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Education And Training

Clover Mama Afrika’s 15 year empowerment journey has lost no steam

Clover Mama Afrika is a sustainable Corporate Social Investment project that has been in existence since 2004. Over the years the project has hosted 353 training sessions with over 2066 beneficiaries. Teaching and guiding strong females (lovingly called ‘Mamas’ due to their standing in their neighbourhoods) in communities all over the country, in order to build their skills and sustain and improve their own community projects. Only the most committed are enrolled and these include women looking after orphans, the elderly and those suffering from HIV/Aids.

Social-TV caught up with Prof Elain Vlok of Clover Mama Afrika to speak on the work the project has produced for the past 15 years.

Upskilling seems to be at the heart of the Clover Mama Afrika movement, what has made this a central focus for the project?

Women are often the support systems of our households and communities. When women are empowered, their families and their communities thrive and they become a powerful driving force in the economy. Therefore, upskilling is a core focus of our programme – it allows for skills transfer and ultimately, through our experience, the development of several lives, homes and families.

Since inception, the very heart of the project has been the principle of empowerment of women. The project helps women and communities to help themselves. The Clover Mama Afrika ethos is “Ukwakha Isizwe”, which means “building and nurturing our nation.

Clover Mama Afrika selects women who have already made a positive impact within their respective community. They have earned the respect of such community.

Through the project, they are given the physical and emotional tools such as cooking, baking, sewing, quilting, business/financial management, food gardening, bread baking skills, welding and assistance egg-laying projects amongst others. Through training and support, they’re able to uplift their lives by generating a regular income and better lives for themselves, the children they care for and their communities. These women then need to share their newly-found skills with others.

Clover Mama Afrika wants women to become sustainable in order to create employment, thereby being able to take better care of the members in their care. Clover Mama Afrika has established a reputation for being one of the country’s most innovative, effective and sustainable corporate investment programmes, bringing tangible benefits to the people it aims to uplift.

What has been the maintenance strategy to make sure the programmes are effective and relevant for those involved?

Clover Mama Afrika values the integrity and the hard work that each of their Mamas put into their centres and the work that they do on a daily basis. By being thorough and ensuring every Mamas centre is of the highest standard, it in return allows for the mamas to provide the best skills within their given community.

The team believes that no relationship can be a success unless there is a great support system and open communication.

Regular monitoring and evaluation are done (via on-site visits and receipt of regular reports) to ensure that the centres are sustainable and that the mama’s are working on their set out objectives.

The team also ensures that regular evaluation is done for the Mama’s to check if their monthly reports, are implemented correctly. The nature of the project means mamas are constantly in touch with the organisers, from proactive meetings and training sessions, to surprise visits and check-ins. These surprise visits allow the team to proactively check up on the status of projects with little warning, giving the Clover Mama Afrika team a true reflection of the situation.

Example: Clover Mama Afrika regularly does roadshows, where they go on the road to do a surprise visit to the amazing Mamas to establish their progress and needs in their respective projects.

 How has the project allowed the beneficiaries to have a voice in the upskilling process? How does the movement choose the kind of skills that are eventually transferred?

Clover Mama Afrika identifies female matriarch in all/any communities throughout South Africa that are already doing good for their communities. Great care is taken when selecting a Clover Mama Afrika as she needs to have already started a nurturing and protective environment for the people they care for and managed a care centre for between three and five years, have managed a group of ladies for between three and five years and committed to job creation.

 The mama’s skills training is defined by the need within their respective community.  They also have a voice in their upskilling by also transferring the new-found skills to recreate new jobs. The objective is to provide accessible and affordable services within their community.

What goals has the CSI movement set for the year and has the first quarter of the year been successful in setting those goals up?

The goal is to achieve sustainability and we are happy to confirm that our Clover Mama Afrikas are achieving this.

Ultimately what part has the  Clover Mama Afrika Movement played in the NDP plan and how has the programme’s contribution aided its beneficiaries particularly, elderly women in SA communities.

According to, “The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society”.

 The Clover Mama Afrika project itself completely revolves around the development and empowerment of individuals who have community projects. Each Mama assisted has a centre or community project with a different focus, whether it’s helping children and the elderly, the Clover Mama Afrika project exists to develop these women and their projects, the people they employ and invariably, their communities.

 The project aims and achieves positive impact in communities, thereby contributing to the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality, by enabling women to develop themselves and others through skills transfer.

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