The vibrant community of Breyten has untapped potential for marginalised women who are resilient in sustaining their livelihoods even with unequal employment opportunities.

Breyten is a small farming town in the Mpumalanga province which has a dominant mining sector. Dwindling job opportunities for women and the youth did not deter women in the area from forming agricultural cooperatives and home based care initiatives to assist the elderly and needy in their community.

Some of the women in Breyten during a focus group discussion.
Some of the women in Breyten during a focus group discussion.
Another focus group discussion with community leaders in Breyten in December 2016.
Another focus group discussion with community leaders in Breyten in December 2016.

A visit in December 2016 left the Planact programmes team in awe at the magnitude of determination that the women in this community displayed in spearheading several projects with little support from their municipality.

During a focus group discussion, it became apparent that women were left vulnerable and not afforded the same employment opportunities as men in mining towns and through relocation from surrounding farms, lost their means of livelihoods. This resulted in women losing confidence in the ‘Institutional System’ and manifested a sense of hopelessness that no one was willing to assist them with their needs.

Planact promotes civic empowerment and the intention is that the women are capacitated and mobilised to express their needs in terms of the Integrated Development Planning (IDPs) and Social and Labour Plan (SLP). In 2016, Ford Foundation afforded Planact the opportunity to investigate and research the impact of the Social and Labour Plan on communities affected by mining.