Conference overview

After two years of virtual conferencing, Trialogue hosted its first-ever hybrid conference on 10 and 11 May 2022. Plenary sessions were presented at The Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg, and streamed to the virtual audience in the mornings, with the afternoons reserved for in-person workshopping of the content presented in plenary, with structured outcomes.

The overarching focus of this year’s conference was reconnection – with our personal purpose, our collective potential, and our natural environment. Four key themes aligned with this overarching focus were unpacked during the conference: (i) equitable philanthropy, presented with Vodacom, (ii) inclusive growth in the green economy, presented with Nedbank, (iii) employee engagement, and (iv) futureproofing development, presented with MTN SA Foundation. Watch all the sessions here.



Presented in partnership with Vodacom Foundation

Freeing Africa from donor dependency – Plenary discussion

Reconnecting with our purpose – Mallence Bart-Williams


Presented in partnership with Nedbank

Enterprise development in the green economy – Plenary discussion

Reconnecting with our natural environment – Trudi Makhaya


Presented in partnership with MTN SA Foundation

Innovation for the Blind’s successful pitch scoops R25 000 in MTN Donors Den – Pitching  session

Reconnecting with our communities is key to futureproofing development – Lorenzo Davids

Conference plenary sessions profiled four key themes which delegates were invited to unpack further in the breakout sessions. These interactive sessions, expertly facilitated by SynNovation, aimed to supercharge creativity and analytical thinking, and uncover fresh solutions.

The SynNovation approach for creative problem-solving and innovative teamwork is based on the processes and principles . of the internationally recognised Synectics approach. Sessions start with ‘task owners’ providing brief background statement on the tasks, while participants listen for ideas. A range of creative ideas are then generated in the form of ‘wishes’. Selected wishes are developed into practical actions which task owners can select from and combine for implementation.

Summary reports, prepared by SynNovation, from each of the four breakout sessions are available for download.


Presented in partnership with Vodacom Foundation

How can we open up communication and trust between civil society and donors, to ensure impactful and inclusive projects?

Overview of concerns and actions

How can we demonstrate the value of non-profit workers and work?

  • Build transparency through good communication
  • Share achievements and successes, not just problems
  • Emphasize co-creation in building projects
  • Take the time to learn about activities and the realities of the non-profit sector

How can we avoid punishing transparency?

  • Engage face-to-face regularly
  • Share success and failure

How can red tape be eradicated?

  • Through clear and open communication
  • Develop joint proposals with other non-profit organisations (NPOs)
  • Donors and NPOs can leverage each other’s strengths
  • Sign clear contracts and memorandums of understanding (MOUs)

How can we engage more?

  • Bring employees into each other’s ‘worlds’ for a year
  • Co-create volunteer opportunities
  • Plan together instead of in isolation
  • Build board member involvement
  • Leverage company marketing to market partner projects

How can we find creative ways to ensure that information is consumed?

  • Use various media platforms to maximise the impact of your story
  • Draft MOUs to manage expectations and boundaries

How can we convince donors?

  • Build evidence-based, data driven case studies
  • Demonstrate innovative and good governance and trust
  • Start small to build trust

Download the summary report


Presented in partnership with Nedbank

How can we solve society’s pressing problems and protect the environment?

Overview of concerns and actions

How can we achieve national solidarity for a shared voice?
How can we establish transparency and trust?
How can we hold our leaders accountable?

  • Establish task teams for specific needs (e.g. Sustainable Development Goals)
  • Engage with companies to understand how their businesses are linked to the environment
  • Create a regulatory framework to guide national goals in each sector
  • Start building structure to support a shared vision 

How can we get buy-in from all stakeholders?
How can we secure key resources?
How can we make sure our programmes deliver the desired outcome?

  • Identify relevant partners / stakeholders
  • Share the vision
  • Consult to define the vision
  • Develop a plan with consensus
  • Assign roles and responsibilities
  • Accountability to stakeholders
  • Develop a monitoring and evaluation framework

How can we prevent mismanagement of funds?

