South Africa


Empowering families to fight discrimination and poverty  

The Akhanani (which means building up each other) Good Shepherd mission in South Africa aims to promote the well-being and safety of girls and children in the most disadvantaged areas of the Eastern Cape Province, through care and protection services and through holistic empowerment of local families by improving women’s economic status and parenting skills. Various interventions are being carried out as a response to very high levels of poverty, unemployment, dysfunctional families that reflected in numbers of single parents and child-headed families, teenage pregnancies, and also large rate of school drop-outs, alcohol and drug abuse, persons caught in sexual commercial exploitation, illness and diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS.  


The project is implemented in the suburbs of the city of Port Elisabeth and includes activities focusing on eradicating poverty through empowerment of girls, women and children and addressing issues of gender-based violence. 

  • Children care and education services:  A feeding scheme has been set out to meet the needs of malnourished children and to improve their health. The project provides school tutoring to help children in their studies and group activities such as dancing, singing, drama etc. to enhance interaction and build a sense of community between different races and cultures. Children can enjoy a safe space that makes their schooling career successful and enhance their development and well-being, reducing school drop-outs and teenage pregnancies. 
  • Women empowerment through capacity building. The training centre provides training skills such as sewing, bead work, hard craft (recycling) and cooking to empower women and improve their economic status through capacity development. Women are sensitized also on parental/family life skills aimed at reducing children maltreatment and creating a more stimulating home environment for their development.  
  • Welfare services to girls, women and children for trauma recovery. To better understand the environment where the children, the girls and the women live and to assist them in improving their conditions home visits are organized. Thanks to partnership with other NGOs and civil society organizations, the project informs people living in the area on the available welfare services, that strengthen the family as a unit enable individuals and members to prevent personal and family problems and to deal with them when they arise.  


Port Elisabeth 






Local staff


Human Rights
Girls and Women's Empowerment
Community Strengthening and participation


Structural challenges and weak growth have undermined progress of South Africa in reducing poverty, which have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. High inequality is perpetuated by a legacy of exclusion and the nature of not inclusive development, which does not generate sufficient and decent jobs for most fragile population. 

In South Africa more than one out of every five adults lived below the food poverty line in 2015 while 33,8% were living below the lower-bound poverty line. South Africans’ likelihood of being trapped in poverty is particularly determined by gender, race and location, and women are the most affected by extreme poverty. A low labor force participation rate is caused by a number of factors such as poor education, lack of economic opportunities, that together with gender are also strong drivers of poverty. All these factors particularly affect the Eastern Cape Province (called Natures Haven), where GSIF and their local partners work, which is the least resourced area of the country and has the highest unemployment rate.  

Facts and figures

114/189 ranking UNDP Human Development Index (2019) 


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