OW Methodology

The Organization Workshop (OW) is a well tested method for large group capacitation in economic and social development.

This holistic organisational training approach was developed in Latin America in the 1960s and adapted to southern African over the last 20 years. Seriti Institute is the only practitioner of this method of community development in the region. It is a real, practical exercise to facilitate the development of organisational consciousness in a social group that needs to act as an enterprise (i.e. in an organised manner). In March 2007, the OW was piloted in Munsieville, in partnership with the Soul City Institute for Social Justice, and incorporated social challenges into the workshop design; for the first time there was simultaneous attention to economic and social issues affecting the community.

Organization Workshop (OW)


Organization Workshop (OW); ecosystem alignment

A strong and coherent theory informs Seriti Institutes’s approaches, which is best expressed by the Organization Workshop that fosters organisational literacy among a large group of participants, while creating the conditions for all social partners to collaborate in activity that improves quality of life in a community. We are part of Integra Terra, the international network of OW practitioners, and adhere to the competence standards and accreditation procedures set out by the network. There has been a gradual increase in the use of the methodology over the last few years as a result of its effectiveness in bringing organisational awareness to communities while at the same time establishing enterprises, creating production infrastructure and catalysing responses to social challenges.


The dramatically positive effects of the OW were highlighted in the Impact Evaluation carried out by Singizi in July 2010. Langa & von Holdt (New South African Review 2, Wits University Press, 2011) documented its effects in strengthening social cohesion and combating xenophobia.


Between 2007 and 2015, 10 Organization Workshops were held, with the last being the Westonaria OW in 2015 where over 200 jobs were created in enterprises involved in vegetable production, poultry, sewing, landscaping, community media, construction, Early Childhood Development (ECD), security services and waste recycling.


The 10 Organization Workshops are as follows:

  1. Munsieville – 150 people (2007): Pilot for social issues within the OW. Other work included restoral of buildings, tree planting, food gardens, and rebuilding of farmhouse.
  2. Bokfontein – 200 people (2008): Informal settlement. Created cooperative garden; sunk borehole; developed road and recreation area; planted trees; and enlarged crèche. Community association forged linkage with local municipality.
  3. Kwanda Learning Camp – 450 people (2009): 4 hectares of citrus and three 3 hectares of vegetables planted, and irrigation installed. Chicken farm initiated; crèche enlarged; park created; trees and food gardens planted; campaigns on HIV/AIDS prevention, care of orphans, and vulnerable children; and 36 ECD practitioners trained to Level 1. 5 teams capacitated to transform their communities.
  4. Diepsloot – 200 People (2010): School renovation and fencing; social contracts in HIV/AIDS prevention, care of children, and reduction of alcohol abuse; 28 ECD practitioners trained to level 1; sports coaching; established orchards and planted shade trees; assisted vegetable enterprise to expand to 3 hectares of production; cleared 6km ‘hot spots’ of reeds and long grass; built 4 safe crossing zones for school children along stream; cleared taxi rank and repainted toilets; and renovated youth centre. Launched Community Work Programme (CWP) in partnership with local government.
  5. Galeshewe – 187 people (2010): 2 schools renovated; established 9 school gardens and orchards; established 0.8 hectare garden; built 20 stoeps around water sources in informal settlement; social contracts in HIV/AIDS prevention, care of children, and reduction of alcohol abuse – Phuza Wize campaign; 2 recycling enterprises formed; and 21 ECD practitioners trained to level 1. Catalysed government partnerships with community groups.
  6. Muyexe – 183 people (2011):School and crèche gardens established; social contracts in HIV/AIDS prevention, care of children, and reduction of alcohol abuse; 24 ECD practitioners trained to level 1; conducted social survey for entire village of 900 households; planted 2000 citrus trees at household level; assisted agricultural cooperative expansion from 3 hectares to 11.5 hectares and established poultry and piggery enterprises; built ablution facilities, fencing and paving at grave yard; donga rehabilitation; repaired 2 bridges. Partnership with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).
  7. Riemvasmaak – 160 people (2011): Local crèche expanded; renovated multi-purpose centre; established 1 hectare community garden; conducted social survey of 500 households; social contracts in HIV/AIDS prevention, care of children, and reduction of alcohol abuse – Phuza Wize campaign; established brick making enterprise; 22 ECD practitioners trained to level 1; and established 4 institutional gardens.
  8. Dysselsdorp – 180 people (2011): Established 3 hectare agricultural enterprise, and expanded 7 institutional gardens; cleared 3 graveyard sites; alien vegetation eradication; 20 ECD practitioners trained to level 1; renovated crèche; planted 3 hectares of spekboom for grazing, and planted 3 hectares of liquorice root for local extraction enterprise; social contracts in HIV/AIDS prevention, care of children, and reduction of alcohol abuse – Phuza Wize campaign; established 1000 tree fig orchard; built ablution facilities and ramps for disabled access at computer training centre; and conducted social survey of 2500 households.
  9. Ntambanana – 350 people (2012): Planted 13 hectares Moringa cropping, 5 hectares essential oils, 4 hectares vegetables, 2000 tree Mango plantation; plant nursery, sewing enterprise, piggery, formation of livestock and small stock association, poultry farm, and 8km fencing established; 1.8km water pipeline; built water weir at river; historic graveyard fenced; household survey enabling Local Economic Development (LED) strategy, HIV/AIDS prevention, and identification of vulnerable children; built milking sheds, and Futher Education and Training (FET) College: computer classes – 30 students every two weeks (sewing, brick-making, building and basic agricultural courses); processing and marketing cooperative established out of renovated clinic; and 25 ECD practitioners trained. 180 jobs created in 6 weeks. Links between government departments, traditional leaders and local community formed.
  10. Westonaria – 410 people (2015): OW enterprise cleared 20 hectares of land, ploughed it, planted trees, erected fencing for the farm, built stands for the park home, erected poles for shade netting, and built a base for the storage container. Renovation of 2 vandalised buildings to become small scale poultry houses during and after the OW. Demolished rooms at Cooke 2 converted into a sewing factory, and 16 participants enrolled to participate in sewing training and 35 more put on waiting list. A team of 30 participants involved in various landscaping contracts including parks, Cooke 2 and graveyard landscaping. Westonaria local municipality agreed to contract the cooperative once it had been formally registered. A cement block making slab built to produce bricks for local market. OW Building Instructor worked with 35 participants in brick-laying, carpentry, glazing, painting and other tasks, and skill levels of builders developed. In January 2016, the enterprise completed the poultry house and ECD resource centre. 9 units renovated at Cooke 2 during the OW (5 offices, sewing room, store, and 2 poultry houses).