JAM History

JAM has been at the forefront of the war against hunger since 1984, when founder, Peter Pretorius, was left stranded in Pambarra, Mozambique. There he witnessed the horrific consequences of starvation with children dying every day around him. Along with his wife Ann, they committed their future to joining the fight against hunger in Africa.

Today, JAM’s development as an aid organisation closely mirrors the strong development progress in the countries in which we work. From initially only providing lifesaving nutritional relief in one country, JAM has progressed to providing additional specialised programmes to match the needs of these developing nations.

Here’s a look at some of the most significant JAM milestones over the past three decades across the three African countries in which we work.

1984 › JAM is founded

The beginning of the journey

Following the Mozambican Government's plea to the international community for urgent humanitarian relief to help combat a famine that had placed nearly four million people at risk of starvation. Peter Pretorius, a South African businessman, was one the first people to respond to this call. He visited Pambarra Village near Vilanculos, Inhambane Province to see how he could contribute to the emergency.

After his pilot didn’t return to pick him up in Pambarra, Peter was stranded at the relief center for 10 days. He was heartbroken to witness the scenes of despair and misery at a place meant to represent hope. Here he witnessed up to 30 people dying of starvation everyday, leaving thousands of children orphaned. Peter, together with his wife, Ann, resolved to do something to alleviate the situation and hence JAM was born as a nutritional feeding relief focused organization. JAM’s first shipment from South Africa was 80 tons of foodstuffs to Pambarra.

Watch the history of JAM


The South African beginning

JAM begins drilling water wells in South Africa, focused particularly on the Eastern Cape, one of the country’s poorest provinces.

Learn more about JAM's Water Drilling operations in Africa


Red bowls reach Orange Farm

Primary school feeding begins in Orange Farm in February. The programme is designed to complement the existing Government national school feeding programme with breakfast porridge.


Feeding grows

JAM continues primary school feeding in Orange Farm, expanding from an original
5 000 learners to over 12 000 in 14 schools.


Shift in focus

SA Government introduces breakfast porridge into the national school nutrition programme in July. After consultation with Government, JAM makes the decision to withdraw from primary schools in December.


Focus on Early Childhood Development (ECD)

JAM begins the transition from primary schools to Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and begins feeding the children in eight ECD centres in Orange Farm in March. By the end of the year, JAM is reaching more than 10 000 children in 192 centres. JAM undertakes our first makeover project with children’s TV show, KTV. The team spends a week renovating an ECD centre in Gauteng. The project is a success, with the donors thoroughly enjoying the experience and the beneficiaries appreciating a much-improved child care facility.


JAM SA is born

JAM South Africa was formed as a separate entity to run the Nutritional Feeding programme in South Africa and to take on more projects such as ECD Centre Makeovers and Agricultural Development. All funds raised in South Africa are directed to South African programmes.


Makeover project grows

The development of JAM SA’s capability in tackling makeover projects at JAM-supported ECD centres continues with both overseas and local volunteer groups. A total of 11 makeovers are completed.

Watch an introduction to Makeovers


Expansion to KZN and Eastern Cape

The Nutritional Feeding programme is expanded into the Eastern Cape (February) and KwaZulu-Natal and by the end of the year, more than 27 000 children are receiving a Red Bowl of JAM porridge each day. The ECD Makeover project doubles in size, with 21 makeovers taking place in Gauteng through the year. Care and support is provided to orphans and vulnerable children at farm-based schools in Gauteng and Mpumalanga. 300 micro-farmers in Orange Farm and the West Rand are trained in backyard gardens.


44 000 beneficiaries reached

JAM SA experiences a ‘bumper year’ by reaching over 44 000 pre-school beneficiaries in three provinces. 645 direct and 3 225 indirect beneficiaries are assisted through the Agricultural Development programme and 27 ECD centre makeovers are completed, impacting 2 068 pre-school children in a positive way. A strong donor base lays the foundation for growth of at least 10 000 more beneficiaries for 2014.


Sustainable growth

JAM SA expands its Nutritional Feeding programme to East London in the Eastern Cape, as well as the Vembe district in Limpopo. By May, 900 micro-farmers are trained in the Agricultural Development programme. More and more ECD centres are transformed thanks to local and international support of the ECD Centre Makeover programme. Financial and implementation partners enable JAM SA to reach thousands more children through the various programmes.