring previously disadvantaged skilled individuals into the agricultural labour market. Based on the high unemployment youth rate within our Province and the reluctance displayed by our youth to pursue a career in Agriculture, the project focusses on promoting the agricultural opportunities through a one-year internship with placement at an external Host Employer within the Agricultural Sector, to experience and gain exposure to Agriculture and the career opportunities it offers. The appointment of these young matriculants, students and graduates will be in line with national and provincial policies and strategies aimed at eradicating poverty through skills development and economic growth. The strategy details the approach towards human capital development for the Department and the sector with the following main activities: Transforming the agricultural sector (Bursaries) Improving access to training opportunities (summer and winter schools, Grade 9 and 11 learners) Another constraint is that the majority of the marginalised youth from the rural areas do not have access to tertiary education because of their poor academic performance in mathematics and sciences, or the unavailability of these subjects at high school level, and poor study methods. In light of the above, it is necessary to provide a bridging programme that will allow these marginalised persons to improve on their existing mathematics, science and life skills so that they can access higher education more readily, be more successful in their studies, and reduce the drop-out rate. Annually the Department arranges winter and summer schools for prospective students at External Internship Programme The desire to be skilled, and be ensured of a job is fast diminishing. Government, together with all relevant stakeholders must make every attempt to promote access to the workplace. Workplace experience remains one of the main criteria for successful employment. Academic programmes must therefore incorporate exposure in the practical field as part of the study programme or immediately thereafter. An external internship programme can offer this opportunity. Long-term changes to the school curriculum and development in rural areas One way in mitigating the future problem of rural economic development opportunities, is to look at education at a technical level based on skills enhancement and development. In this regard, the possibility of Technical Schools within Rural Districts must be investigated and evaluated. This again requires a transversal approach and the need for strong coordination is underlined. It is clear that there are structural problems in the employment framework within the agricultural sector. On site monitoring was conducted on a bi-monthly basis to ensure the success of the project after the peak season. Separate and joint meetings were conducted with External Host Employers and interns. Best practices were shared and challenges addressed with solutions before the officials depart from the farms. External Host Employers submits monthly attendance registers and quarterly reports on the intern’s performance. A midterm review and career exhibition was held in June 2015 for the interns, Mentors and External Host Employers. Interns, Mentors and External Host Employers gave feedback on their experiences. The interns reported on the hands on learning and work experience they were exposed to in packing and grading table grapes for the export market. The mentors reported on the interns’ willingness to learn and work in a team. The External Host Employers reported on the high standard of commitment, willingness and excellent work ethics their experienced with the group. The External Host Employers praised the programme as a “changing the lives of youth in De Doorns”. A commitment was given by the External Host Employers to continue to support the project. Funding for the project was committed for five (5) years from 2013/2014 to 2017/2018 and has since been included in the Departmental Voted Funds. The project has sound financial systems and controls in place to account for all expenditure. Monthly and quarterly expenditure monitoring reports are available. The Project is reflected in the Departmental Annual Performance Plan. The Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development Project forms part of the Departmental External Development Initiatives and compliments the Human Capital Development Strategy and is monitored by the Departmental Human Capital Development Strategy Committee which meeting bi-monthly.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The stakeholders involved in the design and initiative was the Head of Department, Director Operational Support Services and the External Development Initiatives team. From the inception stage the Project was supported from Top to bottom. A project implementation plan was drafted outlining the time frames and milestones of the project. The Western Cape Provincial Treasury committed and approved R 6 225 000 for the implantation of the project. Meetings were conducted with farmers to explain and sell the concept. Farmers agreed to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding to act as External Host Employers for the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. Indirectly assistance has also been secured in “kind” through the external partnership with farmers as External Host Employers who made available their farms, time, mentors and expertise. Training for the mentors ensured uniformity and equality were maintained on all participating farms. Monthly monitoring and evaluation visits were conducted by the External Development Initiatives team to ensure the milestones of the project are achieved and uniform standards are integrated on al farms.