WHO WE ARE
Friends of Chintsa (Friends) is a collaborative community based organisation located in Chintsa 41km north of East London, Eastern Cape. Friends is grounded in the desire to unite our community. We are commited to social transformation through the principle of equipping residents with the platform, support, resources and skills to excersise their agency to support empowerment in the Chintsa Community.
Friends is primarily volunteer driven and made up a number of initiatives that vary over time. The initiatives are led by Champions who generally do their own fundraising and may enlist supporters who contribute their time, energy and/or resources. The Champions and their initiatives maintain a certain level of autonomy but do report to the management committee to ensure alignment to our values as well as communication, collaboration and synchronicity between initiatives. The management committee runs transparent financials and are ultimately responsible to the residents of Chintsa and our funders. Friends has largely always been run by volunteers at all levels. We have however recently employed a member of staff to focus on internal organisational development and management; capacity development of local champions and community based organisations; and the coordination of our flagship project – the Unstressed Surf School.
How we started...
Friends of Chintsa was established in October 2008 by a group of Chintsa residents committed to supporting change within the greater Chintsa area. The founding of Friends also responded to increasing donations received primarily from foreign visitors who encountered Chintsa through a local tourism operation - African Heartland Journeys (AHJ) and their volunteer tourism division - Volunteer Africa 32o South (VA).
Initially Friends affiliated with WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa - the largest and oldest environment NGO in the country) as a ‘WESSA Friends Group’ and used this relationship to be mentored in good practice. The rapid growth and successes enjoyed by our projects and the capacity of the management committee, coupled to the broad ambit of initiatives which were not always aligned to WESSA’s objectives, led to the organisation applying for, and being granted NPO status in 2011. Although now three completely separate autonomous entities, Friends continues to enjoy productive partnerships with both WESSA as well as AHJ-VA.