How can we ensure ethical competent leadership?

How can we create an accountability model?

  • Create an accountability model with risk management tools regularly audited
  • Continuous monitoring and evaluation systems
  • Monitoring of payment in trenches and reporting from both sides
  • Ensure ethical leadership through workshopping roles and responsibilities, and clearly defined performance indicators
  • Clearly defined punitive measures

Download the summary report.


How can we create a climate that energises employees and unlocks a sense of belonging?

Overview of concerns and actions

How to make final decisions and take people along, even when they disagree

  • Take quality time for check-ins and one-on-ones
  • Have a clear set of co-created values that drive decision-making, so that choices aren’t personal or arbitrary

How to offer non-monetary incentives

  • Know your people, what incentivises them and what they respond to
  • Offer growth opportunities and create study opportunities
  • Use exposure to motivate
  • Use validation and appreciation to recognise and reward people

Further actions developed by examining the ways that a sense of belonging is created in the worlds of religion and politics:

  • Co-create organisational values, purpose and an employee manifesto
  • Eat together as a team and do non-work things to connect beyond the office or virtual office
  • Embrace rituals that emerge at the organisation
  • Allow employees to generate ideas and vote on them
  • Volunteer together for causes that are important to employees
  • Don’t drink from the same poisoned chalice
  • Demonstrate learning from failure
  • Use anonymous suggestion box to allow employees to raise concerns in a way that feels safe
  • Make the space conducive to the culture you want to create

Download the summary report.


Presented in partnership with MTN SA Foundation

How can corporate donors best support NPOs, to future-proof their activities and / or organisations?

Overview of concerns and actions

How can we agree on relevant indicators?
How can we overcome self-interest?
How can we bring in all relevant voices?

  • Get a mandate from government
  • Include a space for qualitative reporting
  • Development independent facilitator / researcher
  • Create communication platforms
  • Work within genres / sectors to define and decide on indicators
  • Make inter-NPO collaboration sexy!
  • Be bolder in approach
  • Tell good stories
  • Become more united as an NPO community

How can we increase contact (communication)?
How can we decrease competition (feel safe)?
How can we demonstrate value?

  • Show examples of where it worked / benefited
  • Bring NPOs together
  • Show how it brings value to corporates
  • Identify gaps and ask for help

How can we source funding to develop an app?
How can we get buy-in?
How can we guarantee credibility of NPOs and donors?

  • Approach MTN to develop app
  • Do a survey with select donors and NPOs
  • Develop criteria for NPOs and donors
  • Ensure there is a due diligence checklist

Download the summary report.


Bheki Moyo, CAPSI

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Bongani Kennedy Makhaya, Isizinda Sempilo

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Brian Mantlana, CSIR

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Cathy Duff, Trialogue

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Frank Chikane, Kagiso Trust

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Gugulethu Mfuphi, Conference MC

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Helen Andrews, SynNovaton

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Judith Shiwundlana, MTN SA Foundation

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Kensani Nobanda, Nedbank

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Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, MTN SA Foundation

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Lorenzo Davids, The Development Impact Fund and The Justice Fund

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Mallence Bart-Williams, Folorunsho

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Mohamed Shameel Aziz Joosub, Vodacom

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Nick Rockey, Trialogue

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Nonkqubela Maliza, VW SA

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Nozizwe Vundla, Sanlam Foundation

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Poovi Pillay, Nedbank

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Priscilla Motlatso Molaudzi, Limpopo Mental Health Society

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Sello Hatang, Nelson Mandela Foundation

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Stephné Cecile Botha, Innovation for the Blind

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Takalani Netshitenzhe, Vodacom

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Thuli Madonsela, Thuma Foundation

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Trudi Makhaya, Economic advisor to President Cyril Ramaphosa

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