Jeffreys Bay Women’s Dialogue

Women’s Forum to increase access to funding for community NGOs

In a drive to increase access to funding for community organisations, Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm recently hosted its first ever Women’s Dialogue, attended by local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community workers, and economic development (ED) managers and representatives from other wind farms in the area.

Marion Green-Thompson (GSAMS), Thozela Ponshe (Enel) Donna Fata (Chevron SA), Wendy Parsons (Kouga Wind Farm). Front: Phindile Dlamini, Liesal Harmse (JBWF), Masechaba Mabilu (Acciona), Laura James (GSAMS)

“Our research showed that women in Jeffreys Bay and the surrounding areas play a huge role in caring for their communities through various initiatives and activities,” says Economic Development Director for the Globeleq wind farm, Marion Green-Thompson.

“By bringing together the various stakeholders, we could coordinate planning between funders and local NGOs which, in the long run, will allow for the establishment of an independent and objective process around the allocation of funding.”

The collective annual budget of the various renewable energy projects in the Kouga Local Municipality where Jeffreys Bay is situated, is close to R10million rand.

“During the event, representatives of organisations showcased the work they do in the local community which will help us select, support and grow economic development projects that are meaningful and impactful,” says Marion.

She added that it was important for the different stakeholders to get to know one another, build strong relationships and extend the reach of both funders and the local organisations.

“The value for me personally was to network and gain insights into proposal writing, fundraising and how to better spearhead our project. This will benefit our organisation and enable us to expand our services,” says Margreet Wibbelink, Director at the Healthy Mom and Baby Clinic.

“The more we can work together with organisations servicing our communities, the bigger impact we can have. Together we are the change our community needs,” she says.

Marion added that the wind farms in Jeffreys Bay are in essence strategic partners for the NGOs, and ED managers need to know what the various organisations in the area are doing.

“Women are the threads that hold the fabric of society together. They are the mothers, carers, providers, counsellors, wives and sisters that provide the bedrock of most communities. Finding out how we can support them is critical to ensuring they continue to provide these important services in the community,” she says.