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Hlengiwe Cele  
 Mma Tshepo Khumbane’s mind mobilisation approach  

The term ‘Mind Mobilisation’ was first used by researchers from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to describe both the philosophy and the facilitation methods and approaches used by Mma Tshepo Khumbane to lead indigent households on a journey to food security. Mrs Khumbane is a retired social worker who devoted more than four decades of her working life to help women with malnourished children to stand up to apathy, helplessness and scorn, and to take control of their lives.

As a young social worker, many years ago Mma Tshepo realised how utterly pointless and, indeed, counter-productive it was when nurses at rural clinics would scold a mother because her child had ‘kwash’ and would angrily instruct her to give the child milk. In South Africa even today mothers still hate going to the clinic. They cannot understand how their children get ‘kwash’ if they are feeding them in a traditional way.

In her work Mma Tshepo Khumbane learnt to turn things around and give people hope and encouragement, coupled with practical skills to overcome hunger. Her ‘Mind Mobilisation’ programme aims to rekindle hope and open the mind to absorb the practical skills of low-cost organic production and rainwater harvesting to fight hunger at home.

According to IWMI‘s research there is a strong correlation between Mrs Khumbane’s approach and counselling approaches developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Mma Tshepo’s  and AA’s approach both indicate that a person needing a healing process   should firstly admit that she has a problem before anything could be done.

 Facilitators interested in adopting this approach to mobilise communities towards sustainable food gardening can ask for training manuals from the Water Research Commission which are available at no charge. These training manuals give step-by-step guidelines on how to approach households subjected to poverty until they generate income.

A book has also been published entitled The Journey of Mma Tshepo Khumbane. Another WRC  study on Homestead food Gardening Systems  (Report no:TT430/09) Publications  at orders@wrc.org.za or call (012) 330 -0340



WRC Book “The Journey of Mma Tshepo Khumbane “

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