• Donors Launch New Innovation Fund to Catalyse Change in Early Learning in SA: The Innovation Edge

    Several national and international donors have joined forces to inspire and enable bold new initiatives with the potential to transform early learning access and quality in South Africa. Bold ideas for early learning are invited from all sectors and may include anything from new delivery models or smarter financing mechanisms to innovation in the use of technology for training, early learning activities or parent interaction.
    The Innovation Edge is part of a R90 million programme called Ilifa Labantwana. It was launched through a multi-donor consortium including the Ilifa funding partners - DG Murray Trust, the FirstRand Foundation, ELMA Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation - and the Omidyar Network.
    “The Innovation Edge will enable Ilifa to explore new frontiers in early learning that can then be incorporated into bigger programmes” says Sherri Le Mottee, programme leader of Ilifa Labantwana.
    The focus of the Innovation Edge is on children from birth to six years living in marginalised communities. “Less than a quarter of preschool children in South Africa have the benefit of quality early learning programmes”, says Sonja Giese, founding director of the Innovation Edge. “The prospect of exposing every child to creative learning experiences in their first few years of life is a major opportunity to reshape educational outcomes in South Africa.”
    The fund builds on growing global interest in early childhood development as scientific findings have converged on its importance for education, economic productivity and social stability.  “The Edge provides a platform to test the feasibility and effectiveness of innovations that will help to realise the enormous potential of South Africa’s young children", says Giese.  “We want to bring new ways of thinking to early learning by creating opportunities for people with diverse skills and experience to join the call to action.”
    For more information or to submit an idea for consideration, refer to Alternatively, email:


  • Oh Wait Just a Minute Mr. Postman, Just Look at the Damage You Have Caused!

    Devastation and despair is the message coming out of the nonprofit sector after months of postal strikes and non-delivery of mail.
    According to the Southern Africa Institute of Fundraising (SAIF) thousands of good causes and charities are experiencing deep financial difficulties as the strike impacts severely on the sector that relies heavily on public generosity to support their work through direct mail.
    Providers of vital services to thousands of beneficiaries will have to cut-back on programmes and prepare for a Bah! Humbug! Christmas. 
    The crippling effect of this strike to thousands of needy people will be devastating, heart-breaking and recovery will be costly, SAIF president, Ann Bown, states.
    The postal strike action over the past six months could mean a loss of R55 million to nonprofit organisations delivering essential social services across the country such as; home-based care services, the physically disabled, the visually impaired to vulnerable and abused children as well as neglected and forgotten elderly and indigent people in need of shelter, a meal and compassion.
    According to Peter Laubscher, director of The Leprosy Mission, this raises grave concerns for his organisation as they were forced to cancel a September/Spring appeal, resulting in a loss in donations of R300 000 but it also severely impacts on the dispatch of medication to dependent patients via Post Office Econo-Parcel Services and Speed Services. Laubscher further adds, “I am unsure if our friends will receive this years’ Christmas Appeal, many of who only contribute once a year.” This annual appeal raises around half a million Rand.

    Girls and Boys Town are also frustrated as they too depend on the Post Office to keep in-touch with more than 30 000 regular donors. Their August 2014 appeal letter only started to dribble into mail boxes this week. Teboho Nkoana, national fundraising and marketing officer, explains that ‘people do not respond to outdated mails, this exercise has been a waste of postage, paper and time’ he doubted that his organisation would be able to trust the post office with their end-of-year newsletter and was now seeking ways to do this job electronically, which, Nkoana further adds, is an unsuitable medium for mature donors, many contributing for more than 40 years via the jolly old postman, they don’t want to change!  Private postal services are too costly and not always efficient.
    Again the August 2014 mailer of the ‘Reporter’ a biannual newsletter published by The Salvation Army has received no responses.  Each newsletter appeal generates around R700 000 - this loss will result in reduction of services “We serve the poorest of the poor and our work is in the neediest of communities,” says Major Carin Holmes ‘it is a real challenge to keep going with rising monthly expenses our shelters for the homeless, homes for the elderly, crèches and schools for young children and babies will all feel the consequences of this insanity’ she emotionally stated. Their Christmas appeal, usually mailed in October to donors and prospective donors, receives gifts amounting to well over R1.4 million.

