Category Archives: Social Responsibilty

NPO Symphonia wins prestigious international award

A South African non-profit organisation (NPO) having a distinctive strategy to making improvements to education has received a prestigious international corporate social responsibility award.

The Bellville, Cape-based Symphonia for South Africa earned the Blue Dart Global Corporate Social Responsibility award for social entrepreneurship at a ceremony hosted at Taj Lands End in Mumbai, India.

The accolade was in recognition of the growth and development of a programme called School @ the Centre of Community, which brings about business leaders and school principals together in a co-learning and co-action agreement.




James Eckley, Symphonia’s national projects manager, states that the methodology not only pairs business and education however promotes communities to become a part of their neighborhood schools.

As stated by Symphonia’s website, the project depends on the belief that a number of the social challenges in South Africa are directly related to the breakdown of communities.

“Schools are the centre of communities. We all know pupils are going to do well if communities support them in their education,” says Eckley.

Symphonia, which is focused on impoverished areas, has taken its approaches to 21 schools in Cape Town, 16 in Johannesburg and four in Durban and, says Eckley, the project keeps growing by the week.

Having said that there is certainly quite a distance to go – it is believed that there are approximately 25 000 under-performing schools in South Africa.


Support and motivation


As outlined by Eckley the problems in education and learning is an warning sign that a great many present-day projects are certainly not accomplishing the sought after outcomes for the reason that tremendous challenges principals deal with have demotivated them; consequently they have lost their drive and passion.

For that reason, he suggests, it’s not at all adequate to put principals through training programmes.

As an alternative, the business approach of providing each one with a partner and encircling her or him with an actively involved team works more effectively.

“Symphonia’s method provides the school principal with a feeling of support, ignites leadership within him or her, and promotes resourcefulness,” he says.

In Symphonia’s experience, the most effective individuals to support principals are South African business leaders who are experienced with and equipped to put into action organisational change.

However, the community, too, has a responsibility. “It takes a village to raise a child,” says the old African proverb.


Parents and communities must become involved


It is believed that children spend just 20% of their time in school and the remainder of it within their community. Because of this the NPO urges parents and communities to become involved in their children’s education, as parents, Symphonia maintains, are a child’s primary teachers.

Among the factors Symphonia believes will lead to success are:

  •  the establishment of a new contract between schools and parents that encourages active participation;
  •  making a school the hub of a community through community-building sessions and other events;
  •  the implementation of an SMS system that allows schools to quickly and easily communicate with parents;
  •  the use of homework diaries to facilitate conversations between parents and teachers;
  •  and the use of “smart-kids” books to enable parents to become actively involved with homework.

Having said that, the organisation emphasizes that communities ought not to expect to see a quick fix and an understanding that it typically takes somewhere between three and five years to remodel the situation in a school.

Blue Dart and the CSR award

Blue Dart Express, a courier company based in South Asia, is part of the global DHL group.

The company set up the corporate social responsibility (CSR) awards as a method of recognising institutions associated with CSR programmes in various industries.

As reported by Kerrie Brand, events manager for Symphonia, “The awards aim at assessing the extent to which CSR projects have succeeded in integrating with corporate functioning; the responsiveness of these projects to the needs of different stakeholders and the development of innovative models to fulfil social responsibilities.”



Denel helps students to boost their maths and science


High school pupils are receiving assistance to enhance their mathematics and science grades from South African arms manufacturer, Denel, by way of a specialised training programme.

The programme began in 2008 and assists close to 80 students annually. Mike Ngidi, Denel’s human resources and transformation group executive, explained that Denel is adding to the enhancement in the quality of maths and science teaching by way of an outreach programmes and extra tuition provided to students in disadvantaged areas.

A team of 44 engineers employed in the aerospace and defence industry take time out of their weekend to assist and share their know-how about these vital subjects with pupils in grades 8 to 11 at Steve Tshwete Secondary School in Olievenhoutbosch.

As a result of their education programmes, Denel is creating new study and career opportunities to deserving students – particularly in the engineering professions.


Continuity of school syllabus

There are clearly remarkable improvements in science and maths results ever since the Denel Training Academy selected Steve Tshwete Secondary School as its project school.

The school’s principal, Takalani Ndou, pointed out the fact that they have recorded five maths and science distinctions in the two years since the project began. This is an accomplishment never attained before in the school’s short history.

The programme operates along with the school’s teachers to make sure that there exists a continuation with what the pupils are performing in the school syllabus.

