There are many social and economic issues for us to focus on in South Africa. But what if we did just that: if we focused particularly on those issues that we know can make a big difference, like early childhood development – and if we galvanized civil society, business and government around these opportunities to really make them happen.
Over the last (almost) 40 years, the DG Murray Trust has been working towards a South Africa where every person has the opportunity to fulfil his or her potential. The birth of democracy in 1994 gave South Africa a huge boost, but in the past few years, progress seems to have stalled. However, at DGMT we see many untapped opportunities that can open up possibility for everyone - and give our flying nation our next big push to lift-off.
In 2017, DGMT is ready to share its ‘top 10 opportunities’ that we think will help transform South Africa into a flying nation. These opportunities will be the focus of our work for the next five years.
Our first three opportunities are centred around building an inclusive and innovative society – we see this as the ‘runway’ to South Africa’s success, without which it is hard to get the plane off the ground.
Opportunity 1: Reigniting the agency of communities, and the public innovation of civil society organisations, in order to generate new solutions.
Opportunity 2: Removing barriers that prevent groups of people from contributing to our economy and society due to reasons such as high costs (think mobile data and transport) or inadequate services (such as transport for people with disabilities).
Opportunity 3: Creating unlikely networks across class, race, business, government and civil society that can inspire fresh thinking and positive change, as well as spark innovation.
Our next group of opportunities focus on the potential of children to change our country. They are the source of human capital, which drives economic growth and development, but the ‘flight gates’ remain closed to half of them.
The opportunities that could significantly unlock their potential include:
Opportunity 4: Giving every child the benefit of early childhood development – this is the most powerful investment in human capital that a country can make.
Opportunity 5: Bringing an end to nutritional stunting. If we did this, more than one million young children would be able to thrive each year.
Opportunity 6: Making sure that all children are ready to read before they go to school so that they have a solid foundation for learning.
Opportunity 7: Helping families and communities to build simple, loving connections with their children.
Lastly, we look at what can be done to help young people succeed in life. We have identified what we see as three particularly important opportunities:
Opportunity 8: Finding new ideas and solutions for turning around schools that are failing.
Opportunity 9: Helping to establish and expand initiatives that connect young people to work and study opportunities.
Opportunity 10: Supporting young people to keep their grip on the opportunities that come their way e.g. preventing school drop-out, and improving the throughput rate of tertiary institutions.
To show our commitment to these ‘top 10’, DGMT will be funding projects that specifically address one or more of these opportunities through fresh programmatic approaches that can break new ground and test novel ideas. We will also support efforts aimed at boosting an organisation’s ability to be innovative and effective.
If your organisation had to choose 1 of these 10 opportunities to focus on, which one would it be?
For further information on DGMT’s new 5 year strategy, visit: http://dgmt.co.za/dgmt-strategy/
- This article was written by the DG Murray Trust.
Photo courtesy: DG Murray Trust