• LEAP Science and Maths Schools: Fundraiser / Donor Relationship Manager

    LEAP Science and Maths School
    Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
    Opportunity closing date: 
    Monday, May 21, 2012
    Opportunity type: 
    LEAP Science and Maths Schools is a collection of six no fee, independent high schools serving students living in townships in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Jane Furse. LEAP aims to equip these young people with the academic and emotional skills to go ‘to, through and beyond’ their tertiary studies, notwithstanding the poverty-affected circumstances of their lives. LEAP has achieved extraordinary success in its relatively short history with a 94% average Grade 12 pass rate with 74% of our matriculants engaged in tertiary studies.

    LEAP Science and Maths Schools seeks to appoint a Fundraiser/Donor Relationship Manager, based in Cape Town or Johannesburg.

    The person will be responsible for securing new funding partnerships for LEAP and maintaining and growing these partnerships into long-term, sustainable partners. The role includes all elements of building these relationships from initial prospect contact to report writing. This role will also include event management.

    This is an Employment Equity (EE) and Affirmative Action (AA) position.

    • Experience working for a grant making organisation or as a fundraiser is essential (state the amount of money that you raised per year in your current or previous position);
    • Event management experience (highlight this in your motivational letter);
    • Thorough understanding of the funding environment in South Africa;
    • Excellent communication skills, including good English writing skills;
    • Experienced in working with Microsoft Office;
    • Strong organisational skills with the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously;
    • Attention to detail;
    • High energy levels;
    • Willingness to travel nationally;
    • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment;
    • commitment to excellence and working for change in the South African education system;
    • Strong sense of social responsibility with a track record in community engagement;
    • Understanding of the constraints of working for a nonprofit organisation and ability to be resourceful within these constraints;
    • Valid driver’s licence and own car.
    Only candidates meeting South Africa’s EE/AA requirements will be considered.

    Starting date: As soon as possible.

    To apply, submit a CV and motivation letter with ‘Fundraiser and Donor Relationship Manager Application’ in the subject line to

    Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.

    LEAP Science and Maths Schools reserves the right not to proceed with an appointment.

    Failure to meet the minimum requirements will automatically disqualify an applicant.

    An application does not entitle an applicant to an interview.

    Only successful applicants will be contacted.

    For more about the LEAP Science and Maths Schools, refer to

    For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to


    Secure your place in the 25th anniversary edition of the Prodder NGO Directory which will be released on 24 October 2012. Refer to for more information.
  • Unemployed School Leavers May Turn to Crime - NGO

    Child rights group, Molo Songololo, has warned that school leavers who fail to find jobs are at risk of turning to crime or substance abuse.

    Molo Songololo director, Patrick Solomons, says that there is an urgent need for schools to better prepare matriculants, and provide them with more information.

    Solomons further states that jobs are hard to find and school leavers can become demotivated and ultimately dysfunctional.

    To read the article titled, “Unemployed school leavers may turn to crime – NGO,” click here.
    Eye Witness News
  • Department Supports Transgendered Pupil

    The Eastern Cape department of education says school children must be supported in their right to a preferred sexual orientation.

    The department’s superintendent general, Modidima Mannya, points out that, "There is an urgent need to advance a transformation agenda that addresses all matters of common social and cultural understanding.”

    The comments by Mannya, who argues that the Constitution is the supreme guiding document, follows a newspaper report of a transgender pupil at Cambridge High School in East London, who was forced to leave the school because he was not allowed to wear trousers.

    To read the article titled, “Support for transgender pupil,” click here.
  • CASAC’s Open Letter to Simelane

    The Council for the Advancement of South African Constitution (CASAC) has written an open letter to the national director of public prosecutions (NPA), Menzi Simelane, expressing its ‘grave concern’ about his decision to prosecute the female learner in the Jules High School sexual offences matter.

    SASAC executive secretary, Lawson Naidoo, is of the view that the constitutional right of the female learner will be violated in the event of her being prosecuted.

    Naidoo has urged the NPA to reconsider its decision, and to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to protect this girl from further harm, while it reviews not just her prosecution but the policy in relations to such prosecutions.

