Four non-profit organisations have been awarded a total of R1m in prize money from the MTN Foundation in collaboration with the consultancy Trialogue, which has focused on corporate responsibility issues for more than 20 years.
The MTN Awards for Social Change winners were announced at the recent Trialogue Business in Society Virtual Conference in mid-October, with the MTN Foundation awarding R300,000 each to three NPOs.
The winners, which all excel in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of their programmes, were:
- The Southern Africa Youth Project, in the small NPO category, for a project of the same name;
- The JumpStart Foundation Trust, for its Ekurhuleni South Foundational Mathematics project, in the medium-sized NPO category; and
- The National Association of Child Care Workers, for its Isibindi project, in the large NPO category.
An additional bonus prize of R100,000 was awarded to the Association for Water and Rural Development, for its support of sustainable water resources in the Olifants River Basin.
This award was for the NPO with the best evidence of advanced M&E practice.
Trialogue director Cathy Duff says 143 NPOs entered the competition this year – more than double the number in 2019. Trialogue shortlisted 20 entries that three judges then reviewed and scored.
The judges were Zulaikha Brey, an economist and M&E practitioner with Trialogue; M&E specialist Asgar Bhikoo from the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation; and development practitioner Kenneth Thlaka, executive director of SangoNet.
“The large number of entries demonstrates an increasing acknowledgment of the value of M&E within the sector.
“Additionally, the quality of the applications has improved overall, although activities and outputs could be more clearly linked to a programme’s outcomes, the judges said.
“The greatest areas for improvement are the consideration of ethics and the potential for negative consequences, as well as measuring causality and impact.”
Small NPO winner the Southern Africa Youth Project (SayPro) was set up in 2005 to change the way youth think about themselves and their families. The organisation offers a range of programmes by partnering with other NPOs and working with youth in target communities.
It aims to empower 10,000 unemployed youth, with a focus on women, in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, by promoting health and wellbeing initiatives, and providing vocational and work readiness training and job placement programmes.
SayPro offers 378 accredited courses that are delivered as learnerships, short courses, national certificates, unit standards and executive development programmes. In 2019/2020, 2,080 young people enrolled.
Medium NPO winner the JumpStart Foundation Trust works to transform maths and science education, while also providing work experience for unemployed youth.
The Ekurhuleni South Foundational Mathematics project was launched in 2016 and provides early grade maths support for 15,000 primary school children and 350 teachers in 20 primary schools in the Ekurhuleni South School District of Gauteng.
The project supports teachers through formal training workshops, access to online resources, feedback technologies and support in large classes in the form of JumpStart Interns (trained unemployed youth).
Large NPO winner the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) for Isibindi promotes healthy child and youth development, and improves the standards of care and treatment for orphaned, vulnerable, and at-risk children and youth in family, community and residential group care settings.
The Isibindi programme (‘courage’ in IsiZulu) began in 2001 in response to the HIV/Aids crisis and its effect on children.
From 2013-2018, 7,268 child and youth care workers were trained and deployed, reaching 1.9 million (non-unique) orphaned and vulnerable children and youth.
This was achieved by setting up 448 Isibindi sites overseen and operated by 414 implementing partners, including the department of social development.
Bonus prize winner the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD) was set up in 1998 and mainly focuses on the catchment areas of north-eastern South Africa, with the Olifants River Basin project having started in 2013.
“It’s extremely rewarding that more NPOs are taking M&E more seriously and incorporating it into their programmes. The MTN Awards for Social Change have highlighted this important factor and we so appreciate MTN’s support,” Duff says.