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Bursaries and Scholarships Bursaries were awarded to rural youth affording them the opportunity to further their studies the Agricultural field. A close relationship was developed between the bursary holders and the Department, with regular monitoring visits being conducted and timeous updates on the Students’ progress was obtained. Bursaries cover all tuition, accommodation and meals for students. These bursaries were awarded from pre to post Farm Worker children in Grade 8 were identified by School Principals or Farm Management as strong ‘potential candidates’ for further studies in Agriculture were awarded full scholarships. This ensured access to quality education with close liaison with the High School Administrative staff and Educators with extra tuition paid for where needed. Both bursaries and scholarships include three annual payments of R1 500 (pocket money) directly to the bursar/scholar personal needs. Internships and learnerships The internship programme places participants with external host employers, i.e. farmers act as mentors, to gain workplace experience. A memorandum of understanding was entered into with Farmers while the Department retained all administrative responsibilities and funded the stipends. Rural youth, previously reluctant to pursue careers in agriculture have now embraced these opportunities. Special Agricultural Learnerships are being offered at Elsenburg College for rural youth which includes accommodation, meals and monthly stipends. Students return to the farms to do their practical work integrated learning. Stipends Beneficiaries of the Project have become role models to other youth in the communities, encouraging a greater interest in further studies and agriculture of a career of choice. The active involvement in Internships and Learnerships has reduced the unemployment, social ills and poverty within the Communities. Candidates used their stipends to supplement their household incomes. Expending income benefit to the entire family and the broader community. Beneficiaries become positive role models in their respective communities. The project touched on 8 of the SDGs: • No poverty – providing interns with stipends of R3500 per month. • Zero hunger – expanding the sector by increasing and addressing the inequalities in through training and further studies. • Good health and well-being – Wellness and awareness sessions on HIV/Aids, std’s and life skills training • Quality education – target farmworker children by offering them scholarships to attend schools with mathematics and science. • Gender equality – ensure more women are appointed on internships in the agriculture sector. • Decent work and economic growth – all interns attend entrepreneurial training as part of the exit strategy of project. Interns are appointed as government officials and the department administers the appointment process and internship. • Reduced inequalities – economic inclusion of persons with disabilities and females. • Peace, justice and strong institutions - the project restored the peace and trust amongst farmers and farmworkers.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
One of the major challenges was that the intern’s stipend was higher than the minimum wage paid to the farm workers and potential for serious conflict. Extensive engagements with External Host Employers and Farm Workers took place prior to the appointment of departmental interns on any of the farms. This was to ensure that all workers understood that the interns were appointed as employees of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, despite serving their internship on the respective farms. The Interns attended a one week orientation programme. They were issued with a set of branded protective clothing; consisting of 2 sets of overalls, gumboots, safety shoes, T-shirts and a polar fleece top with the instruction to at all times wear their T-shirts displaying the corporate identity of our Department. It was with a sound understanding that the interns knew that, as employees of the Department, they were ambassadors, representing the Western Cape Government in their workplace. Extensive liaison with the local farmers in the De Doorns area and the Breede Valley Municipality led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department and the Commercial Farmers. Twenty seven(27) farmers have signed the MOU’s to come on board and act as External Host Employers for the Project, to allow rural youth and children of Farm Workers with matric, to serve a 12 month internship with the Department. Each of the participating farms now have billboards erected on their farms indicating their partnership and promoting their commitment to youth development. (This sends a proudly ‘Better Together’ message to all passer-by’s) This has further encouraged other Farmers to come on board. Economically Government can achieve more through partnerships. The contracts that the interns signed with the Department states they will work a 40 hours per week. However the farm operations required the interns to start earlier and work overtime during peak seasons. Each farmer agreed to give the interns time off or pay them over time for the hours worked.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
