by Margot Gutteridge

Helping women grow

BAT supports the Grootbos Foundation that helps the community

BAT supports Grootbos Foundation that aims to empower women
Empowering women

Situated in the picturesque Walker Bay Region of the Southern Cape is the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. This eco-tourism destination is committed to conservation of biodiversity and upliftment of local communities.

The Grootbos Foundation is the reserve’s non-profit arm which was established in 2003 to facilitate the environmental and social development practices of the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

British American Tobacco (BAT) South Africa is a proud supporter of the Grootbos Foundation having selected them as a donor due to the positive impact the foundation has on its surrounding communities.

The company supports the foundation’s Growing the Future Food Production and Life Skills Training programme. The objective of the programme is to provide food security and promote sustainable livelihoods amongst marginalised women through training and skills development in the areas of; vegetable growing, food production and life skills.

Growing the Future Food Production and Life Skills

The project was launched on Women’s Day in 2009. It empowers previously disadvantaged young women between the ages of 20 and 35 from the surrounding communities of Stanford and Gansbaai. Eight women are trained on the programme annually, learning skills such as how to grow organic fruit and vegetables using organic agriculture techniques, beekeeping as well as basic principles of successful animal husbandry.

Secondary produce from the surplus fruit and vegetables such as jams, pickles and chutney’s are also made and then sold at a profit. Furthermore, the programme exposes the women to basic business success principles. Growing the Future is partly funded by sales of the fresh organic and free-range produce that the women yield. This affords them the opportunity to contribute towards their education through practical work experience, further instilling a sense of pride within the women.

“We are very grateful to BAT South Africa for supporting our foundation. Due to their support we have been able to acquire much needed additional specialist staff and are currently compiling a new and improved training programme for the women,” comments Sean Privet, Director of the Grootbos Foundation.

BAT South Africa empowering communities

BAT South Africa’s corporate social investment policy focuses on four areas that they believe address South Africa’s key economic and social issues, namely: sustainable agriculture, empowerment, civic life and HIV/ Aids. The motivation for focusing on these priority areas is to support sustainability, economic growth, skills development and education for the most vulnerable people of South Africa.

We felt that the Growing the Future training programme was a perfect fit for us as it not only addresses the country’s agenda regarding food security, but also empowers women. Most of these women are from the rural areas and have come to the Western Cape in pursuit of job opportunities. It is envisaged that they will impart the skills acquired from this programme and go on to help empower their broader communities,” says Itumeleng Langeni, Head of Corporate Communication at BAT South Africa.

In addition to increased staff resources the funds received from BAT South Africa have to date contributed towards study materials, IT resources, infrastructural upgrades, beekeeping equipment and the upgrade of the egg sales and production centre at Grootbos.

Life enhancing skills

Skills acquired during the programme can be applied in various ways enabling the women to find employment in the agricultural sector or to form and participate in co-operative land use projects. They are able to grow produce at a commercial level or they could grow vegetables where they live while feeding their families and the local community.

The life skills component of the programme provides computer literacy training, health education including HIV/ Aids awareness and nutritional education. Proficiency in numeracy and English language are also key focus areas.

For more information on the Grootbos Foundation visit:

For more information on BAT South Africa’s Corporate Social Investment practises visit:

Oh behalf of: British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA)

T: 021 671 9130

C: 084 296 2689


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