Sign up for our email newsletter today!


Social Media


Sunday, 15 April 2012 22:19

My Arms Wide Open® Community Business Model

Written by  Warren Te Brugge
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Working from a philosophy where there is zero dependency on the initiating NGO

My Arms Wide Open® is a Canadian Federally registered foundation that was established to work with mothers, children and youth to create change in rural communities by stimulating and creating economic activity around autonomous, sustainable community based businesses, food security, infrastructure, education systems and mentoring and leadership focused entirely on the needs of their communities. The first community based business established, was Karoo Furniture Manufacturers in Cradock, Eastern Cape, the next is Bergnek Community Projects in Bergnek, Limpopo, which will be a brick-making business.

Starting the Process - My Arms Wide Open® Community Business Model

IMG 3396DonateNowButtonWe start within each community by facilitating our Iziko Labahlali® (Hearth of the Community) program that focuses on mindset, helping the participants to see themselves as deserving, contributing members of their communities. Through the course of the program we identify needs and skills within the community and then work to develop opportunities to establish economic activity around those needs to build autonomous community based enterprises, transferring in the gaps in the skills required. We make the initial seed-loan start-up investment and set up a management board comprising of members of the community and commit to a full 5 years of working alongside the employee members of the community as they earn out the shares of the company. In rural South Africa, as we set up these endeavours we currently do not use a co-op model for this because of the high incidence of co-op failures generally. We use what is called a closed corporation which the government recently moved into a private company structure. Each community has the potential to be different based on the local circumstance and regulations, depending on what country or region they are located in.

What makes it different?

IMG 5414Where we perhaps differ from others is possibly in how we begin the process in environments with extreme circumstances(unemployment, poverty, health, violence, abuse), as we noted above. We first assist and engage around mindset to help and enable the community members to accept and acknowledge themselves and their circumstance without looking outside to place 'blame'; to be able to see their reality and work from there, for some for the first time in their lives. We do not dismiss the fact that they have in fact been 'put upon', taken advantage of, abused and ignored by past and current regimes, we simply want to create awareness of: where they are starting from (so that they can create a plan to live forward for themselves); the fact that they are valuable and can make a contribution; and as a result of this awareness, understanding and acceptance, how they in fact are able to take the steps to create real change for themselves without relying on or waiting for someone else to do it for them, including us. We are simply the enabler and a supporter, they are the change agents. They design their own future, by asking questions we help to identify opportunities for them to choose from and decide how they will take advantage of those or not and where they fit into their own plan of their future.

Who is setting the direction?

The actions which take place within the community are driven by the community itself including the decisions and choices they choose to make. Our goal is not steer them but to mentor them and transfer skills as needed. What we bring into focus within the community itself are the actual needs that exist within the community and then build economic activity around these needs to create traction, supporting them start to growing and ultimately thrive. To protect ownership for the community, the My Arms Wide Open foundation charter was written and established where it does not own the businesses, it can invest through the seed-loan and the adapted loan forgiveness structure and offer assistance and support. The considerations that we applied when this was done were focused on achieving the 'create no dependencies', 'ask only questions' and 'do nothing for, only with' mandates we imposed on ourselves.

The Commitment

KFM 3We commit to be involved on the management board as advisers and to transfer in skills as required. Through the charter of the community-based company the participating members agree through formal agreements (where appropriate) to a number of items and make a personal and collective commitment to these, which are:

