Canadians also visit Port, Lighthouse & Links
A three-day stakeholder engagement workshop on Local Economic Development (LED), hosted by the Kouga Municipality and their Canadian counterparts Prince Edward County (PEC) received positive reviews from those in attendance.
The workshop took place at the Mentors Country Estate from Wednesday to Friday last week and brought together representatives from government departments and agencies, business, non-governmental organisations and the local municipality.
The session is part of the Building Green Inclusive Municipalities (BIGM) partnership between Kouga and PEC, a project facilitated by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Kouga Planning, Development and Tourism Portfolio Councillor Bryan Dhludhlu said the aim of the workshop was to highlight the ways in which project management was approached, with some insights on knowledge management, LED strategies, tourism assets inventory management and community consultation strategies.
“The municipality is on a path towards crafting an LED strategy and we realised that we could not walk this path alone. As we seek to make the most of the partnership and learning from PEC, it is crucial that our social partners are part of the learning programme and are able to give input on the strategy that will help improve the economic status of Kouga and benefit the communities at large,” he said.
Dries du Preez from the Kouga Business Forum and the Fountains Mall said it was great to see diverse views being brought together under one roof to work towards a common understanding.
“We must, however, understand that we are only at the infancy stage and things will not happen overnight. This is a planning process which needs buy-in from everyone,” he said.
Aphiwe Masoka from the Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum said he found the presentations easily understandable and relevant to him as both a stakeholder and a young person. “It is important for us as the youth to be involved in the decision-making processes from the stage they are conceived, for learning purposes and for our voice to be heard,” she said.
Siphesihle Dela of Bayahluma Sewing Project said she was pleased to see the gender focus of the workshop and to see many women participating. “I am looking forward to seeing more women take on serious roles in the programme to challenge the male domination within the business sector,” she said.
Others who echoed the positive sentiments of the programme were Harold Loggerenberg and Caryn Hammond from On Eagle’s Wings, a voluntary organisation from Jeffreys Bay that works with vulnerable and abused people.
The workshop was conducted by the Prince Edward County delegation.
The BIGM three-year programme is funded by the Canadian Government.
Press Release – Kouga Municipality Media Liaison