GNF - Sustainable Community Development in South Africa

Sustainable Community Development in South Africa

Improving the institutional structures, economic situation and natural resource management in rural areas of KwaZulu Natal


Problem description

The four project communities (Gumbi, Mandlakazi, Upper Thukela, KwaJobe / Khula) are, like many other African communities, organized according to traditional structures. Within these structures, the community members suffer from a lack of participation in decision-making as well as a lack of flow of financial and other benefits into the lower levels. The lack of corresponding capacities at management level prevents personal initiative to improve the situation and additional legal obstacles hamper the improvement of the economic situation. At the same time existing natural capital is not used wisely and depleted in an unregulated manner. The project therefore focusses on the social, economic and ecological levels to initiate processes for a holistic and sustainable development. Improved structures in the community leadership empower target communities to independently continue this process even after the project is completed. In addition, concrete approaches are being developed to improve the living situation of the local people. This includes the creation of income opportunities and the increase in added value as well as the improvement of the food situation and the supply of drinking water.

Aim and measures of the project

The aim of this project is to improve social, environmental and economic situation in four rural communities in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, through responsible, participatory management structures according to a jointly designed plan for the economic and ecological sustainable development of communities.


This is achieved by capacity building and improved participation of the lower levels in decision-making in the communities, by improving living conditions of local inhabitants through the creation of job opportunities in small businesses, establishment of vegetable gardens in households and at schools and training of local inhabitants in vegetable cultivation techniques as well as the drilling of three drinking water wells with solar pumps to improve water supply. The project results are disseminated through a handbook and a workshop to other communities in South Africa and beyond.


All in all 50,000 persons are beneficiaries of the actions. This target group are local inhabitants of the communities of Gumbi, Mandlakazi, Upper Thukela and KwaJobe/Khula in South Africa.

Contact persons

Thies Geertz

Global Nature Fund (GNF) - Office Radolfzell

Phone: +49 7732 9995 83



Laura Maeso Velasco

Global Nature Fund (GNF) - Office Bonn

Phone: +49 228 184 86 94 12


 Cultivation of seedlings
 Der Anbau von Gemüse verbessert die Versorgungssituation maßgeblich.
 Gewächshäuser schützen die empfindlichen Setzlinge.
 Die Viehbestände müssen in die nachhaltige Planung mit aufgenommen werden.
 Die Haltung der Tierherden wird mit Hütejungen bewerkstelligt.
 Die Versorgung mit Trinkwasser ist noch recht beschwerlich.

Project period:


Project country: 


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August 2017 – July 2020


South Africa




German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)