  • Each person participating in the venture must have attended and completed our Iziko Labahlali program;
  • Each person must be permanently resident in the community;
  • Create a focus on the understanding and critical thinking by agreeing to ask 'why' things are done not just 'how' they are done - we believe each person will learn how anyway, which is simply learning a process or route. What we want them to see is the bigger picture of why each action or component is important;
  • Through the 'why' they learn every aspect of the business and create transparency in reporting and accounting - creates an open system where each person understands what is happening and how they each contribute to the success of the business, where they fit in and creates a real sense of value and worth.
  • Each person agrees to remain fully active within the business for a full five years for their share grants to vest - we evaluate personal growth (skills), team support and community support and development annually making share grants that accumulate to each person as determined by their own commitment and participation so that by the end of the 5-years they  collectively own the entire business and a portion of the businesses they have helped to create and support by mentoring and supporting others to do the same(see below);
  • They each agree as a team to invest 25% of the bottom line from their business each year into new community based business that is started by new Iziko Labahlali graduates in either their own community or another community we are working in - by doing this we grant a seed-loan forgiveness amount each year until the value is depleted at which point they can continue to make investments if they choose - we encourage this of course;
  • Mentor and support those new businesses - they have a vested interest;
  • Each person agrees to act and conduct themselves in the best interests of their fellow 'owners', the business, their families and community;
  • Look for opportunities to make each business sustainable within the community environment.

What does the My Business My Community Structure achieve?

Cause RelationshipsWhat we achieve is we create a web of autonomous businesses within the community that are all connected through a common and vested interest in each others success. It is our goal to develop 1,000 of these communities throughout Africa to create a web of connected and vested communities.

The design of the business structure itself serves to re-form what has become a linear existence and society for most back into a society the flows as a circle engaging all levels, restoring a balance that includes the environment and every part of the demographic of the community back into the whole. We want to see these communities live and thrive, not merely exist. We support the creation and sustainability of the whole through each of the My Arms Wide Open causes:

Are we done yet?

Do we have all the answers or have it perfect? No, far from it, we are in our infancy. However, we believe it is a start and we are learning and adjusting continuously as we engage with communities and collaborate with other organizations. It is our belief that it will take a feminine energy to restore balance and a holding of hands and collaboration from all quarters to create the change we need in our world. We are here to make our contribution.

How do we generate revenue to fund initiatives?

All revenue and income from the community businesses are for the benefit of the communities and the new businesses they choose to support. We generate revenues through our consulting work and services at Manzimvula®, which itself is a B Corp and donate a percentage of its top line revenues to My Arms Wide Open. In addition to that, we fund the community initiatives through grants, public donations and gifts in kind. We are confident that by abiding by our guiding principles and working alongside the community members they will achieve the goals and vision they have of their futures.

Your Comments: Let us know what you think. For more information or if you would like to find out more about or support our My Business, My Community Programs and the Iziko Labahlali ProgramTM, please contact us using the information below or visit the donate page to make a contribution.


For more information please contact us at: email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Support members of the rural communities in South Africa to participate in the Iziko Labahlali programs and BE a Part of the Change! DonateNowButton-sm

Read 13319 times Last modified on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 05:37


  • Comment Link city bank loans Monday, 16 December 2013 07:27 posted by city bank loans

    best loans for poor credit no fax no credit check payday loans loans for people with bad credit no guarantor direct payday lenders no teletrack

  • Comment Link mulberry tillie bag Monday, 09 December 2013 04:34 posted by mulberry tillie bag