    The well-known annual Tree of Memories campaign; regularly mailed to the donors in October was cancelled. Hospice East Rand has now decided to rather place advertisements in local newspapers, send out emails and start an SMS fundraising appeal to the public to buy a light for the ‘Tree’ that lights up on Saturday, 22nd November 2014 with friends and family sharing memories of loved ones that have passed. Brenda Bischoff tells SAIF that they just could not risk spending the money on print and postage with no guarantee that the post will be delivered in time. ‘We know we are taking a risk via the media and technology but what can we do?”
    Another big brand charity; Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa (CHOC) has hesitated with their Christmas mailing; they also cancelled the August appeal. CHOC raises several millions from individuals. The organisation provides support and free homely accommodation at CHOC Houses to families when a child is struggling to overcome cancer and undergoing long periods of treatment at one of the major city centre hospitals. They also have welcoming child-parent-friendly spaces at all main oncology units. This knock will limit support for new cases. 
    The Salesian Missions celebrated 25 years of working in Southern Africa in August 2013; sadly their communication updating donors on recent events was not successful as the appeals were never delivered. The Salesians care for street children in Cape Town, Gauteng, Lesotho and Swaziland and normally receive lots of support for their ‘Learn to Live’ programme. The strike means jeopardy for homeless, hungry children who will suffer further as plates of food are reduced and new outfits become hand me downs. 
    The South African Federation for Mental health postponed mailing their third quarter newsletter and will now include it with their Christmas appeal. If the strikes continue, as threatened by The Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) then they will postpone again to January 2015 as a Happy New Year campaign.
    SOS Children’s Villages South Africa, a pioneer in direct mail fundraising, states they no longer trust postal services as this is the umpteenth time they have been let down. They have not been able to measure a recent newsletter campaign but fear they are down by R600 000 for this single mailing, according to Yvonne Stiglingh, fundraising manager. Their average yearly income is around R7.5 million through direct mail campaigns.
    Many organisations also highlighted the ongoing security problems with the postal services; theft, lost pieces of mail and delayed deliveries. Will a solution be found as unions continue to threaten employers and hold the country hostage?
    Bown recommends that if viable the sector should form a Class Action against the Post Office and the Unions for loss of revenue during August, September and October but she adds we would settle for a meeting to thrash this out.
    Prepared by:
    Ann Bown
    Southern Africa Institute of Fundraising
    Tel: 011 795 3271
    Mobile: 083 271 0572

    Email: /
    Editors note:
    The Southern Africa Institute of Fundraising is a membership-based professional body promoting ethical standards for fundraising best practices; it remains a watchdog and lobbying group. 
    For more information contact:
    Peter Laubscher
    The Leprosy Mission
    Tel: 011 440 6323
    Teboho Nkoane
    Fundraising & Marketing
    Girls and Boys Town
    Mobile: 084 785 1544
    Major Carin Holmes
    Public Relations Secretary
    The Salvation Army
    Mobile: 011 718 6746
    Ann Bown
  • Gates Criticised for Spending Less on Africa

    According to John Vidal, African non-governmental organisations received just four percent of Bill Gates’ money for agriculture work, with 75 percent for United States organisations.

    Vidal says that most of the US$3 billion that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given to benefit hungry people in the world’s poorest countries has been spent in the United States, Britain and other rich countries, with only around 10 percent spent in Africa.

    He says analysis of grants made by the foundation shows that nearly half the money awarded over the past decade went to global agriculture research networks, as well as organisations including the World Bank and UN agencies, and groups that work in Africa to promote hi-tech farming.

    To read the article titled, “Gates foundation spends bulk of agriculture grants in rich countries,” click here.

    The Guardian
  • Hard Rock Cafe Fundraises for Mandela Hospital

    Hard Rock Cafe International, chief executive officer, Hamish Dodds, says the late President Nelson Mandela was fond of children therefore they decided to help raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

    Dodds believes building a hospital for children was Mandela's dream, adding that, "We support numerous campaigns around the world, but we also encourage all our regional and local city entities to also identify causes that really make sense to them. I think this one is particularly important for us because Nelson Mandela was such a global ambassador."