    To read the full letter titled, “Open letter to Menzi Simelane: Jules High School case,” click here.
  • A Culture in Crisis – Reading in Post-Apartheid South Africa

    It is now commonly accepted that there is a deep crisis regarding the ‘culture of reading” in South Africa. Only a very small section of the public reads and buys books, there is a virtual collapse of library services, and publishing in black languages continues to struggle 16 years after the end of apartheid.

    The indices of this crisis are equally well-known:
    • Only a very small section of the public reads and buys books – both for leisure (fiction) and self-education or self-advancement (non-fiction)
    • Public libraries have been in long-term decline, and school libraries are just about non-existent
    • Although a large part of young South Africans go through the schooling system, it is also commonly accepted that their reading and numeracy skills are very low – lagging behind that of their counterparts in the sub-region 
    Sources of the crisis

    In many discussions of the crisis of the ‘culture of reading’ one key explanatory factor stands out: the legacy of apartheid. Apartheid, quite rightly, is an important factor in accounting for the state of literature in black languages, in the literacy levels among the adult population of South Africa, and indeed in the class structure that still sees the majority of South Africans trapped in poverty. But it has been 16 years after the end of official apartheid and smaller countries in the South African Development Community (SADC) region, with much less resources, register better reading and numeracy skills than young people in South Africa. Cuba, with equally limited resources, was able to raise the standard of reading and wipe out illiteracy in a few years. So why does a crisis in the culture of reading persist so stubbornly 16 years after the end of apartheid?

    The GEAR

    Two other factors account for the persistence of this crisis.

    Firstly, the democratic government of the post-1994 period made a number of policy choices that have proved fatal for the development of a culture of reading. Basically, the fundamental policy choice made by the post-apartheid government was to choose a market-driven path to economic and social development in South Africa. This path was captured most dramatically by the adoption of the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) policy in 1996, and the closure of the RDP office soon thereafter. GEAR, however, is not just an ‘economic’ policy: it is a holistic political, social and economic policy. Over the last 14-odd years, the consequences have been profound:
    • South Africa today is the most unequal society in the world. Markets reinforce, and do not overcome, inequality
    • Almost half the population lives below the poverty line, and about 40 percent of men and women of working age are unemployed. The majority of unemployed are youth, who are the natural target audience for a broad-based culture of reading
    • Starved of resources, the ‘social infrastructure of reading’ in many townships has been under severe stress and in most cases has virtually collapsed
    This ‘social infrastructure of reading’ refers to the quality of people’s general standard of living. This includes, among other items, libraries, schools, colleges, universities, book stores and spaces created for leisure. This includes well-resourced (with books and literacy promoting programmes) kindergartens during childhood, youth leisure and recreation centres, access to good lighting in the home (electricity) and adequate spacious housing. (For instance, an RDP house does not provide space for leisure.) A transport infrastructure that is extensive and cheap enough to encourage social interaction lies at the heart of a culture of reading. A transport infrastructure enables a township resident to attend a poetry reading, a book club, a literary festival in another part of the city or country, and so on.

    Given these conditions, it is no wonder that the majority of South African do not read, or cannot read. It is not difficult to see or to demonstrate the correlation between levels of inequality and a low culture of reading in a country. Countries with high levels of inequality have a low culture of reading, and vice versa: countries with a more equal society will show a higher culture of reading.

    Structure of Publishing

    The second factor that accounts for this crisis in the culture of reading is the structure of the publishing industry itself. In many debates on the culture of reading the publishing industry presents itself as the victim of this crisis. Of course, the publishing industry stands in a contradictory relationship to a culture of reading in any country. On the one hand, it has an interest in the expansion of the reading market, and the more people who read the more it is a potential beneficiary. On the other hand, as an industry driven by the profit motive, it can only accept the expansion of reading if this protects and expands the proverbial bottom line (or the profit margin). In South Africa this contradiction is an acute one, and the publishing industry shares this contradiction with the majority of capitalist industry.

    The publishing industry in South Africa is highly concentrated, with a small number of publishers (estimated at less than 20) accounting for the major part of the country’s book trade. Further, in the last few years, global companies and distributors have made significant inroads into the industry. This industry has remained profitable because of market concentration, since it focuses on a small and predominantly white middle class for its market. This has also reinforced a (high) price structure that generally excludes the majority of the population from being able to afford books. Indeed, over the last five years the tendency has been that price increases outstrip growth in volumes sold, indicating the general price indifference of the primary market for publishers in South Africa.

