Conference plenary sessions profiled four key themes which delegates were invited to unpack further in the breakout sessions. These interactive sessions, expertly facilitated by Change Partners, aimed to supercharge creativity and analytical thinking, and uncover fresh solutions.
The Change Partners approach followed a Play-full Creative Response approach. Imaginative play allows people to step back and see both the emotional and the factual elements of a problem; to find the kind of innovative and original solutions that analytic mindsets often find difficult to imagine. Engaging in playful practices like imagination or idealization enables creativity and problem solving. The facilitation design and execution drew inspiration from the five characteristics of playful practices: -meaningful; joyful; socially interactive; actively engaging and iterative.
The 2023 conference also included an illustrator for two of the breakaway sessions to capture some of the content.
ADDRESSING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE(GBV) EARLY
Presented in partnership with Vodacom
An opportunity exists to address the normalization of gender norms that perpetuate GBV through interventions that address 1) how children are socialized, as well as 2) the beliefs and behaviours of the people who care for them. The prevalence of GBV is a complex societal-wide problem, and multiple intertwined interventions are necessary.
One of the outcomes of the session was that addressing the gender norms that propagate GBV require sustained multiple, multi-channel interventions implemented through public-private partnerships. Education and awareness around GBV has a place in the school curriculum at every age, but messages need to be reinforced through all possible touchpoints such as popular and entertainment media, faith-based institutions, community councils, and others.
Another key discussion was around how addressing GBV early in the life course gives us the opportunity to shape the socialization of tomorrow’s generation of men but is not enough. Both state and non-state provided social services need additional resources so that they can support families navigate and challenge harmful social norms that allow GBV to perpetuate. Opportunities exist for tech innovations that target the sharing of violent consumer generated content.
This session also explored 7 inter-related opportunities to address GBV early which will be detailed in the downloadable report that will be made available shortly.
CATALYSING IMPACT IN THE GREEN ECONOMY
Presented in partnership with Nedbank
Measuring and demonstrating impact is critical to securing funding for corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, but too often, a mismatch occurs between funders’ expectations and the results on the ground. The ability to quantify the monetary value of social and environmental impact is crucial for the longevity and expansion of CSR projects, as is the ability to communicate that impact in a way that secures the long-term commitment of stakeholders, beneficiaries, and donors. This session explored Impact measurement, how we measure outcomes, how we communicate knowledge and how we collaborate more effectively.
During the breakaway one of the outcomes was that demonstrating impact is critical to securing funding for corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, but too often, a mismatch occurs between funders’ expectations and the results on the ground. CSR project owners need to collaborate with donors to establish mutually acceptable outcomes and impact and ensure that the difference between the two is understood.
Furthermore, impact in the green economy can be catalyzed through the facilitation of partnerships that connect donors, beneficiaries, community-based organisations, and NGOs. There are opportunities to create partnerships using online tools, physical gatherings, and a combination of both. Green technology such as solar power generation, carbon sequestration, and sustainable agriculture all offer opportunities for partnerships.
CONNECTED SCHOOLS – A HOLISTIC APPROACH
Presented in partnership with Telkom
Traditional teachings styles and the concept of a physical classroom will be profoundly disrupted by the advent of new technology. One constant will be the need for creative, resilient, and empathetic teachers. In their hands, technology can be truly transformational guiding children towards the information age workplace where skills are continuously learnt, unlearnt, and relearned.
South Africa’s education sector reflects the country’s staggering economic inequality. While most commentators agree that every classroom should be equipped with technology, the need for basic infrastructure, resources, and services is often more urgent.
A key takeaway from the session was that technology is disrupting every aspect of the education sector, except demand for creative, resilient, and empathetic teachers. Teachers of today need support and training to redefine their relationship with scholars, shifting focus to the skills learners will need to thrive. That may include supporting children and young adults’ leadership development, civil responsibility, ability to collaborate and solve problems in way that considers multiple stakeholders and competing priorities.
Another key takeaway was that mental health is increasingly understood as essential to positive individual and societal outcomes. Public-private partnerships are necessary to ensure that children of all ages and at all levels of the schooling system need to be taught the importance of mental health, how to safeguard it, and how to seek help when they experience mental ill-health.
JUST ENERGY TRANSITION
Presented in partnership with Sasol
As South Africa shifts away from reliance on coal towards cleaner sources of energy, collaboration and partnership are key to tackle complex and interconnected societal and economic issues and realise positive systematic impact. South Africa faces multiples challenges in the form of changing weather patterns that will affect access to resources such as water, social inequality, and slower economic growth. Care should be taken to ensure that the transition is handled with empathy so that the negative impact of job losses on families and the mining communities is minimised. Long term partnerships should be developed and appropriate tools to measure impact accurately should also be discussed
One of the outcomes of the session was that collaboration and partnership are key to tackle complex and interconnected societal and economic issues and realise positive systematic impact as South Africa transitions towards green energy. Links between small businesses, more established commercial enterprises, and government are necessary to facilitate skills and knowledge transfer and to ensure that the energy transition is inclusive and just. There are multiple opportunities for reskilling, upskilling, and job creation.
Also, local governments are best placed to champion and incentivize the transition to green energy because they promote appropriate business development, employment, and upskilling opportunities to the people in the communities they serve and understand.