This Project has contributed to the alleviation of poverty and lack of employment opportunities for these rural youth and farm worker children who could be trapped a cycle experienced by many youth, leading to societal problems and the crime escalation in these communities. This Project has; • Opened the door of possibilities for rural youth, especially farm worker children to reach unimaginable heights, becoming the future professionals, masters and doctorate students in the agricultural sector! • Addressed the educational and skills development challenges faced by rural youth, specifically children of Farm Workers. • Forged partnerships to create the possibility, for disadvantaged rural youth and farm worker children to become skilled individuals in the agricultural labour market. 184 Beneficiaries directly benefitted from the project. The project has indirectly benefitted the community as interns became role models for the other youth and their siblings. The family income was increased, improving the quality of life and contributing to the economic growth of the Community. The internship has created a new passion for agriculture amongst the youth and 17 interns were accepted onto an agricultural Learnership with Elsenburg College. The farmers and their workers are jointly responsible for the success of the internship and together they continue to annually mentor new interns. This has improved the relationship between them and strengthened the commitment to provide skills development and employment opportunities for the rural youth, especially farm workers’ children. The valuable contribution made by External Host Employers, Mentors and the Municipality has made it possible for the Department to stretch the human capital rand. • A one-year internship with placement at an External Host Employers within the Agricultural Sector, to experience and gain exposure to Agriculture and the career opportunities it offers. This internship includes protective clothing, monitored mentorship and monthly stipends, with opportunities of soft skills training as well as IT training and Learner Driver’s Licence classes and registration. • A Scholarship for High School Learners to complete their matric with mathematics and sciences giving them the opportunity for further studies in the scarce and critical agricultural skills. • Awarding bursaries to rural youth to complete further education with Elsenburg Agricultural College as well as other registered higher institutes of learning to obtain qualifications in agriculture from undergraduate to doctorate degrees affording selected candidates to be placed on the Departmental Young Professional Person’s Programme. • Special Agricultural Learnerships are being offered at Elsenburg College for rural youth which includes accommodation, meals and monthly stipends. • A bridging course has been designed to assist Students struggling with mathematics and science subjects at Elsenburg College. • Summer and winter schools have been included in the Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development Project for Grade 9 to Grade 11 Learners for tutoring in mathematics and sciences. b. What evidence of these improvements can you provide? Where possible, quantify, e.g. increased number of beneficiaries, reduction in queues, etc. (Max 500 words) Scholarships: Farm Worker children in Grade 8 were identified by School Principals or Farm Management as strong ‘potential candidates’ for further studies in Agriculture. Scholarships were awarded to these candidates with close liaison with the High School Administrative staff and Educators. The Department ensured their comfort and accommodation and funded all their needs including bedding and sleepwear. Their Scholarship includes three annual payments of R1 500 (pocket money) directly to the scholar for airtime, treats and daily hygiene requirements. To date, 12 rural scholars (grade 8-12) with mathematics and science as subjects benefitted from the project through scholarships. Bursaries: 119 (52 females) Bursaries were awarded to rural youth affording them the opportunity to further their studies at Boland College in the Agricultural field. A close relationship was developed between Boland College, the bursary holders and the Department, with regular visits being conducted and timeous updates on the Students’ progress was obtained. Two students benefited from the Young Professional Person’s Programme (YPP) and completed their Masters Degrees successfully. The YPP programme is an affirmative action program to specifically empower previously disadvantages individuals from the following designated groups: African, Coloured, Indian, females (White females included) and people with disabilities, who have been accepted by a recognised academic institute for Masters or Honours, through the gaining of experience and obtaining their qualification in the scarce and critical skills with mentorship. Mr Links, the son of a Farm Worker from De Doorns, on the Young Professional Persons Programme (YPP) graduated with his MInst Agrar from the University of Pretoria. He is currently employed as a Senior Agricultural Advisor with Farmer Support and Development (FSD) in Extension and Advisory Services at the Department of Agriculture. Ms Barends, from a single parent household in Bredasdorp, graduated from the University of Stellenbosch MAgric: Admin (Economics). She has been appointed as an Economist with the Department. Both these candidates are actively involved in giving back to the youth, through, presentations, open days and career exhibitions. Internships: Fifty-two (64) interns were appointed in the project of whom forty (40) were females. Twenty six (26) successfully completed the internship and seventeen (17) progressed to further studies do a 12 month Learnerships in Viticulture with the Elsenburg College. Out of the seventeen (17) applicants accepted nine (9) were females. Project expanded to the Saron area where internship opportunities were offered to nineteen (19) interns; however five (5) interns declined the offer. An additional 11 interns were appointed in De Doorns based on the success of the pilot project. 