MTN awards non-profits for their contribution to social change

Non-profit organisations (NPOs) encapsulate a broad range of interests and provide support to some of the most vulnerable in our society. It is important for NPOs to measure the outcomes of their work to ensure that maximum impact is achieved. This year, to encourage and reward good monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practice in the non-profit sector, MTN Foundation, in partnership with CSI and sustainability consultancy, Trialogue, launched the MTN Awards for Social Change.

These awards recognise and reward non-profits that are able to provide evidence of the positive difference they are making. “We wanted to reach out to all non-profit organisations, not just those currently benefiting directly from MTN’s existing ICT in education or youth empowerment programmes,” said Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager of the MTN Foundation.

The awards aim to establish a platform for learning and sharing information that will assist all non-profits that engage in this process. Through the application process, non-profits are exposed to M&E practices and principles. Registered NPOs were required to enter a project or programme that is creating positive impact, has been running for at least two years and has some level of associated M&E practice.

“We were delighted that seventy NPOs entered the Awards, with the quality of the entries reflecting the non-profit sector’s commitment to measuring their impact in our society,” added Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

Entries were shortlisted by Trialogue and twenty organisations were put forward for final selection by a panel of independent judges. A total of R1 million of prize money was awarded to the winning NPOs in each of the three categories, as well as a fourth bonus award winner.

And the 2019 winners are…

TEARS Foundation, for Help-at-yourfingertips®

Small NPO category winner, with a total annual income less than R2 million (R300 000 prize)

TEARS Foundation supports survivors of rape and sexual abuse and has an annual turnover of R1 million. The TEARS’ Help-at-your-fingertips programme, which began in 2012, provides support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse using prompt-based mobile technology. When someone sends a distress message, using *134*7355#, they are geolocated.

The person is then sent the locations of the nearest partner facilities that can assist them. In the last financial year, TEARS Foundation spent R1 million on the programme.

TEARS began developing Help-at-your-fingertips in 2005, based on gender-based violence (GBV) data from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ), the South African Police Service (SAPS), Statistics South Africa, the United Nations and the University of Pretoria’s Student Health Services. Input was also included from many NPOs.

To date, 57 318 survivors have received speedy responses and access to medical assistance, counselling and criminal justice support. Through the programme, 150 SAPS officers have been trained on how to treat GBV survivors with dignity, empathy and confidentiality. TEARS also drive education campaigns across the country and collaborates with various healthcare stakeholders.

Daily activity data is collected and analysed for quality assurance and internal improvements. TEARS is a member of Shukumisa, a coalition of 80 NPOs that contributes to a national database to inform service delivery in the country. The data also contributes to GBV trend reports produced by the DoJ.

gold Youth Development Agency, for gold Youth Development South Africa

Medium NPO category winner, with a total annual income greater than R2 million, but less than R10 million (R300 000 prize)

The gold Youth Peer Education Model was established in 2004 to train peer mentors, in order to improve school results and social behaviour among grade nine to 12 learners in 21 disenfranchised

schools in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. The programme also aims to create internships, employment and income-generating opportunities for youth from the disenfranchised communities in which it is run. In the last financial year, gold Youth Development Agency, which has an annual turnover of R8.9 million, spent R8.5 million on the programme.

Peer educator training sessions are hosted weekly for 1 164 participants, community upliftment projects aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals are run in the 21 partner schools, 315 work shadow experiences for peer educators and alumni are facilitated, and one ‘emerging market engagement’ workshop is hosted per province, annually.

Peer education methodology, delivering quality education under difficult circumstances and HIV-prevention were researched in great depth, the learnings of which informed the programme design, curriculum and indicators. The design of the model draws on global best practice and is constantly refined with evidence-based learnings from 153 communities in southern Africa.

All gold stakeholders, including interns, peer educators, programme graduates, social franchisees, youth from target communities and government representatives are engaged in curriculum revisions.

M&E findings are shared with all team and board members using a balanced scorecard. Quarterly reviews measure progress against indicators and all programme activity targets are assessed. Findings are used to inform programme and strategic refinement.

M&E findings are also shared with external stakeholders, including directors of social franchisees, and decisions are taken to improve the programme as needed. Evaluation findings are shared with all stakeholders, including funding partners.

Teach A Man to Fish, for the EEESAY programme

Large NPO category winner, with a total annual income greater than R10 million (R300 000 prize)

Teach A Man To Fish helps schools create fully functional student-led businesses. The Entrepreneurial and Environmental Empowerment for South African Youth (EEESAY) programme started in 2016 to teach learners life skills that empower them to run environmentally responsible businesses. In the last financial year, Teach A Man To Fish, which has an annual turnover of R19 million, spent R4 million on the programme.

Currently, Teach A Man To Fish trains teachers from schools in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. The schools are provided with multimedia educational resources, ongoing coaching, WhatsApp communication and school visits. To further support the schools, youth advisory boards have been set up and Teach A Man To Fish hosts annual provincial events to showcase learners’ progress.

To date, EEESAY has worked with 3 967 young people in 35 schools. A total of 117 teachers have been trained since 2016. An unforeseen benefit is that several school businesses use part of their profits for social causes in their communities and to support disadvantaged learners.

M&E data is analysed at project, organisation and country level annually, and is used to determine impact and sustainability. Internally, annual organisational M&E reviews are used to refine the strategy, approach and content for training. Externally, Teach A Man To Fish shares data with district and provincial Departments of Education for participatory planning and problem-solving. Each school receives a report summarising learners’ progress. Additionally, data is presented to national education working groups.

Ubunye Foundation Trust, for the Savings and Livelihoods Programme

Bonus winner for providing the best evidence with regards to advanced M&E practice (R100 000 prize)

Established as a rural development trust, Ubunye aims to address chronic poverty and marginalisation through an asset-based community development approach and has an annual turnover of R4.6 million. The Savings and Livelihoods Programme is a self-sustainable, community-led and owned financial savings and enterprise initiative started by the Trust in 2013. In 2018 a total of R1.5 million was spent on the programme.

In 2013 Ubunye joined SaveAct, an NPO that specialises in the formation of savings and credit groups in rural communities, in a joint five-year programme. Currently, SaveAct has over 80 000 members in five provinces, and a savings and credit model that incorporates financial education and enterprise development training.

Ubunye conducts two community engagement sessions, three financial health checks and six training sessions for savings group members, annually. The programme also includes monthly mentoring sessions. Seven savings events are hosted annually to evaluate the programme.

In 2018, 38 new savings groups with 720 members were formed and 30 groups successfully completed the programme, with the remaining eight completing their training in 2019. Twenty-six  groups with 520 members moved onto the livelihoods module of the programme. Members reported increased savings, improved business and financial management skills, social capital and business competence and confidence.

Members have moved away from soliciting money from loan sharks to healthier ways of accessing loans, which has ultimately saved them money. The wider communities have come together to share saving experiences, stimulate business, collaborate and even introduce new ideas.

Congratulating all winners, Mtunzi-Hairwadzi said that these awards are a valuable addition to the social investment landscape in South Africa. “I am delighted that MTN was able to partner with Trialogue to make this happen”.


Issued by:                          Meropa Communications

On behalf of:                    Trialogue

Contact:                             Meropa Communications:

Judy Bryant 021 6836464 | 083 2867168 |