    The structure of the industry acts a barrier to the development of a broad culture of reading in South Africa.

    Firstly, the tendencies towards concentration are accompanied by a tendency towards risk aversion, and so book titles that do not promise high returns are excluded. The impact on local stories and new writers is a negative one, and in turn this has a negative impact on a broad-based culture of reading. Secondly, small and independent publishing is the lifeblood of a strong culture of reading, especially in a developing country such as South Africa. The tendencies towards concentration inherent in capitalist industry destroy small publishers without maintaining the appetite for risk that small publishers have. Thirdly, the tendency is for profit-maximising publishers to treat readers as ‘customers’, and not as citizens with a right to reading. These corporations only see the ‘culture of reading’ as a philanthropic act, and therefore do not engage in broad-based and sustained activism that is needed to transform reading cultures in South Africa. Fourthly, although private large publishers cannot play the role of transforming reading cultures, they oppose (whether actively or passively) affording a central role for the state in the transformation of reading cultures. Fifthly, the tendency to risk aversion in the publishing industry has meant that the book distribution network is largely concentrated in the white middle class areas, with no willingness or strategy to create a distribution network in working class areas.


    An analysis that deepens our understanding of the sources of the crisis in the culture of reading is vital if we are to make significant inroads into transforming and expanding reading cultures. It is not enough for us to continue to blame the legacy of apartheid. We need to explore and deepen our understanding, our critique of how social, economic and political policy options affect the development of a culture of reading. We need to develop a critique of the publishing industry itself in order to explore the kind of changes (in the industrial structure) we need to transform and broaden reading cultures.

    - Oupa Lehulere works at Khanya College and is member of the editorial collective. This article first appeared in the Khanya Journal 24. It is republished here with the permission of Khanya College, a NGO assisting various constituencies within working class and poor communities to respond to the challenges posed by the forces of economic and political globalisation.
    Oupa Lehulere
  • Are Men Really Better in Business than Women?

    The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor shows that in South Africa men are 1.6 times more likely to succeed as business owners than women.

    This shocking statistic is reported to be a particularly South African phenomenon. Amongst other things, it appears to be related to low levels in self-belief amongst women that they have the knowledge, skills and experience to start and succeed in business.

    As owner of a business that is dedicated to supporting the growth of entrepreneurs, and a single mother of three girls, the reasons for this situation (and more importantly the possible solutions) have special relevance.

    The problem of gender inequality and gender violence is well documented in our country – and this in itself is enough to reduce the self-confidence and self-belief of women. However, it is only when travelling outside the main centres that one sees the broader effects of this inequality – where girl children are pulled out of school at a young age to help around the house, and the prevailing attitude seems to be ‘why bother?’, as they will invariably marry young and/ or be pregnant by the age of 16 or 17.

    This is certainly not only a South African problem - I recall being shocked at the low levels of schooling amongst girl children in rural Zambia, where girls are removed from school and married off as young as 13! Of course part of this equation is the effect of culture, and cultures which entrench the concept of women as second class citizens incapable of independent thought should not be surprised when these same women fail as entrepreneurs.

    But its not just culture, nor education that holds women entrepreneurs back – and for this I am a case in point. I was raised as an equal in a family of boys, and am blessed with a post-graduate education - so from a self-belief, cultural and skills perspective I score tops. Yet despite this I have had to shoulder some burdens from which the average man is shielded.

    Firstly, I have no wife at home to care for the children, do the shopping, cleaning, laundry – I do that. Secondly and possibly most significant, I care for everyone else too – often both financially and emotionally – my mother, my staff, my community.

    I am by no means the outlier in this statistic – many, if not most women entrepreneurs are wives and mothers who run the business with one hand and the world with the other. The more rural the environment, the harder the task as rural women face challenges of water collection, firewood collection, atrocious health support systems, and often an oppressive cultural environment.

    My own experience in running enterprise development programmes assisting emerging entrepreneurs and community projects has provided some wonderfully inspiring examples of successful women in business, proving that with the appropriate opportunities women can certainly compete, if not surpass men as entrepreneurs.

