Achieving positive change

Abashintshi: planting seeds of opportunity

In the communities where we work, we plant seeds of change and opportunity that enhance people’s everyday lives.

Long-lasting change comes from within individuals and within communities. Against this backdrop, Sappi Southern Africa launched the Abashintshi (’Changers’ in isiZulu) programme, aimed at establishing closer engagement with communities and achieving social change. The project plants seeds of opportunity by training youth to mobilise their communities to develop themselves in line with the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) model.

Key elements

The Abashintshi programme comprises four key elements:

  • The Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) model which aims to empower community members to use what they have, instead of focusing on what they need or don’t have.
  • Youth life skills training.
  • Ifa Lethu (‘Our Heritage’) which documents the legacy of the elderly in the community in order to continue with successful practices and learn from mistakes. 
  • Holiday programmes with children.

Assessing the impact

The Abashintshi programme has had a significant social impact across multiple dimensions and indicators, in all regions. It has helped to change perceptions about Sappi, created open channels of communication between communities and Sappi and put in place systems to create economic opportunity.

The Abashintshi programme has put systems in place to create economic opportunity.

The Poverty Stoplight evaluation tool highlights the fact that through the ABCD training, community members are changing various dimensions such as income and employment as well as education and culture by starting new employment for themselves while using life skills to improve their spheres of health and environment through an emphasis on cleanliness and physical health and the Ifa Lethu cultural training to keep in touch with their cultural legacy. 

A total of 448 families have been assessed over three years, with the chart below showing that over this time period, families are gradually moving out of poverty.

Independent assessment shows that over time, families are gradually moving out of poverty.