More about Us...

Origin of Our Name

'Uthango' is a Nguni term that refers to the traditional circular kraal where families protect their livestock, encourage dialogue and make important decisions in rural Africa. It was chosen by our first beneficiaries as the name for our company. The reason was given that we protect and grow wealth in local communities - in the same way as the outer hedge of a 'kraal' keeping farm animals safe. It was also explained to us that the 'kraal' is also a sacred place in the culture, where celebrations take place and important decisions are made. We could not find any better name or be more honoured!

Traditional Kraal
Who We Are

We position ourselves on a meso-level between the corporate sector, development agencies, governments and the actual communities they serve. We engage in innovative ways with like-minded companies and agencies, and then implement locally created projects based on grassroots research.

The company's two executive directors, Erna Sittig and Dorette Steenkamp, conceptualised and implemented the Award-winning Uthango Enterprise Project funded by the Rotary Club of Claremont (2002-2005). The integrity of our intervention was celebrated when "Sustainability, Innovation and Accountability" were recognised as key principles in our approach by the external evaluators from the Impumelelo Innovation Awards Trust.

Our core team of seven staff members have combined experience of 33 years in the areas of social entrepreneurship and community development. As a collaborative learning organisation we strongly believe in the wisdom of crowds to solve problems collectively. We therefor appoint additional team members directly from communities into our company, and have employed thirty-nine temporary staff members formally during 2007.

What We Do

We are also greatly interested in transferring knowledge between Western and African societies. In doing so, we use the latest media such as virtual information technology (VIT) and mobile solutions. We have a keen interest in the practical application of academic research and often partner with institutions and intellectuals to find workable solutions to poverty-related issues.

We operate from South Africa and invest in development initiatives to bring an end to injustice and lack of economic freedom. It is our challenge to turn the vested corporate social investment ideas of companies into sustainable, well-monitored public-benefit programmes. We are often asked to implement broad-based economic development programmes for companies.

How We Do It

Native intelligence is critical to solve local problems and we are well placed to facilitate interaction between communities and companies. Our trademarked community profiling process (with its gap analysis) and extensive consultation with local organisations inform all our interventions.

We relentlessly seek to truly known the local, poverty-related challenges of specific communities. Our core purpose is to facilitate access to meaningful opportunities with relevant skills! In doing so, we are often seen as a relationship broker and bridge-builder between diverse interest groups to create mutual benefit. We take "information poverty" as serious as any other kind of poverty....

In confusing and interesting times, the world needs courageous people to gravitate towards each other and bring hope. Not only do chaotic times call on individuals with a passion for change to act on beliefs, but it also ask for leaders with compassion and integrity to challenge the status quo.

We can also forward our complete company profile, annual BBBEE Certificate or SARS Tax Clearance certificate on request. Detailed references of clients and a track-record report on delivery are also available. We look forward to explore synergies with like-minded companies and professionals interested in development.
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.
- Mohandas K. Gandhi
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