According to the Gauteng City Observatory, the Gauteng City-Region (GCR) is South Africa’s largest consumer of resources an materials and plays a major role in perpetrating the country’s trajectory of unsustainable consumption. Viewing the city-region as a living organism, with a metabolism of resource inputs (e.g water, energy, food and raw materials), internal functions and waste outputs (e.g. waste, sewage and pollution), is a useful way of understanding the sustainability challenges facing SA’s key population and economic centre. The region will face a resource crises in the years to come if it cannot fundamentally change its built form and overhaul its infrastructure networks. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that there are many communities in the city-region that still lack proper education and job opportunities; and the fact that thousands of people are migrating to the city each year. For the first time in history, more people live now in urban than in rural areas. In 2010, urban areas are home to 3.5 billion people, or 50.5 per cent of the world’s population. In the next four decades, all of the world’s population growth is expected to take place in urban areas, which will also draw in some of the rural population through rural to urban migration.
Why we need to act now?
There are many non-profit organizations that focus on recycling and or urban greening, and many that focus on job-creation. Volition is combining the two focus areas as a means to an end for unemployment. If we need to prepare for more than half of SA’s population to migrate to our cities, we need to realize that the problem of joblessness, waste and congestion is not going to disappear but rather rapidly increase. Poverty and inequality remain perhaps the most stubbornly enduring developmental challenges confronting South Africa. While a strong social security system has provided crucial income support to the poor and effectively served as a poverty-alleviation measure, poverty levels remain very high. Of all the provinces, Gauteng had the greatest decrease in unemployment of 3% during the second quarter of 2012.
"a person’s inner force, intrinsic motivation and willpower that impels all action and behaviour"This is what it's all about
The word Volition describes a person’s inner force, intrinsic motivation and willpower that impels all action and behavior. This encompasses everything that we strive to do with this project.
Volition will be run as a social business, meaning it will be cause-driven rather than profit driven. It will not be a charity that distributes grants, but will be a business in every sense aiming to recover full cost. Volition’s bottom line will not be the amount of revenue, but the social impact of the venture.
In response to this crisis, Volition will focus on 2 areas to develop the vastly expanding city of Tshwane:
“The world’s 15 million informal recyclers clean up cities, prevent some trash from ending in landfills, and even reduce climate change by saving energy on waste disposal techniques like incineration” (Chaturvedi 2009).
Informal recyclers comb the dustbins and sidewalks of residential and commercial neighborhoods in
Tshwane and other cities of South Africa for selected solid waste items with resale value which they load onto makeshift trolleys. On foot and with sheer muscle power they pull their loaded carts for many kilometers through the streets to privately owned buyback centers where the waste material is weighed and sold. Recyclers operate independently of labour regulations and protection, without employee benefits, using improvised transport, and frequently inadvertently contravening bylaws and city rules in their living and working activities. But they are intimately entwined with the formal, recognized systems of urban life: essential suppliers to registered recycling businesses, intense users of city roads, sidewalks and public spaces, specialized reclaimers competing daily with the crude appetite of the City’s trucks.
The aim of Volition is:
- to support these entrepreneurs to further their business.
- to open numerous Buy back Centers that address the need for fair prices and equality
- to restore the dignity of waste pickers, and acknowledge the hard work that is done for the benefit of the community and the environment
(ii) Urban greening
Numerous studies have shown that urban agriculture can contribute to social, health, economic, and ecological benefits. Urban agriculture can be done in a wide variety of places: vacant lots, backyards, rooftops, window containers, city parks, roadsides, steep slopes, river banks,beneath high tension lines, beside railroads, schoolyards, hospitals, at the boundary of cities, even underground or up the sides of buildings. Urban greening and agriculture is not a new impulse, across the world, and particularly in developing countries many cities has started using every available space to grow various plants. In the most big cities in South Africa (i.e. Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban) various stakeholder partners has started this process of urban rejuvenation, however in Pretoria no major organization has undertaken this mission.
Greening Pretoria will:
- provide access to safe green spaces for the inner city community
- provide a training space for people who are desperate to move into the work force
- create food security