    [url=]hogan prezzi[/url] That channel already costs north of $5 a month per subscriber. That cost can only go higher and ESPN doesn't seem to care. "We don't determine what your cable bill will be," ESPN president John Skipper said during Wednesday's MLB announcement. I would have suggested a slow roll back to normal tax rates. That would start with rates for those earning over a 1 million and work it down to those earning 250k. The point is that the Bush tax cuts were never paid for and need to be removed to start to get things paid down.
    [url=]ugg boots[/url] A tester bottle is not worth $50, and when I called the Hollister lawyer he said it is not documented it was a tester bottle. If he has not been prosecuted and tried in court the information point I was offering is that perhaps the store would drop the charges against your son. That would avoid prosecution and the potential for a criminal record..strategies for small men form
    [url=]moncler outlet online[/url] What you need to do is go about fashion slowly. Get some dark wash jeans from American Eagle. They are about $20, fit well and look great. One user quickly replied: the mummy ? It Harry ? x while another was quick to realise it was just a joke in honour of the day, writing: happy april fools day!!! you really scared me hahaha. If it's a girl he's calling it Anne. If it's a boy, Juan Direction Styles.
    [url=]hollister france[/url] HDB 309 (Azimuth. = 330 deg, Inclination 30 deg) penetrated a significant, previously unrecognized 16.5 ft (5 m) quartz vein zone from 783 799.5 ft (238.7 243.7 m), located within a broader 30 ft (9 m) deformation zone. This 16.5 ft (5 m) interval includes zones of heavy white clay and milky quartz veining cut by veins with grey quartz and minor naumannite (Ag selenide), quartz vein brecciation, and two notable areas with strong adularia coating on fractures.why producer erynn dalton and director jeffrey d
    [url=]hollister[/url] Noticed how he said she is legally qualified. That means that she is never going to be a nominee for President, she isn't smart enough. We see how they at least shut down Michelle Bachmann on the census. "So I dropped everything and went." The only way to approach it was by helicopter, but extreme cold ( 40C) meant Sergey had to wait until it was warm enough for the helicopter to take off. Flying towards the volcano, the cloud of ash, smoke and steam was so thick that he couldn't see the crater. But every so often, a strong wind blew the clouds away, and he could see a 200 metre high fountain of lava spouting out of the crater and fast flowing, molten rivers of lava running down it (some of these would travel 10 kilometres, sweeping away everything in their path).

    To achieve this the new store utilizes an audio visual projection system to display a live video feed from Huntington Beach, a beach in Southern California, across the storefront 179 glass windows. The video projection is accompanied by an audio sound track of ocean waves crashing on the shoreline with a video of a lone surfer paddling out against the waves moving slowly up and down. The effect is quiet hypnotic and provides a strong contrast of natural imagery against the concrete and steel of New York Fifth Avenue and capturing the attention of pedestrians passing by.. [url=]louboutin pas cher[/url] Rap isn't my thing the way jazz or R is. This much I did know, Trayvon looked nothing like the 31 year old pictured. Fake photos of Trayvon are all over the internet. Unka awoke to screams coming from throughout the village. Panicking he looked for his son was nowhere to be seen, nor his daughters. A foul odor was filling the air. [url=]hogan outlet[/url] Here is what I find most troubling. Mike DeWine is a Republican who is a career politician. For Republicans who are against "big government" and who favor "free enterprise" and not government dependency, why is it they elect professional politicians to office, those who have no record of commercial success or achievement?. [url=]Louboutin pas cher[/url] We need to protect our state."After Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour toured Petit Bois Island, he promised to marshal all the resources needed to fight the pollution. Before Wednesday, Barbour more common response to the Gulf spill had been to encourage tourism, telling visitors that there was "nothing to worry about here folks." Now he calling the oil on the barrier island "a wakeup call."At a Wednesday morning briefing, Coast Guard Adm. Barbour was told he needed a hard sided gun case directed to the Jet Blue ticket desk where he could purchase one.A short time later, Barbour returned to the checkpoint and told TSA agents that he had no weapons and boarded a flight from Syracuse to Denver through Boston.Airport custodian Miguel Ortiz, 28, of Syracuse, came to Syracuse police about that time with a Ruger .480 cal. Revolver and a strange story of a man who gave it to him.Ortiz told police he was shampooing the carpet in the mezzanine ramp area when an employee of Delaware North told him a man he was talking with offered him a free gun.Delaware North employee Joseph Shepherd, 45, of Syracuse, told police he thought the man was joking when he offered Shepherd what the man called "a $700 bear gun." The man told Shepherd his flight was leaving and he had to get rid of it, records state.Shepherd told police he motioned towards Ortiz and asked him if he wanted the gun, records state.Ortiz believed the weapon to be a type of BB gun and agreed to take it for free, records state.Ortiz said the man took a large handgun out of his luggage and placed it next to Ortiz's coat on a nearby planter while Ortiz continued to shampoo."Of great concern is this area where the gun was discarded is within the Child Zone (children's play area) and could easily be accessible to any child," police records state.After a while, Ortiz looked at the gun, decided it was real and turned it over to police. Otiz did not know the man, but described him as a tall man with a day old beard, records state.While Barbour was in the air, flying to Boston, Syracuse police and TSA agents figured out Barbour's identity by interviewing witnesses and reviewing videotapes and the plane's lists of passengers, said Gary Milano, federal security director for the Homeland Security Department's Central New York division.Milano said people who want to fly with their weapon in their checked baggage must tell TSA agents they have a weapon and it must be secured in a hard sided case.Does Syracuse have enough cops? Budget realities keep the force leanToday in Washington: Democrats join Maffei backing delay in health law's individual mandateSyracuse activists demand city jobs from Inner Harbor developer..