Venashree McPherson, the people development manager at Denel Dynamics, explained how the company’s goal is to promote engineering as a career option for school leavers as a result of their tutoring programme together with the provision of bursaries to deserving students.



The pupils are given study guides, stationery and bags when they attent classes.

One of the students who completed the programme, Kgaugelo Mokholwane, was given a bursary from Denel Dynamics in 2011 to carry on with his studies at tertiary level, whilst another student won a national maths quiz run through the social network, MXit.

McPherson explained that the programme would undoubtedly carry on growing, with the anticipation of far better results in the long run.

Ngidi added: “As a result of our participation in education projects at high school level, we have high hopes to inspire a whole new generation of future engineers, technicians and artisans who will certainly make it possible for South Africa to help maintain its high-tech leadership position.”


Maths and science development strategy in Gauteng

This is not the only solution currently being undertaken to improve the standard of critical skills. The Gauteng Department of Education has layed out numerous goals and objectives to boost the quality of mathematics, science and technology (MST) education within the province.

These have been outlined in the MST Improvement Strategy Paper of 2009-2014, which states: “Quality in mathematics, science and technology education is an ever-increasing requirement for the development of skills needed in modern economies. As the center of the South African economy, Gauteng is required to make certain that school leavers moving into higher education and industry are sufficiently prepared in these subjects.”

Goals and objectives include: strengthening MST teaching to all of the Gauteng schools, which is focused on continually developing teachers’ instruction skills; increasing the provision of MST resources, which consists of the satisfactory distribution of MST textbooks along with other learning and teaching support materials to schools; offering programmes to support learners in MST, which comprises a variety of campaigns to enhance learner achievement by way of in-class and supplementary programmes; and additionally, boosting the management of MST teaching and learning, guaranteeing there is a positive and conducive environment for MST education in schools and districts.


Dinaledi Schools Project

Maths and science have been made a top priority subjects over a decade ago by the education department. The Dinaledi Schools Project was started in 2001 by the department to boost the volume of matriculants with university-entrance mathematics and science passes.

The strategy consists of selecting high schools for Dinaledi status to boost learner participation and performance in mathematics and science, and additionally provide them with the appropriate resources and support.

Dinaledi means “stars” in Setswana. The Department of Basic Education earmarked R70-million (US$9.1-million) for the Dinaledi schools programme in 2011/12; this is expected to reach R105.5-million ($13.7-million) in 2013/14.



PetroSA invest R4.5m in Eco-Schools programme


PetroSA will be funding an eco-schools programme geared towards motivating environmental responsibility among the many youths to the tune of R4.5 million.

“We are aware of the need to preserve and protect our environment for future generations. The best thing about the programme is based on the fact that it exposes the younger generation to the incredible importance of responsible environmental custodianship,” Kaizer Nyatsumba, head of corporate affairs and shared services, explained.

The programme, introduced in 2003, is provided by the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa along with the World Wildlife Fund, accredits schools that make a commitment to constantly enhance their schools’ environmental performance.

The national oil company announced funding of R4.5 million over a three-year period according to the company.


Among the list of 650 South African schools that were given an Eco-Schools award due to their hard work in 2011, 64 were honored with an International Eco-Schools flag for developing and sustaining their environmental projects over a five-year period.

A number of the schools which happen to have received this award consist of under resourced ones like Carshalton Farm School in Mooi River to well-resourced schools such as the Virginia Preparatory in Durban North.

The moment schools register with the programme, they make a commitment to enhancing environmental learning and action by way of the curriculum with pertinent themes being decided on by teachers and learners.

The sheer numbers of schools that have signed up with the programme continues to grow from 100 in the first year to over 1100 in 2011. At the moment 51 countries participate in the programme throughout the world with Iran, China, USA and Uganda being some of the most recent countries to sign up with the programme.

The funding forms part of the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts.

For information about the Eco-Schools initiativeclick here

Source: BuaNews


Brand-new houses for low-income families


Habitat for Humanity’s annual Corporate Blitz Build week has produced new homes for 44 families in poor communities all around South Africa.

The Blitz Build is a mutual project of the South African chapter of the global humanitarian NGO Habitat for Humanity (HFH), the national Department of Human Settlements and a wide variety of private companies.

Having an preliminary objective of 50 houses in total, the building project was held from 3 to 7 October in Orange Farm in Gauteng province, Mfuleni in the Western Cape and Umbumbulu in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Volunteers coming from the Industrial Development Corporation, Nedbank Home Loans, Microsoft South Africa, 3M, the Deutsche Bank Africa Foundation, ArcelorMittal South Africa and many others, provided five days of their time to build brand new houses for needy households.




