Dreamcatcher South Africa’s activities have intentionally addressed the goals of the UN since 2000 through the previous Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) and the current Sustainable Development Goals (2015-30). The goals call for concerted action to solve some of the world’s most difficult challenges. 193 UN General Assembly members adopted and committed to the Sustainable Development Goals. Our integrated model also responds to the aims of COPs (Conference of the Parties), the most recent being COP26 in Glasgow UK in 2022, with specific focus on climate action.
We are proud to share our journey and impact with you. Below we explain how our work addresses many of the Sustainable Development Goals.
By creating enterprises and stimulating local job creation we are fighting poverty. We are increasing the income streams in communities by diversifying job opportunities through initiatives like Cook Up and Homestay with Kamamma, local tour guides, and crafting and manufacturing from local resources. A circular economy makes sure that the money that is earned circulates in the community and stimulates local socio-economic growth.
The main reason for hunger is poverty and lack of skills and resources for self-sufficiency. We have innovated and developed a pioneering food growing programme whereby families grow their own nutritious food in front or back yards – Back 2 Front Yard Farming (B2FYF©). We provide the skills, support and start up resources to facilitate local food growing – including composting of organic waste. In this way we address food poverty and nutrition.
Aside from working on nutrition and hygiene, we inform and train community members to combat illness and injuries. One of the actions we undertake is training first aid responders in local communities. They are also on stand-by for incidents or injuries to visitors. Most small communities don’t have 24-hour medical support, often they only have a clinic for a couple of days a week. Here Dreamcatcher addresses a critical gap in service provision.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Dreamcatcher first responders were deployed across communities to provide critical resources to support well-being of residents including PPE, nutritious food, phone data and power vouchers. In remote areas where it was not possible to deploy our first aid team, we provided funding for food and resources
Since inception we have had many health and well-being practitioners volunteering alongside community members to address public health challenges. This includes practitioners addressing stress, mental-health and exercise. Examples include Kick Up Kamamma and Dentaid.
We collaborate and manage the STEPi (Squaring The Education Pyramid Institute) project across Southern Africa. The project aims to ensure that children are prepared, willing, and happy when they reach adulthood. STEPi provides resources and support to enable the emotional development of children and parents. Through the STEPi books and teacher guides children are equipped cognitively to make the right choices when they reach adulthood to enable them to prosper and thrive. The project is currently engaging with schools, non-profit organisations and other grassroot institutions to disseminate books and resources.
In addition, Dreamcatcher provides and facilitates training and life skills transfer across a range of disciplines focusing on women and youth. This includes enterprise development, waste and environmental management, growing food, and first aid. We disseminate our model to education institutions globally.
Historically in sub–Saharan Africa women have not had the same education, work and enterprise opportunities as males. The situation is mirrored in South Africa where due to social pressures many girls leave education at an early age. We believe that affirmation of diversity, women and youth are critical to ensure sustainable futures for all.
From inception our work has focused on gender equality and supporting women-led enterprise. We work across township communities in Southern Africa to encourage women in enterprise, instil leadership and work together creatively for sustainable outcomes.
We are supported by an inspirational network of supporters and collaborators across Southern Africa and internationally.
Vast areas where our community engagement and socio-economic development projects are run, are situated in areas impacted by protracted drought. To address this, we support enterprises with rainwater conservancy tanks and our home office runs off rain-water. We provide skills transfer to grow food in small patches in cyclical fashion using conserved water and compost from organic waste.
We promote the use of renewable energy (solar and wind power). We are working with partners to provide this in communities. Some homestays and the Dreamcatcher home office have solar power including warm water cylinders installed – and we are looking to roll this out further.
Dreamcatcher South Africa has developed an integrated outcomes based socio-economic development model address the local challenges in communities where we work. Over 30 years we have turned these challenges into opportunities stimulating inclusive local economic development, job and enterprise development. Examples of this are tourism services offered by women and youth in communities around Southern Africa. A prime example of this is our ‘Wasteland – Graced Land’ pluralistic development model recognised globally.
With international collaborators we have innovated low-cost solutions to transform waste into a resource addressing the environmental and public health impacts associated with poor waste management. This has led to enterprise and innovation in design.
By offering women the chance to be entrepreneurs and create sustainable opportunities, we reduce gender imbalance. We aspire to be a platform which tailors to tourists of any race and sexuality. Through the Dreamcatcher inclusive development programmes we affirm and encourage diversity. We collaborate and support vulnerable members in communities where we work including those with physical and mental challenges.
We are increasing income streams by diversifying the job opportunities in the communities where we work. A circular economy makes sure that the money that is earned in the community stays there and simulates local socio-economic growth. The impact of tourism and economic growth is monitored to ensure local community life is undisturbed and cultural traditions are respected. The health and environmental impact of waste are managed and we have successfully lobbied against the open burning on local dumpsites. We stimulate water conservation and renewable energy. Skills and knowledge transfer is purposed to inform the locals about the importance of their environment and the local species.
The “Waste, It’s Mine, It’s Yours” project of Dreamcatcher has received global recognition. Waste is re-used to produce new products, which creates jobs and new income stream whilst benefitting the local environment. We are collaborating with a wide range of local and international stakeholder to address waste challenges. On responsible consumption we collaborate and source in local suppliers and services.
We collaborate with local authorities to combat waste dumping in the ocean or on beaches. We organise beach clean-ups to collect marine plastics and motivate locals to re-use the waste to create new products and incomes.
We remediated a dumpsite and transformed it into a botanical garden. We have removed alien invader plant species rehabilitating land allowing for indigenous plant species and wildlife to return. We transform alien plant species into crafts which help fund this work.
Justice means that nobody is excluded from the economic benefits in any industry. Historically local communities across South Africa were excluded from access to tourism benefits and entrepreneurial opportunities. We want to change this narrative by empowering local enterprises and reducing the loss of profits out of Africa. We see tourism as a vehicle to facilitate social and economic change. Moreover, we celebrate the cultural diversity of South Africa which had historically been overlooked. We have developed destinations in communities and effected geographical spread of tourists through the development of new tourism itineraries channelling tourists into communities. We have placed humanity back into the tourism experience. These actions have led us to be recognised as leaders in tourism across Africa.
We have formed collaborative partnerships across Africa and globally to deliver projects which stimulate local economies, increase education and skills transfer, and well-being. We share our knowledge globally with educational institutions, development organisations, and governments.