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CSI: Peace Foundation Awarded a Stake in JHI Properties


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The Peace Foundation – a non-profit organisation which aims to alleviate rural poverty through sustainable and self-sufficient local economic development – has been awarded a shareholding in independent property services group, JHI Properties, as part of the company’s corporate social investment (CSI) programme.

Says Marna van der Walt, CEO of JHI Properties: “We are delighted to partner with this extremely worthwhile NGO, which is a broad-based black ownership trust with 100 percent black beneficiaries – of which 80 percent are women. As shareholders, the Foundation will not only benefit both from their investment but also in regard to the association with JHI.”

How the Peace Foundation Works

Established in 1993, The Peace Foundation is run on a co-operative model with centres or hubs created within rural communities, in order to achieve meaningful economic empowerment and skills transference. Upliftment programmes undertaken include farming initiatives, pre-schools, bulk buying and product distribution, skills training in regard to sewing co-operatives, crafters projects and bakery and a skills training academy for plumbing, electrical, welding, brick making and brick laying, among others. In addition, the Foundation introduces rural waste management initiatives and aims to improve water and sanitation as part of its focus on preserving the natural environment.

Nora Tager, executive director of the Peace Foundation comments: “Despite the harsh poverty experienced by those living in rural communities, there is currency coming into these areas through government grants and pensions as well as wages sent home from urban areas. However this money flows out again as rural inhabitants are forced to travel to the nearest town to buy provisions due to limited local commercial outlets, so the challenge is to reverse the flow of money out of these regions by creating self-sufficient, sustainable economies within local rural communities.

“Our model facilitates and promotes sustainable local economic development through the development of centres in these rural areas - connecting people to information sources, information and communication technology, government services and various economic partners. When launched the Foundation focused primarily on KwaZulu-Natal and the Limpopo Province, however the model is implemented wherever it is required,” she says.

Why JHI Properties Supports the Peace Foundation

In line with its commitment to environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility, JHI Properties supports a broad range of programmes which assist the communities in which it operates, and also helps foster entrepreneurs wishing to enter the industry. Such programmes provide training and education, creating sustainability for the community. Achieving in excess of 65 percent in regard to the five-year Property Charter targets, JHI is a Level 3 company and is 35 percent black-owned.

Training Programme for Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development

In addition to various CSI projects undertaken by JHI on an ongoing basis, other initiatives include a practical, three-month training and mentorship programme conducted for employees in the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development. For three consecutive days a week four staff members from this department were seconded to JHI for practical, practical on-site training and mentorship and theoretical learning at the company’s head office in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Fatima Essa, JHI Properties executive: public sector comments: “Underlining the potential for successful private/public partnerships, this programme enabled JHI to provide the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development staff with specialised knowledge and access to valuable experience and expertise across a broad spectrum. This incorporated property management; retail management and consulting; drafting of leases; facilities management (including supply chain procurement); public sector, development and project management; market research, analysis and strategic planning, and tenant and corporate representation, among others.

“In addition to being exposed to the business on a practical, daily basis, the interns attended workshops at JHI where they gained theoretical knowledge on various aspects of property management, and were assisted with coaching, self-development and research in order that each gained maximum personal benefit from both a practical and theoretical perspective,” she says. This then benefits the company and adds value to such organisations as the Peace Foundation where trained and educated employees can make an immeasurable difference.


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