Seriti Institute strengthens community organisation for social health and local economic development. It uses large scale participatory methods, and in its systemic interventions forges partnerships involving communities, government departments, non-governmental organisations, civil society and business.
Seriti's programmes are all designed to achieve social scale impact, with participation of hundreds of people and collaboration of all actors within an activity system. A coherent theory informs Seriti’s approaches, and is perhaps best expressed in the Organisation Workshop which forges organisational literacy amongst a large group of participants, while creating enterprises and social cohesion.
Seriti is one of the Implementing Agents for the South African government’s Community Work Programme, and was one of the main partners in the Kwanda reality TV show. Read more »
Kwanda was a Reality TV Show co-created with Soul City, in partnership with the Department of Social Development. It aimed at inspiring communities across the country to get organised to meet their social challenges. Kwanda attracted 2 million viewers in its first season in 2009. Seriti was responsible for all community mobilisation, education and organization within Kwanda, using methods that include community mapping, the Organisation Workshop and community coaching.
Kwanda has four focus areas viz. care of vulnerable children; reduction of alcohol abuse and the violence stemming from it; prevention of new HIV infections; and strengthening of livelihoods and local economic activity. Teams of 100 people from each community set out to make their community look better, feel better and work better by addressing these four sets of issues.
The core thesis of Kwanda is that when communities organize on their own behalf, it is possible for local government to deliver services and for other forms of social partnership to emerge that improve the quality of life in communities.
Kwanda has been hailed as an example of civic-driven change, characterized by four key understandings: a) ‘Development’ issues are interrelated and poverty underpins and compounds all of them. They must be tackled together, we must constantly look at the whole… b) Interventions aimed at the individual or small group are useful but limited; some solutions to ‘individual’ problems require shifts in culture; c) Policy makers can leave out the most important insights – those coming from ‘the community’, the people most affected; d) Change process needs all civic actors.
In the last years we have thus started to refer to a Kwanda process in communities, initiated by the Organization Workshop, which embraces all of these understandings.