The Road to Economic Freedom in Communities (Workshops)

Background

Community Literacy and Numeracy Group (CLING) members initiated discussion about income generating projects in Freedom Park, with a view  to establish cooperatives in the area. The establishment of cooperatives is linked to how local economies operate, and it was agreed that those members who are interested in such projects need to have a clear understanding about how the local economy works in order to set up sustainable initiatives.
 
CERT and CLING held a workshop in Freedom Park with a view to locate cooperative projects strategically in order to make them successful and sustainable.
 
The expectation was that the workshop will offer guidelines toward community well-being through collective interventions in both production and consumer cooperatives. There are many lessons to be learnt on reorganising economic activity in our townships, and this workshop was seen as a starting point towards practical initiatives, as well as to dislodge resources to make it possible for communities to take control and ownership of local economies. The efforts are geared towards educating
community activists with regards to basic economic concepts and the role it can play in developing communities.
 
The workshop served its purpose - to start a structured discussion in communities about organising local economies in a way that benefit people collectively, and not to further allow communities to be seen as markets and labour pools to be exploited. It also served as the basis for a more focused study of all aspects of economic activity within a community. This will include gathering information to plan a community specific strategy for projects to be initiated.
 
Towards this end, a group of ten activist in each community will become part of the research process that will provide guidelines for the type and structure of cooperatives to be established, and to network within as well as outside of communities to create a new mind-set about how we consume and produce, to improve socio economic conditions in townships.
 
City of Johannesburg "JOZI WORKS" Programme 
 
CERT has been participating in discussions in City of JHB Economic development forums.