The Community Conservation Fund Africa gives a voice to the voiceless

The CCFA focuses on community education and empowerment

GREENING OUR PLANET: The Community Conservation Fund Africa planting trees in partnership with Indalo Nursery.
GREENING OUR PLANET: The Community Conservation Fund Africa planting trees in partnership with Indalo Nursery.
Image: Supplied/CCFA

Since its inception two years ago, the Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) — a registered NPO, fundraising and grant-giving organisation focusing on community education and empowerment — has been involved in projects to improve the environment for people and nature.

These projects, in SA and Southern Africa, have had a positive impact, contributing to the alleviation of poverty, job creation, personal and social transformation and the creation of sustainable lifestyles.  

Projects vary from:  

  • education on how to care for the health of gorillas in Uganda;
  • bringing clean drinking water to communities;
  • stopping the illegal trade in endangered grey-crowned cranes;
  • creating green landscapes;
  • supporting elephant conservation; and
  • creating a fisheries project to support communities.

Closer to home and in collaboration with the Fish River Resort, the Mantis Community Upliftment programme and Stenden University of SA, the CCFA has helped upskill young people from the Kenton, Port Alfred and Prudoe areas, giving them an advantage in finding work in the hospitality industry.

Changing lives

Twenty-five local community members were selected to participate in a free five-day hospitality training course, to help secure a career in local restaurants and hotels.

SECURING A FUTURE: Proud participants on the hospitality training course.
SECURING A FUTURE: Proud participants on the hospitality training course.
Image: Supplied/CCFA

The course incorporated lectures, modules and practical experience, and covered a range of topics including:

  • introduction to hospitality;
  • bar and restaurant service;
  • personal leadership;
  • hosting;
  • housekeeping;
  • conservation communication; and
  • grooming and hygiene.

Each student received a certificate on completion and was thrilled to be job ready.

Teach a man to fish ... and feed him for a lifetime

A chef’s training course was sponsored for a group of students from the community to prepare them for a career in food production, performing basic functions in a professional kitchen environment. 

The training, facilitated by Stenden University, was held at the Fish River Resort for four weeks, with students using the resort’s kitchen and restaurant infrastructure.

The foundation was to establish basic skills and knowledge, followed by honing their culinary skills, with celebrity chefs sharing their expertise. It culminated in a culinary competition between groups of participants.

Students also received a chef’s uniform (jacket, pants, apron and hairnet), a knife set and course books.

“It was rewarding to see these students become more confident in the kitchen, mastering knife skills as well as creative plating,” says Ashley Palm, Fish River Resort general manager.

“We’re pleased that each found employment. In addition, two students, Saneliso Joka and Sinomncedi Fuzile, were chosen to continue their studies and enrolled for a three-year bachelor of commerce degree in hospitality at Stenden University.”

This was sponsored by the Mantis and Accor Hotel Groups.

How green is my valley

The Greening the Community project, a collaboration between the CCFA, Indalo Nursery and the Wilderness Foundation Africa, aims to bring nature back into the KwaNobuhle township on the outskirts of Uitenhage.

It's about encouraging residents to green the space in which they live, their community and country.

Indalo Nursery founder John Witbooi (affectionately known as Blackie), is the inspiration behind the project. Blackie works on the Hopewell by Mantis Conservation Estate next to KwaNobuhle, and whenever he walked home, he couldn’t help but compare the green and luscious estate with his dry and dusty township. 

“The value of planting indigenous trees is for our future generation, our children. Research has shown that trees are the most powerful carbon-capturing technology in the world. Planting more trees can help us in the fight against climate change but they also give us so much more,” says Blackie.

“People don’t have the knowledge about plants and trees or understand their true value. I want to change that. It’s so rewarding to see a tree you’ve planted grow and flower. It puts a smile on my face and in my heart.”

You can support this initiative by donating to the project or buying a plant cultivated by the nursery.

For more information on the projects sponsored by the CCFA, go to

This article was paid for by the CCFA.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.