They were helped by professional builders, who made certain that the houses went up inside the designated time, and were actually of an acceptable standard.

The big event coincided with World Habitat Day, which this year fell on 3 October. In 1985 the UN declared that the first Monday of October each year should be earmarked as a day of reflection on the need for adequate housing for all.

In acknowledgement of the work done by HFH in South Africa, the UN presented its 2009 Habitat Scroll of Honour to the Gauteng project, which in that year took place in Alexandra, east of Johannesburg.

Up to now the housing organisation, which commenced its local operations in 1996, has assisted 3 143 families in 34 communities across Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

This year will also see the completion of the 500 000th HFH home worldwide – this accomplishment is going to be commemorated in Kenya.


The wait is over


The majority of the construction took place in Orange Farm, a sizable informal settlement located in between Johannesburg and Vereeniging on Gauteng province’s southern border.

Here, 34 houses, of the 39 initially planned for the community, took shape inside the five days, while the balance was built in the two other provinces.

Jethro Mashile and his family happen to be the recipients of the Nedbank Home Loans initiative in Orange Farm. Having resided for 12 years in a very small two-roomed house, family members were ecstatic to have additional space.

“We are happy, happy, happy,” said Mashile’s wife Wendy.



Both of them are out of work and survive on a miniscule social grant as their only regular income. To support themselves along with their two children, they take no matter what temporary employment they can find, which includes collecting metal cans, that can bring in a small amount of cash as soon as the cans are handed in for recycling.

The Mashile family has been on the government’s low-cost housing list for six years. Today, with an all new four-roomed house with electricity and running water, the parents believe they can offer their children a significantly better future in a respectable home.

“We’ve been associated with Habitat for Humanity since 2004,” said Eugene Drotskie, the GM of Nedbank Home Loans. “We think about this exercise to be a natural extension of our day-to-day work of being able to help individuals to acquire a home, and we discover that it makes a contribution to team-building at the same time.”


Nedbank Home Loans staff took part in all three building initiatives in 2011.

“People in our Cape Town and Durban branches were starting to complain about being left out,” said Drotskie.

The project at the same time falls in line with the banking group’s corporate social investment policy, which happens to be led by the Nedbank Foundation and focuses primarily on challenges such as health, job creation, community development and education.


To get involved contact Habitat for Humanity directlyclick here




Play Your Part and make SA even better

Play Your Part is a recently unveiled national program by Brand South Africa, and driven by the organisation forgood, to be able to inspire all South Africans – from businesses to individuals, NGOs to government, churches to schools, young and not so young – to bring about positive change, to become involved, to simply play a part.

By way of our exceptional South African spirit of ubuntu and our natural creativity, we have high hopes to bring together like-minded individuals, communities and companies so that we may all develop into active citizens.

Play your part in providing someone additional aide, donating time and resources, offering the know-how to start a business or an opportunity to kick-start a career. Everybody has their role to play, big or small.

Together with the 35th anniversary of the Soweto uprisings approaching on 16 June, remember what South African youth have achieved. In 1976 they were young, in the present day they are heroes. We all need a hero. You might be young right now, whose hero will you be one day? Play your part and grow into that hero … considering the fact that even heroes need to start somewhere.

Play your part right now and allow us to drive this program forward into the bright, achievable future of South Africa our land.


What’s forgood all about?

It is a home-grown social network that brings together purpose with fun and rewards.

The forgood community is comprised of friends, groups and activities. Members set up groups and activities that several other friends on forgood can join.

Come in contact with others close to you or individuals who share your cause. Provide all that you are able to: time, money, skills or resources.

Get your good on and earn acknowledgement and good points in our Give/Get programme. The moment you’ve received sufficient points, you are able to trade them for real-life rewards. Give vouchers to a group or an NGO – get movie tickets as well as various other goodies for yourself. We make giving fun for everyone.


In case you are currently linked to a social outreach project, or perhaps you just love helping others, establish a profile for yourself, then simply create your group and get others to join your cause. Everyone who shares your cause and lives within 50km of your group will be invited to sign up with you.

How about in the event you genuinely wish to take action but don’t know where to start looking? As soon as you sign up, groups and activities will come searching for you based upon where you reside and what you’re enthusiastic about.

Forgood provides you with a real-time map of social action in your community, showing you which groups and activities are working for good right now on your local map. Over time, you will discover recycling points, HIV clinics, schools and other beneficial places in your area.