Launch of the Changemaker Towns Network
Author: Simon Sizwe Mayson
Changemakers from towns across South Africa invited to join the Changemaker Towns Network, an action-inspired learning and support network, launching 2 March
On 2 March, the ‘Changemaker Towns Network’, a national learning and support network aimed at boosting the efforts of cross-sectoral stakeholders to regenerate small towns and regions will launch online. The network is convened by the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) and the In Transformation Initiative (ITI), yet is member-driven from inception to action.
Individuals and organisations with a passion for creating change in towns are invited to join, including residents, municipal officials, applied researchers, policymakers and enabling organisations, creatives and storytellers and media. Network members will be invited to submit names and logo ideas for the network as it progresses.
When: 2 March 2022, 10:00-12:30,
How: Via Zoom link. Passcode: 184834
The launch programme will include a diverse mix of changemakers, mayors, researchers and funders and will cover:
- ‘How to’ stories from four successful citizen-led partnerships
- Update on CoGTA’s Small Towns Regeneration Strategy and Implementation Plan (launching 28 February)
- Presentation on the ‘Small Towns of Tomorrow’ (Petites Villes de Demain) programme in France
There will also be opportunities for discussion and sharing of information around enabling economies.
What is the Changemaker Towns Network?
The Changemaker Towns Network is an action-inspired learning and support network connecting changemakers across South Africa, whether they are residents, municipal officials, applied researchers, policymakers and enabling organisations along with creatives and storytellers to amplify inspiring stories of success.
The network aims to support changemaking partnerships towards good governance, by growing connections within and between towns. Network members will be enabled through greater access to knowledge and resources and stronger social relations to share resources.
Curated gatherings will be held online every second month, and will include innovative elements that build meaningful relationships and inspire collaborative creativity to address challenges. Over the year in-person gatherings will be added, as momentum builds.
Why the need for a learning and support network for towns?
South African towns and their regions face many challenges, from persistent drought to ‘brain drain’ to bigger cities. Municipalities are overwhelmed, with many struggling to provide basic services. While some residents have given up hope, some become changemakers: fixing potholes, overcoming racial tension, or working to strengthen their municipality. Some form organisations and partnerships, enhancing their individual and collective changemaking. But many feel stranded and alone.
In 2021, the In Transformation Initiative (ITI) and the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) convened two online roundtable discussions with changemakers from small and intermediate towns in South Africa, including from citizen-led initiatives, university research units and local partnerships to overcome municipal challenges. Participants agreed on the value of a national learning and support network to support the efforts of cross-sectoral stakeholders to regenerate small towns and regions. The Changemakers Towns Network therefore aims to connect, support and promote the efforts of people and organisations bringing about change in small to intermediate towns, whether they are businesses, municipality departments or residents.
For further enquiries on the Changemakers Towns Network, please contact:
Simon Sizwe Mayson
EDP Programme Lead