20 December 2012 - The Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge is the world's second-largest timed cycle race. It is held annually on ‘cycle challenge Sunday,’ the third Sunday of November, in the City of Johannesburg. Between 20 000 and 30 000 participants complete the challenging 94.7km-long course every year.
This year, Aurecon co-sponsored a team of local celebrities, including renowned rugby player Victor Matfield and actor Ivan Zimmerman.
The celebrity ride and bike donation was initiated as a fund-raising activity by the Hunger and Thirst Foundation (H&T). The Foundation establishes Leadership and Sports Academies (LSA’s) in impoverished communities, focusing on primary school children. Through this, many jobs are created in the same communities that the children live in. At an LSA’s the child receives educational support through homework assistance, sport development and leadership and life skills coaching. Malnutrition is also addressed, as in addition to receiving lunch daily, the children receive feeding packs containing their other two meals for the day as well as meals for the weekend. In order to receive their meals, they have to commit to attend the LSA at least three times a week.
Aurecon has recently committed to taking hands with the Hunger and Thirst Foundation and will help to facilitate the rollout of the foundation’s community empowerment programme through the implementation of an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach.
The ABCD approach, as opposed to a more traditional needs-based approach, is one which recognises the strengths, talents and resources of individuals and communities, and helps communities to mobilise and build on their current assets for sustainable development. This is an effective way of empowering communities by ensuring they use their assets to the full benefit of the entire community.
Needs-based approaches have increasingly been criticised for their tendency to overlook the human, social, natural and physical assets that exist within any community. This sometimes has unintentional consequences, such as the creation of a culture of dependence, which essentially undercuts efforts towards change.
“By focusing on assets and capacities rather than needs and deficiencies, energy is directed towards strengthening communities’ capacities to drive their own development and create sustainable livelihoods,” explains Amelia Visagie, Project Coordinator in Aurecon’s South African Value Education (SAVE) team.
Furthermore, unlike traditional approaches, the ABCD approach acknowledges formal and informal associations that mobilise assets and strengthen the social relationships that are important for bridging local initiatives to external opportunities.
“By coordinating meaningful engagement with the community, Aurecon seeks to support Hunger and Thirst’s bold initiative of empowering people to learn to sustain themselves, thus contributing to long-term poverty eradication,” says Visagie.
She adds, “While the Hunger and Thirst Foundation has appointed Aurecon to work with them in a professional capacity, our commitment to the cause runs much deeper, and, as such, we are proud to also support them in initiatives that improve the quality of life in communities where we live and work.”