11 vocational and student interns were appointed in the project to gain exposure and assist them in completing their studies An orientation session was conducted with the interns on the 2nd -4th November 2015 where after fourteen (14) interns were placed with an External Host Employer in Saron. They were placed with one External Host Employer to be exposed to the agricultural work, which included, planting, harvesting, packaging, administration and the running of the farm. A stipend of R3 400 in line with the DPSA guide line is paid to each intern per month.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The project milestones was achieved and exceeded. This led to the project winning double silver awards both provincially and nationally. The project won silver in the Western Cape Premier’s Service Excellence Awards 2016 in the Best Implemented Project category. A second accolade was bestowed on the project when it was first runner-up in the national Centre for Public Service Innovation Award 2016 in the Innovative Service Delivery Institution category. Appointment of 30 Interns: 53 previously disadvantaged matriculates from the identified rural development nodes completed a 12 month internship with the external Host Employers. All interns received a meaningful exposure and awareness to the career opportunities within the agricultural sector, thus making them more marketable for employment as well as being afforded the opportunity for further studies. Department entered into MOUs with external Host Employers Building up relations with the private sector. Awarding 20 bursaries/ scholarships to youth of rural development nodes 119 (including 12 scholarships) awarded to Youth of the rural development nodes to complete their studies in the scarce and critical skills.Graduates will be able to pursue their careers. Placement opportunities will be afforded these candidates. Coordinating a bridging programme for mathematics and sciences Bridging programme for Interns to improve on their maths and sciences results In collaboration with WCED and Community Learning Centres, a successful programme was conducted to assist interns with their mathematics and science results All interns re-rewrote their matric exam in mathematics and sciences and received a result, enabling them to register for further education Coordinating a summer and winter school programme (annual target) Coordinating a summer and winter school programme The College has successfully drafted a summer and winter school programme for Grade 9 and Grade 11 learners to assist them with their mathematics and sciences. The winter and summer school programmes assisted the youth from the rural development nodes to revise and improve their results in mathematics and sciences through attending this study programme during their vacation. Providing Learnerships to 10 youth from the rural development nodes (annual target) Special Agricultural Learnerships are being offered at Elsenburg College for rural youth which includes accommodation, meals and monthly stipends. •Awarding Elsenburg Agricultural College bursaries to 15 youth from rural agricultural nodes (annual target) Awarding bursaries to rural youth to complete further education with Elsenburg Agricultural College as well as other registered higher institutes of learning to obtain qualifications in agriculture from undergraduate to doctorate degrees affording selected candidates to be placed on the Departmental Young Professional Person’s Programme.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Extra efforts were made to ensure women and girls benefitted from the project. The Agriculture sector is a white male dominated sector. Women in the sector are mostly seasonable workers trapped in a cycle of poverty. Of the 119 Bursaries were awarded to rural youth affording them the opportunity to further their studies at Boland College in the Agricultural field were awarded to 52 females. Fifty-one (51) interns were appointed in the project of whom forty (40) were females. Females and males received the same stipend amount of R3500 per month. Both groups received the same protective clothing consisting of 2 sets of overalls, fleece top, t-shirt, gum boots and safety shoes. This ensured that the females were treated with the same dignity, equality and uniformity.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Western Cape Department of Agriculture
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   John Constable
Title:   Mr  
Telephone/ Fax:   +27218085044
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   johnconstable@elsenburg.com  
Address:   Muldervlei Road
Postal Code:   7607
City:   Elsenburg
State/Province:   western Cape
Country:  

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