Outreach in forestry

Forestry is more than just trees. It is about the individuals and communities that it touches too. Our human and social responsibility legacy is something we are incredibly proud of.

Through forestry we are able to uplift and upskill our workforce, enabling them to progress in the workplace and at home. The number of people dependent on those working in the Forest Industry is far greater than the workforce we employ – this is called the multiplier effect.

In many instances the sector provides an income to people living in deep rural areas where there is no other sustainable source of income. We provide direct employment to thousands, but also an opportunity for tens of thousands more to lead meaningful and dignified lives through access to roads, schools and clinics in our areas of operation.

Here we look at how forestry has made a difference, promoting the good work being done and inspiring future programmes so we continue to make progress.

CSI Overview

Many businesses in the forestry industry have for decades been involved in the development and wellbeing of employees, their families and communities who form an integral part of the sector. However, the achievement of democracy and the introduction of legislation like the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act and the sector-specific Forest Sector Code introduced heightened and structured requirements for how these initiatives should take place throughout the industry.

To assess the industry’s immense contribution to corporate social investment (CSI) and other empowerment initiatives as a whole, it is best to look at the Annual Status Report on transformation, produced by the Forest Sector Charter Council, which oversees B-BBEE in the industry. This provides a reasonable representation of the overall transformation performance of more than 24,000 timber growers in South Africa. Given the sheer number of industry-driven initiatives, it is impossible in that report to provide tangible and relatable examples of socio-economic transformation. That said, we do need some way of looking beyond the scorecard and see how these activities are making a tangible contribution to peoples’ lives.

For this reason, the forestry industry was encouraged to produce this report. The report is merely a glimpse into some of the tangible benefits which citizens derive from a vibrant and committed forestry and forest products sector, active in the most rural areas where State resources are often inadequate to fully serve its citizens. This report is not intended to be comprehensive in describing activities of all of our members – there are simply too many growers who are making similar contributions. It is also not comprehensive in describing all the empowerment initiatives, even of those growers whose contributions are showcased in this report. The report serves to highlight just a few successful and enduring initiatives, which make a sustained contribution to the lives of people who live, work or interact with the forestry industry. You as the reader are encouraged to also think about the thousands of similar examples, albeit at a smaller scale, which are taking place on timber farms throughout the country. These unsung initiatives are making equally important contributions to the wellbeing of a great number of people in our rural areas and if space permitted, we would have listed every last one of them.

Michael Peter,
Executive Director, Forestry South Africa (FSA)

Click here for part one, to find out more about the Education, Health and Welfare, Community Engagement and Upliftment and Food Security CSI focus areas and click here for part two, detailing the Enterprise and Supplier Development, Community Infrastructure, Environment and Recreational CSI focus areas.

Case study compiled: 2018
Source: Forestry Explained

Midlands Meander Education Programme (MMEP)

NCT Forestry Cooperative

Hands on and creative, focusing innovative education and servicing 18 rural schools – that’s the Midlands Meander Education Project (MMEP) in a nutshell. With initiatives ranging from gap year programmes for post-Matric to Eco-bug clubs for the little ones, the MMEP is a safe space offering ‘something for everyone’.

MMEP servicies a number of forestry communities. NCT Forestry became involved by contributing financially to a number of projects as well as donating tools.
One of the schemes about which the company is incredibly passionate is the creation of school vegetable gardens. And the teachers love it too!
“Since we had our vegetable garden, absenteeism has decreased. A lot of our children come to school without food; for some, our 10am lunch is the only meal they will get. Thanks to the garden we can make these meals bigger and more nutritious than ever before, while cutting hunger and improving learning.”- Thenjewi Ngcobo, head teacher.

To learn more about this incredible project and how forestry’s contribution is really making a difference, click here .

Case study compiled: 2016
Source: Forestry Explained

Abashintshi "the change"


Described as the most exciting community outreach initiative Sappi have ever embarked upon, Abashintshi – like its name suggests – is bringing about change in many of the company’s neighbouring communities.

An astounding 94% of people in rural communities are unemployed. This sees the youth becoming disillusioned, often sitting at home, ill-equipped to deal with the challenges they face. Absashintshi is a social mobilisation programme which sets out to create “community changers” (Abashintshi) who can reach out to their communities and foster sustainable change through entrepreneurship.
The programme provides life skills training, legacy building with community elders, holiday programmes for children and focuses on Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD). The impact has be immediate and resounding with small businesses and community enrichment being borne out from it.

The real magic happens when these communities realise that they no longer need to be reliant on government handouts but instead they can “make change” for themselves. Click here to read more about this incredible initiative.

Case study compiled: 2017
Source: Forestry Explained

For more about this incredible project, including the latest news and statistics, visit the Sappi website.

Stepping Stones

Based on the principle that “no African child, mentally or physically challenged or not, should be deprived of an education”, Stepping Stones is more than just a school, it is a lifeline.

Stepping Stones offers children a stimulating environment as well as many opportunities for them to learn social and life skills.
The school, a registered NPO, receives no funding from local, provincial or national government which makes them heavily reliant on grants and donations.
This is where NCT Forestry is making a lasting impact.
“You simply can’t walk away from something like that” explains Anita Nicholson, NCT’s CSI coordinator.

NCT has funded the provision of 16 wheelchairs and eight walking frames, along with stationery books and therapeutic excursions. Find out how the walking frames have been life changing by clicking here . You will be inspired at how small steps can make big differences.

Case study compiled: 2018
Source: Forestry Explained