Hands-on Learning Issue 15 – Alcohol Harms Reduction

Billions of Rands are invested in social development in South Africa. Tens of thousands of people in government and civil society pour their lives into trying to improve society. But it seems like a Sisyphean task – pushing boulders up a hill only to see them roll back down again and again. One of the […]

Posted on 20 Nov 2019


Hands-on Learning Issue 15 – Faith-based organisations

A number of faith-based organisations (FBOs) played an influential role in the struggle against apartheid, but since the advent of democracy, they have, with notable exceptions, been less visible agents for social change, despite continuing to provide relief for the poor. There is no doubt that faith has great transformative power, yet it is not always […]

Posted on 11 Nov 2019


Finding the ‘ordinary magic’ that made me resilient

Photographer Wandie Mesatywa is incredibly resilient as you will read in this essay, in which she shares her story from being a youngster in rural Eastern Cape to becoming a teaching and exhibiting artist. What makes a person resilient?  Are we born that way?  Do you have it or you don’t?  Wandie takes us on […]

Posted on 5 Nov 2019


‘I love the feeling of keeping them safe’ – Men as early childhood development practitioners

“I’m the one that’s struggling here, not her.” This was a father’s response to my umpteenth reassurance that his daughter was okay in her new playgroup. At that moment she was happily arranging mud cakes on a log under the plum tree. I realised later he was observing me to be sure that his daughter […]

Posted on 16 Oct 2019


Hands-on Learning Issue 15

Through our Hands-on Learning publication, we hope to play a helpful role in synthesising information from innovators and implementers in civil society, supporting them to share what they have learned so that others are able to draw from and build on their experiences. In this issue: In addition to its core business, the Renewable Energy […]

Posted on 11 Oct 2019


Prevention of gender-based violence must tackle binge-drinking head-on

The suggestion seems almost insensitive, but the fastest way to reduce gender-based violence in South Africa is not in changing men’s attitudes, but in limiting their access to alcohol. Buried in the President’s recent address to Parliament on GBV was one fairly bland sentence, that ‘drug and alcohol abuse fuels the gender-based violence pandemic’.  Imagine […]

Posted on 4 Oct 2019


Let’s get behind the General Education Certificate — and make it work

Currently, half of all children who start school make it to matric — the majority drop out in Grade 10 and 11 after repeating multiple grades. Grade 9 marks the end of compulsory schooling; if done right, formalising this point in a learner’s educational journey could be an important mechanism to improve outcomes for young […]

Posted on 3 Oct 2019


Our challenge is psychological as much as it is economic: Ten ways to create new opportunity for young people

We are fast running out of time to create hope for the millions of young people who are still excluded from the formal economy. Escalating violence in South Africa shows that the problem is not absolute poverty; after all, there are many countries poorer but more peaceful than ours. Rather, the problem is extreme inequality, […]

Posted on 16 Sep 2019


The true cost of our failing education system

Despite significant investment in South Africa’s education system[1], far too many children cannot read or write and struggle with basic numeracy. Not only is this robbing our learners of their potential, but it’s also hurting our economy, too, with a new report revealing that grade repetition costs us R20-billion a year. South Africa’s education system […]

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Posted on 2 Sep 2019


Time to consider the introduction of a minimum unit price on alcohol

In May 2018 Scotland introduced a minimum unit price of 50 pence per unit (8 grams) of alcohol, with the aim of reducing abusive drinking.[1] Research had shown that a large proportion of very cheap alcohol consumed in Scotland took the form of heavy-drinking, resulting in drunkenness and other socially unacceptable behaviour.[2] South Africa’s situation […]

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Posted on 12 Aug 2019