    So within this reality, how can we help women rise to find independence, wealth, satisfaction and success as entrepreneurs?

    Firstly, women and girls need to be supported in the belief that they can be successful business leaders and entrepreneurs. This begins with exposure to success stories, and by seeing successful women at work in their communities. One such example of a true female role model is Eunice Mlotywa of Iliwa, based in Khayelitsha township in the Western Cape and a beneficiary of the Old Mutual Legends Programme. Eunice has over the years single-handedly built a highly successful sewing and beading business, and as her confidence and success increases she is branching out into other gaps in the market, opening a spaza shop and selling airtime and electricity to the community. In amongst all this, Eunice somehow finds the time to manage a feeding scheme for the aged, be a mentor to young girls in the community, run training workshops and be a mother herself. Hers is a story that needs to be told, to inspire other women to rise up and make an impact.

    Secondly girls need to be properly educated – all the way to matric and beyond. And education needs to include subjects such as mathematics, science, computer literacy, communications and public speaking, all vital components of a leadership and business role. I recall an experience in Mpumulanga in 2009, when providing business skills training to a group of rural women and discovering that almost half of them were functionally illiterate. One lady could hardly hold a pen to place a cross where her signature should go, and yet this woman was dynamic, highly intelligent and capable – on the face of it far more capable than her brother sitting on the opposite side of the room, who had been educated to matric level. Given the right education opportunities, who knows what she might achieve?

    Thirdly, women need to surround themselves with people who enable them to succeed as women, and as mothers and as business leaders! This means creating support networks, access to peer groups and mentors who support them in their goal to succeed and lead. One of my favourite success stories is the Inina Craft Cooperative from Eshowe near the Valley of a Thousand Hills, KwaZulu-Natal.

    This group of 150 Zulu mothers and grandmothers, most of whom are illiterate and have little or no formal education, have created a thriving business using the traditional weaving, beading and handcraft skills within their community. Inina is efficiently managed by suitably skilled local women, for the benefit of local women. In the true spirit of mothering, they even find the time and generosity to create and support an orphanage for HIV-affected children in the community.

    Lastly, women and girls need to learn to be more selfish. They need to know that not only is it okay to put themselves first, to ‘say no’, but that unless they do they will endlessly remain the supporter of someone else’s dreams, and never achieve their own. Women need to know that success comes to those who say ‘Yes!’ to opportunity, and step up to reach their dreams.

    So, while the data may show that men are 1.6 times more likely to be successful entrepreneurs in South Africa, perhaps the real measure of success should be not simply the number of men or women in business, but the impact that their success has? If we look closely at the wider benefits that women in business create – beyond income and job creation to family stability and community support – it may be just as accurate to say that successful female entrepreneurs offer 1.6 times more value to the economy and the country as a whole, than their male counterparts!

    - Catherine Wijnberg ( (MBA, M.Agr.Sc. BSc.Agric.(Hons) is recognised as a catalyst for her innovative thinking in the field of small business development. She is the Director of Fetola & Associates, a fast growing enterprise development agency that operates throughout Southern Africa, as well as the Fetola Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation made up of individuals with a desire to make an impact in sustainable community development.

    Qualified with a Masters degree in Agriculture and an MBA from Henley UK, Catherine has owned and operated small businesses in five different sectors, including agriculture, tourism & craft development.

    Contact: Catherine Wijnberg 084 668 4603 / 021 701 7466

    Catherine Wijnberg
  • Infrastructure Investment Means More than Buildings

    Part of improving the levels of quality in education and health is providing infrastructure that responds to global needs in terms of skills, technology and sports.

    One of the critical success factors to the growth of the South African economy is infrastructure investment. Key areas of government expenditure, which account for more than half of the total public sector infrastructure investment and incorporate all spheres, are: provincial and local roads, bulk water infrastructure and water supply networks, energy distribution, housing, schools and clinics, business centres, sports facilities, and multi-purpose government service centres, including police stations, courts and correctional facilities.

    This is still, to a large extent, catering to the basic needs of previously disadvantaged communities in rural areas and townships, which represent the majority of the population in South Africa.

