Seriti Institute feeds thousands of hungry households in marginalised communities during the Covid-19 pandemic
Seriti Institute is a development facilitation agency that works to develop marginalised communities. After COVID-19 struck in South Africa, we saw clearly that the most pressing need was for food relief and for alternative food provisioning systems. “People are hungry and as a development facilitation agent, we realised that no development could take place when the minimum basics of staying alive have not been met” says Juanita Pardesi, CEO of Seriti Institute.
This is how Seriti’s C19 Community Response was born. This programme aims to provide immediate food relief to the most vulnerable households, whilst we pave the way for more sustainable and resilient food systems post the immediate crisis.
Juanita mentions, “We pride ourselves on being an organisation that responds to the most pressing needs of the communities we serve. Since the start of lockdown, Seriti’s Community Response has provided food relief for over 7 000 people in the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. Through our joint efforts with the C19 People’s Coalition community organising and food working groups, we facilitated the delivery of over 18 000 parcels in Gauteng.”
“This programme perfectly aligned with our community development strategy and was slightly adapted to incorporate food relief and food security as our main priority.” Since starting the programme, Seriti received several calls weekly from community leaders, faith-based organisations in remote and forgotten areas asking for help because food relief initiatives hadn’t reached them.
The number of people going without food is growing as the Covid-19 pandemic persists and Seriti want to feed as many hungry households as possible. Sustainability is a big part of every project they implement, C19 Community Response is no exception.
“While we are providing immediate food relief, we want to ensure that communities are given the tools to produce their own food in the long-term. We provide vegetable seeds and starter packs for homestead food gardens to community members and groups who have land and space available to grow and produce. We have partnered with the Green Business College to train and mentor small-scale producer networks and community groups in developing their gardens,” Juanita explained.
Seriti partners local community-based organisations to allow the community to lead and take ownership in finding and driving solutions.
Juanita concludes by saying, “We thank our donor the Social Justice Initiative (SJI) and the support from Standard Bank, Meal SA and Ascendis Health for their in-kind donations of food, masks, gloves and multivitamins. We still have thousands of hungry families and households to feed and each contribution counts”.
If you would like to sponsor or partner with us on this programme, please email us on [email protected] or call 011 262 7700. You can also visit https://seriti.org.za/campaigns/c19-community-response/ for more information or to make a contribution.
Article by Dumile Pretty Ndimande