The National Association of Child Care Workers can now strengthen and better monitor its much-needed programmes thanks to a R300,000 cash injection from the MTN Foundation.
The not-for-profit organisation (NPO), which provides support for orphaned, vulnerable and at-risk children around South Africa, claimed the prize by winning the large NPO category of the MTN Awards for Social Change.
The organisation’s Isibindi programme, which means “courage” in isiZulu, deploys child and youth care workers in communities, and the award was an acknowledgement of its robust monitoring and evaluation systems.
The win was announced at the recent Trialogue Business in Society Virtual Conference. Trialogue is a 51% black-owned company that has focused exclusively on corporate responsibility issues for more than two decades.
The association acts as a professional network, development partner, information source, training provider and advocacy body, says Nicia de Nobrega, the NACCW’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) manager.
The Isibindi programme was started in 2001 in response to the HIV/Aids crisis. It provides child and youth care services in homes and virtually, with a focus on education, health, food security, household income, and cases of abuse and neglect.
Between 2013 and 2018, as part of the programme’s scale-up strategy, 7,268 child and youth care workers were trained and deployed, reaching more than 400,000 orphaned and vulnerable children and youth.
Providing these critical services was achieved by establishing 448 Isibindi sites overseen and operated by 414 implementing partners in partnership with the department of social development.
“We are very grateful to have received such a prestigious award. Our M&E journey has involved many team members, and we are thankful to all our partners, funders, child and youth care workers, and our staff,” De Nobrega says.
“For us, the award speaks to the systems we have created over the years to ensure accountability. The importance of routine M&E is critical in the work we do, and we continually strive for evidence-based work to ultimately be able to measure the impact of our programmes on children and youth.”
De Nobrega says the award money will flow directly back into the projects and, ultimately, to the programmes’ beneficiaries.
“The association has recently developed a ‘sister’ model called Isibindi Ezikoleni (‘courage in schools’ in isiZulu) for the deployment of child and youth care workers in schools. We aim to use the award money to strengthen the M&E of this programme to track the wellbeing of vulnerable and at-risk pupils.
“We are closely watching the attendance and potential drop-out of pupils through M&E, especially during this time of Covid-19 and beyond, and aim to use the award money to enhance the data management system for tracking educational outcomes for children.”
The association has a memorandum of understanding with the department of basic education for implementing the model. The organisation plans to work in partnership with the provincial and national education departments to ensure that their indicators, data collection tools and other components of the M&E system are aligned to national and international standards.
Trialogue director Cathy Duff says: “The MTN Foundation, in partnership with Trialogue, launched the MTN Awards for Social Change in 2019 to encourage and reward good M&E practice in the non-profit sector.
“This year, a total of R1m in prize money has been awarded to winning NPOs in three categories, as well as a fourth bonus award winner.”
“We warmly congratulate the National Association of Child Care Workers on a well-deserved win, and hope they will inspire other NPOs to take M&E more seriously and incorporate it into their programmes.”