    South Africa, as a developing economy, needs to start responding to the pressures of being a global player by producing the highest levels of quality in education and health as one of its primary objectives. Part of improving these levels of quality is providing infrastructure that responds to global needs in terms of skills, technology, sports, etc. In the case of education, much focus has been on eradicating classrooms under trees and on providing sanitation in schools.

    Through coordinated partnerships with government, business is able to offer much-needed support to this part of their corporate social investment initiatives. An example is the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund and the De Beers Fund, both in partnership with the Limpopo Department of Education through the Rural Schools Programme.

    In 2009, this programme was able to provide not only classrooms but waterborne toilets, water tanks and boreholes, science laboratories, libraries, computer centres, cooking areas and administration blocks. With these facilities, children can focus on learning, teachers are afforded a good working environment and cooking for children is done in hygienic environments. The next step of the programme could be to provide actual equipment for the facilities provided i.e. computers, laboratory equipment, projectors, etc. This would ensure that even a school in the most rural part of Limpopo Province would be able to access the World Wide Web, perform experiments and embark on research projects, among other things.

    However, infrastructure alone is not a complete solution without capacity-building of the teachers and parents. In most cases, a school’s success is dependent on the involvement of parents in their children’s education, as well as the ability of the education system to support the teachers.

    Leadership is the single biggest success factor in a school; therefore, principals and school governing bodies need serious development interventions if South African schools are to compete at a global level. These interventions, therefore, need to be part of the deliverables when embarking on infrastructure projects. Infrastructure projects in this context should include the social aspects of that particular environment as project success factors, and not just a building.

    There is still a great need to monitor these investments. Monitoring, evaluation and review will play a key role in informing the formulation of further strategies in response to the developmental needs of the South African economy. The goal in education should be to have all schools in South Africa as whole schools, where a child is able to develop academically, socially and physically in interactive classrooms, labs, lecture halls, art studios, libraries, theatre halls and sports fields.

    Tshikululu’s approach to capital building projects and infrastructure investment is one of balance. We combine compassion for the dreams of the community with whom the project is undertaken, and understanding of the challenges inherent in construction. Read more about our capital projects services.

    - Victor Modiba is capital projects consultant to Tshikululu Social Investments.
  • GDE to Shut and Merge Rural Schools

    The Gauteng Department of Education has announced that six rural schools in Merafong, south-west of Johannesburg will be shut down and merged with other schools.

    In a press statement, the department says that, “All these schools are on privately-owned land and have inconsistent water supply, some without electricity, have multi-grade teaching and many other challenges relating to the provision of quality education and the well-being of learners.”

    It further says that, “Some schools have insufficient teaching staff, with one school having only two staff members - a principal and a teacher. Content coverage in all these schools is compromised because of these challenges.”

    To read the article titled, “Gauteng to shut down six rural schools,” click here.
    Business Day
    Article link: 
  • NGO: Stadiums or Libraries

    Equal Education (EE) says the money spent on Cape Town's soccer World Cup stadium would have paid for 9 000 school libraries.

    EE, which is running a campaign to provide schools with libraries, says it recognises that the Western Cape education department had to make hard choices.

    In a press statement, the organisation says that it does not claim that school libraries should take precedence over creating new schools or new teaching posts.

    "The real choice, however, is between building a R4.5 billion stadium in Green Point rather than 9 000 new school libraries," it argues.

    To read the article titled, “NGO: Stadiums or libraries,” click here.
    Article link: 
  • Learners March to Demand Libraries

    More than 10 000 learners have gathered in Cape Town's Grand Parade on Human Rights Day to demand that the government provides libraries for every school in the country.

    Equal Education (EE) spokesperson, Yoliswa Dwane, whose organisation spearheaded the school library campaign nationally and coordinated the march, points out that Grand Parade was filled to capacity, adding that, "You couldn't even see a bare patch of ground -- the place was covered with learners in their school uniforms."

    Meanwhile, Congress of South African Trade Unions general-secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, told the learners who had gathered in the Grand Parade before marching on Parliament that inequalities in education provision are still affecting millions. Vavi further said that, "It is absolutely scandalous that only eight percent of public schools have adequate libraries, mostly in privileged former Model C schools."

    To read the article titled, “Library campaign for SA schools gains momentum,” click here.
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