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South Africa tour highlights the power of partnership

February 10, 2015 Leah Ettarh

Local women work in the community garden in Hamburg, South Africa, where the Keiskamma Canada Foundation provides several development programs.

As a member of the Alberta Council for Global Co-operation, the Keiskamma Canada Foundation has been selected to host the Change Your World: Alberta Youth Leadership Tour to the Eastern Cape region for two weeks this July. The tour is an opportunity for five Alberta youth, grades 9 to 12, to learn about the organization’s work, engage with community students and their supporters, and learn how partnership allows everyone to learn and grow.

The Keiskamma Trust has worked along the rural, wind-swept coast of the Peddie South District in South Africa’s Eastern Cape for more than 10 years. The organization strives to enrich and encourage healthy families, individuals and entire villages by providing innovative and multi-faceted community development projects that together provide holistic support and intervention for the region’s population. The trust is supported in Alberta by the Keiskamma Canada Foundation, which was created in Edmonton in 2008.

The backbone of the trust’s work is a fabric art project that provides work and income for community members. The trust also operates a comprehensive community health program that’s active in 47 villages, focusing on primary health and reducing the burden of preventable disease.

On top of this, the trust also offers educational opportunities for more than 700 children and youth in the region, ranging from preschool early childhood development programs to training in information and communication technology, and even a music academy. Such opportunities provide the youth with a wider world view, extending the students’ perspectives beyond the confines of their poor rural setting and giving them confidence and a belief in their own power and ability.  ❚

This year’s tour will be the fourth that the Alberta Council for Global Co-operation has conducted with Alberta youth. It’s fully funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and is free for participants. Nomination forms will be available on the council’s website on Feb. 17. The deadline for submissions is April 1. More information is available at or by email at

Leah Ettarh is the program manager for the Alberta Council for Global Co-operation.

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