EverGrow Foundation, previously known as Vinpro Foundation, was established in 2013 by Vinpro, the wine industry body for wine producers, to curb the harmful effects of alcohol harm, amongst other social challenges. Since then, the foundation has grown in order to support more agri-business and more agri-communities and recently changed its name to EverGrow Foundation.
Less than a year ago, the foundation, in partnership with Aware.org (The Association for alcohol responsibility and education) launched the Aware Ambassador Project. Today we are proud to announce that we have since recruited and trained 40 incredible women, the “Aware Ambassadors”, to be much needed agents of change in their rural farming communities, often forgotten by mainstream planners and funders.
The Aware Ambassadors have become true heroes in their communities, as one beneficiary noted: “I don’t know what we did before she came along’. We have so much to look forward to now. She listens to our issues and she actually provides support and actual solutions. I used to be a heavy drinker, but since the Aware Ambassador shared the dangers of alcohol harm with me, I have decided to change my drinking habits. I am working on becoming a better person and to contribute to my family in a positive way.”
Alcohol harm in South Africa has been a contentious issue for a long time. The extent of the problem and its widespread consequences not only on people’s lives but on the entire socioeconomic environment has been brought to light by the lockdown and the recent alcohol bans and cannot be ignored any longer. The Wine industry through the levies to Aware.org, has proactively embarked on a programme which looks at much needed social support to the most isolated of farming communities, in order to ensure that the risks of alcohol related harm is mitigated and minimised.
These women are from the communities they work with, which means that rural communities not only have immediate access to social support, but also receive a trusted and understanding help in the event of a social challenges related to alcohol harm. The Ambassadors do not act alone, as they are continuously supported by the programme team which consists of social works and other social improvement specialists.
The EverGrow Foundation Aware Ambassadors are trained in basic community support skills, such as assessing the social needs of a community and identifying potential social threats to the wellbeing of the most vulnerable in our rural societies, i.e. women, children and the elderly. They are also equipped to develop ever-growing stakeholder networks for their communities in order to ensure that the vulnerable in their society are protected and supported.
These women have been active in their communities for only 9 months but to date have impacted the lives of more than 10 000 rural people. They have shared the dangers of alcohol misuse, especially during pregnancy, and they have provided their communities with much needed social support during a very trying time in the world’s history. We are immensely proud to celebrate their successes to date and we look forward to sharing more exciting impacts as this programme grows and develops.
With more funding we hope to broaden the scope of the programme to not only include more aware ambassadors on more regions within the Western Cape, but also to spread to different provinces which include the Northern and Eastern Cape, in particular.
If you wish to know more about this amazing programme called the Aware Ambassador project please contact the Evergrow Foundation at email@example.com