South Africa is experiencing a long and very strict lockdown in the wake of the corona pandemic. What effects – with regard to the restrictions in the context of the measures to combat corona – is there on the project? How do you deal with that?
The lockdown in South Africa has an extremely negative impact on the South African economy. Even before Corona, the country had to struggle with high unemployment and economic difficulties. In the informal economy, a week-long lockdown can mean that people have no income to survive on. The effects of the corona pandemic can therefore be felt even more intensely in South Africa than in Germany.
The uMfolozi College was of course also affected by the lockdown. It is currently working in reduced operation. Since the colleges in South Africa have to largely finance themselves, the financial impact is not negligible and a major task is to ensure the future financial security of the college. Due to the desolate economic situation, there is a fear that local companies will not prioritize company training.
There are currently no short-term assignments of German specialists in South Africa, nor are South African specialists being trained in Germany, and there are currently no delegation trips. We have partially compensated for these cancellations through digital training. In the purely manual-practical area, such measures are often difficult or not fully implementable.
How could the current project develop and how could the collaboration be designed in the future?
We would like to help ensure that the structures that have been set up are sustained over the long term. German development policy can provide us with targeted support through targeted follow-up measures and cooperation opportunities. We would like to continue to contribute to the development cooperation of the BMZ through the cooperation with our previous and new partners and help to spread the good ideas of the project in South Africa. There are also good potential starting points in our close cooperation with GIZ and the South African associations.
What are the interests of KH Steinfurt Warendorf in this collaboration? How do you benefit from this?
With our international projects, we assume global responsibility and thereby also contribute to increasing the attractiveness of skilled crafts in our region. The KH is perceived more in public and the establishment of good networks to politics, associations and authorities is promoted by international partnerships.
Thanks to the international projects, we can also give specialists and trainees from our region or our organisation the opportunity to gain international experience in the form of expert assignments or internships.
We see ourselves as part of a partnership in which both sides learn and benefit from each other. We are not a classic institution for development cooperation, but an organization with a structure, goals and tasks similar to that of our partner organizations. Or to put it more specifically: we are educational and service providers for the skilled trades, as are the training institutions and associations with which we cooperate in the partner countries. Our partners greatly appreciate this approach.
Our positive experiences in South Africa were the basis for the development of further partnership projects. For example, we are now coordinating, among other things, another vocational training partnership in Mozambique and a joint project with GIZ for skills training in Jordan. Without the great personal commitment of our management and the support from our member companies and colleagues, these good results in the area of international projects at the KH would not have been possible.