    South African house music group, MiCasa performed a special intimacy acoustic show at Hard Rock Cafe in Johannesburg to raise funds for the hospital.

    To read the article titled, “Hard Rock Cafe raises funds for Mandela Children’s Hospital,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Lack of Funding Cripples ARC

    The Agricultural Research Council (ARC), which received a grant of R866-million in 2013/14, 16 percent more than the previous year, was established in 1990 to be the country’s primary agricultural scientific research institution, but has suffered from years of neglect and underfunding.

    In its annual report, the ARC paints a picture of an organisation suffering from chronic underfunding and trying to do the best with the resources available.

    Science and agricultural research is considered a fundamental part of boosting the sector’s international competitiveness and ensuring food security - not just for commercial farmers, but for small-scale rural farmers.

    To read the article titled, “Agriculture research suffers as little funding cuts resources,” click here.

    Mail and Guardian
  • NGO: Relief Fund Opened After Robbery

    The Solidarity Helping Hand confirms that a relief fund has been opened after the robbery at Pretoria’s President Kruger children’s home on 29 October 2014.

    In a press statement, Helping Hand states that it wants to support the children’s home as much as possible during this crisis.

    The organisation asserts that, “We have therefore already contributed R10 000 towards a relief fund. Our hope is that with the public’s help, we will be able to replace most of the home’s losses.”

    To read the article titled, “Pretoria children’s home robbed,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • TAC to Raise R10m to Remain Open

    The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) plans to raise R10 million in November 2014 to keep the organisation afloat, the organisation is relying on public donations, hoping big funders will then follow.

    Mark Heywood, one of TAC’s directors states that, “The TAC thinks there is a red light over the country's response to the HIV epidemic," following recent statistics released by the Human Sciences Research Council, which show that in 767 people died each day in South Africa from AIDS related illnesses in 2012, 280,000 in a year.

    Speaking after a national council meeting, the health advocacy group emphasised the ongoing struggles in the health system and outlined TAC's work and key campaigns, assuring that, "TAC will always remain a voice of the voiceless people of South Africa."

    To read the article titled, “TAC's critical R10-million month,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Adequate Funding Needed for Poverty Survey

    Statistics South Africa's (Stats SA) poverty survey will cost taxpayers R120 million, with the biggest chunk to be spent on the salaries of 551 temporary field workers, and on printing and transport.

    Stats SA manager for household surveys, Moses Mnyaka, says the agency has asked the Treasury for R200 million for the Living Conditions Survey 2014-2015 but, because of austerity measures, a lesser amount had been approved.

    "Because we did not get the amount we requested, we had to down-scale on our methods for this survey," which began on 13 October 2014 to collects data on poverty and what households spend their money on.

    To read the article titled, “Poverty survey feels pinch,” click here.

    Times Live
  • Call for NGOs to be Audited

    Nsanje District Commissioner, Harry Phiri, says that the Kalondolondo Social audit programme should start assessing projects implemented by the country's non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

    Phiri says that most of the NGOs in Malawi receive more funds from donors, adding that the funds are not properly handled and therefore need to be assessed.

    His opinion comes at a time when the district is to have its 25 Local Development Fund (LDF) teacher houses project audited by the Kalondolondo programme.

    To read the article titled, “CSOS' projects should be audited - Nsanje DC,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Trust’s Fundraising Performance Postponed

    The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust says that the Parlotones fundraising performance for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital has been postponed due to the lead singer's surgery.
    In a press statement, spokesperson, Vuyo Lutseke, "The Parlotones fund-raising performance at Pappas restaurant on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton has been cancelled due to lead singer Kahn Morbee needing emergency surgery on his vocal cords."
    Lutseke says that a new date for the children's hospital fundraiser will be announced once rehabilitation has commenced.
    To read the article titled, “Mandela Parlotones performance postponed,” click here.

    Sowetan Live
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