Growing a Stronger Nation

By Satyagraha Reporter

The Women's Hope Education and Training (WHEAT) Trust was launched on National Women's day, 9 August 1998. The trust was established with the two primary aims of women empowerment and promoting a culture of giving.

Nomvuyo Dayile, director of the trust said, “WHEAT Trust awards grants to organisations and individual women who focus on the disabled, adult education, street children, family counselling and income generation. Our main objective is to raise an awareness of the importance of giving amongst South Africans.”

WHEAT Trust is a feminist organisation committed to women's empowerment through education and skills training.  The activities of the trust include pre trust training and facilitation co-ordinating, monitoring growth, ongoing impact measurement, referral and support for quality service to grantees, funders and donors.  According to Dayile, “The Trust is currently rolling out a mentoring programme whereby women who need resources, advice and help in general, are matched with a corporate or individual willing and able to take them under their wing and assist with growth needs.”

With a focus on mentorship, the organisation is able to directly involve corporates with initiatives in disadvantaged and needy communities. Validation and screening plays an important role in selecting applicants and training providers. Lulama Sonqishe, a grant-making officer at WHEAT Trust said, "Training providers are screened and scrutinised to avoid manipulation of the application process. This ensures the use of legitimate training providers for legitimate Community Based Organisation (CBO) applications. This process is done stringently to guard against fraud.” According to Sonqishe, CBOs, or potential grantees are also assessed and scrutinised to ensure their applications are legitimate. “Grantees agree to a set of basic requirements, including reports to assist us with our monitoring process," she added.

“The operations of WHEAT Trust are governed by trust, accountability, honesty, loyalty, respect, understanding of women's issues and struggles for equitable treatment of all women, men and children irrespective of social status,” Dayile said. Companies who would like to take on a project and share their knowledge, experience and resources to expand the efforts by grassroots women leaders, are welcome to contact WHEAT Trust on 012 447 3366. The trust has a list of CBOs and an outline of their activities in the various regions across the country. “Companies could match up with a CBO involved in a project relevant to the company’s CSI focus, or just take up the challenge of mentoring where needed,” she added.

The motto of the trust is “A culture of giving is one where people care about each other and know that their own well-being is inextricably linked to the well-being of others” The trust is eager  to network with organisations with similar objectives in order to maximise joint efforts to support the grassroots women's leadership development.

“Everywhere in South Africa, there are women giving of their time and working hard to make a better life for their community. In order for these women to reach basic goals to grow their business ventures, they require training which relates directly to the needs identified in the community.” Dayile said.