    [url=]scarpe hogan[/url] Wet SealI love Wet Seal! Not only are there prices amazing, but for those of us who don't live by one and are ok with shopping online, their shipping is pretty much always under $5. They have a lot of different styles of clothing, whether you like vintage or something a little edgier. Most of their shirts range from $7 20 and their sale section (did I mention they had not only a sale section, but also a clearance section?) is even cheaper than that! A few times a year they have their buy something in the clearance, get something for a penny sale!.
    [url=]louboutin pas cher[/url] Blige and Gladys Knight) and Madea, April soon realizes she must make the biggest choice of her life: between her old ways with Raymond and the new possibilities of family, faith and even true love. A BlackTree Media Production Thank you for watching!Tyler Perry's latest stage production The Haves and the Have Nots opened September 27th in Detroit and is currently touring the East Coast. I saw it Saturday in Washington, DC where it has a run from November 1 6th, 2011.Perry made a surprise appearance after the cast's curtain call and took a few minutes with the audience to talk about his new TV show on TBS, his upcoming Tyler Perry network, on continuing to write plays, how he doesn't understand Hollywood and shared why he chose to cast Kim Kardashian.The most moving part of the night is when Perry gave an inspirational talk about how he's failed and got back up again and encouraged everyone to "Take control of the dream that God has put inside of you.
    [url=]Moncler[/url] Murphy of Los Angeles, California; two daughters: Judy A. Trammell of Jefferson City, and Kay S. Tremaine and husband, John, of Holts Summit; one step son: Milton Greenway and his wife, Connie, of Oceanside, California; grandchildren: Jina K. While it's a shrine for serious shoppers, it can be a nightmare for people used to more civilized shopping. Insanely crowded at weekends, the malls shoppers will stop at nothing to find the treasures amongst the trash. Not for the faint hearted, the mall is located at 22 Cortlandt St (between Church St Broadway) in the city.

    [url=]barbour outlet[/url]
    [url=]hogan outlet[/url]
    [url=]hollister outlet[/url]
    [url=]Moncler Outlet[/url]

  • Comment Link Eugene Charter Service Saturday, 12 October 2013 19:01 posted by Eugene Charter Service

    Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog web site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit
    acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright
    clear idea

  • Comment Link flirtchat Wednesday, 09 October 2013 03:52 posted by flirtchat

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to ssay that I've really enjoyed
    browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and
    I hope you write again very soon!

  • Comment Link liveporn Wednesday, 09 October 2013 02:04 posted by liveporn

    Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My llast blog (wordpress) was hacked and
    I ended up losing a few months of hard work due to no data backup.
    Do you have any solutioons to protect against hackers?

  • Comment Link Saturday, 28 September 2013 23:55 posted by

    Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot
    drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and
    she has 83 views. I know this is completely offf topic but I had to share iit
    with someone!

  • Comment Link my website Wednesday, 04 September 2013 12:34 posted by my website

    The customer should take the particular payment terms,
    for example the total amount due, rates of interest and payment dates my website you can apply for no faxing payday advances right here,
    right now.

Login to post comments