Swaziland, Ezulwini Valley • 2017

July 09, 2017 - July 31, 2017

The Graduates Development Program of 2017 went to Swaziland to help local businesses develop. Our projects consisted of helping entrepreneurs with their bookkeeping, helping a social enterprise with its product development to set up a microfinance project at our partnering NGO. The team raised over €20K of funds through participating in events, organizing our own KamiSwazi party and of last but not least, the auction. In Swaziland we developed ‘Swazi Shake’, attended a local cooking competition and organized a sports tournament for the local kids. We had great fun working with the entrepreneurs, managers and NGO, and at the same time learned a lot from the business climate in a developing country. Looking back, the Graduates Development Program taught me a great deal. Both from working in such a motivated team, and working with the businesses. I am proud to see how much we could accomplish in just half a year of research and three weeks on location.

We provided help

The team of 2017 has helped five different entrepreneurs. The different projects are stated below:

  • Hosea’s Heart is an organisation that exists to empower the girls of Swaziland to achieve freedom from sexual abuse and hope for a better future by serving their physical, emotional and spiritual needs through a holistic, restorative process. The organization takes used products, or even trash, and creates new products, which are sold to support these young children.
  • Imvelo is a handcrafted accessory shop, selling both jewellery and bags. In doing so, the organization creates flexible work opportunities for women and provides a fair and sustainable income. GDP provided advice on basic marketing skills, making their website more user-friendly and developed a plan on how to reach the international market.
  • Bobholotsi flavours, Mankhoni and Melane is a combination of three shops, selling leather products, homemade jams and sauces, and accessories made of both leather and wood. GDP provided advice in the areas of bookkeeping, data capturing, basic marketing, product development and created a plan to access the international market.
  • A combination of three entrepreneurs
    • POP D, Tracy Thring fashion academy is a fashion training institution that supports local designers and sells local brands. They empower the designers to design clothing that complements diversity.
    • OXFO CREATIONS is an artist that creates handcrafted arts while improving the lives of the Nkhaba Rural Folk, where the business is based. Part of the art is created with rooibos tea leaves, which are attained by buying the tea and sugar for the community elderly which is then dried and collected for re-use.
    • Ematilankatsa makes handmade embroidery products, including handbags, cellphones, coin bags etc. In doing so, the teaches others how to make a living with their hand through embroidery. The group was also looking to training more people, like students in schools.
  • All out of Africa Foundation was the partner organisation of this year. They operate in six Neighbourhood Care Points, that support rural, orphaned and vulnerable children in Swaziland. Many of the local staff that assist them in the daily operation of the centres are unpaid. Ther were looking for fresh ideas to help provide sustainable income-generating initiatives. Each of the 6 NCP’s are different and employ women with different skill sets, so projects and financing options needed to be flexible.

Partner organization – All out Africa: All Out Africa offers inspirational travel experiences in amazing destinations in southern Africa provided by an experienced and dedicated team.

It is a group of companies based in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Botswana. It includes a non-profit foundation, social enterprise, and responsible travel business. The non-profit foundation arm implements important social and conservation projects and runs two research centres. The social enterprise arm offers volunteer, student and internship experiences which do social and environmental good. The responsible travel business arm offers responsible cultural, wildlife and adventure tours and also runs two award-winning lodges. Their goal is to share their passion for southern Africa’s people, places and wildlife with the world and offer experiences that change lives.

All Out Africa has hosted over six thousand volunteer and tour participants and many more lodge guests since its inception in 2004. Many of these people have become friends and ambassadors and are helping in various ways to build a better world. All Out Africa is dedicated to people, wildlife, travel, safety, education, and entrepreneurship. We have built lasting friendships with our partners and are deeply engaged in the local communities and conservation areas we work in and committed for the long term.

The GDP Team

GDP Committee

Maxime Kruisheer • Chairman
Melissa de Kant • Marketing, Internal, Research
Alexander Rinne • Controller
Marije Slump • Head acquisition
Kai Vlastra • Fundraising

GDP Team

Melinda Ferencz • Msc. Marketing
Marfal Fontes da Costa • Msc. (Development) Economics
Laura Hofland • Msc. Management Consulting
Rochelle Hoogendoorn • Bsc. International Business Administration
Noura Hzami • Bsc. Business Administration
Pepijn Paans • Msc. Transport & Supply Chain Management
Mariëlle Reuvers • Msc. Marketing
Robert Spijkerman • Msc. Financial Management
Luc Stefelmanns • Bsc. Economics and Business Economics
Marieke van Beek • Bsc. Business Administration