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Implementation Experience

Browse our collection of articles that reflect on and/or offer useful analysis on the 10 opportunities for social change that form the basis of our five-year strategy.

(Click on each block to explore more)

1 Drive public innovation by reigniting civil society

Hands-on Learning Issue 14 – Networks as amplifiers of social impact

8 Jul 2019

Dynamic networks are amplifier strategies that enable social innovators to achieve two vital objectives: scale and impact. DGMT supports a number of initiatives that use strategies to mobilise large, ever-growing networks of people. A social network is a connected group of people who interact in different ways to inform, influence and mutually benefit each other. […]

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Hands-on Learning Issue 14

24 Jun 2019

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: Dynamic networks are amplifier strategies that enable social innovators […]

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Setting up a computer laboratory on a shoestring budget

3 Mar 2015

Digital technologies provide new opportunities for learning, and experience using a computer is a pre-requisite for most jobs in today’s economy. However, in low-income and rural communities, the cost of setting up a computer laboratory is often insurmountable.  This blog explains how Johannesburg-based non-profit Streetlight Schools set up a computer lab for less than R1 000 per […]

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Understanding Quality Assurance in a social franchising context

19 Feb 2015

In the nonprofit sector where critical knowledge is often tacit, the process of ensuring consistent delivery of a quality service can be challenging.  This learning brief considers how Quality Assurance might be understood in a social franchising context.  It introduces processes and tools that one might expect to see included in a quality assurance system and […]

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2 Release the systemic chokes on innovation that are perpetuated by exclusion

Hands up if you love 3D printing innovations!

3 Aug 2015

“My goal is to be able to drive a car one day” says Archie, a South African father with a left hand amputation. Archie and I met at a training workshop where he volunteered as a client for trainees, like myself, who are learning how to make and fit a 3D printed “Robohand“. Robohand’s “3D printing for […]

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Technology making a difference

23 Mar 2015

Lack of access to appropriate health care in rural areas is a well-known problem.  However, in some cases technology can make a real difference. In 2014 we started supporting Dr William Mapham in activities related to the roll-out and testing of the Vula Eye Health App.  This app enables lay people to test for eye […]

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A new model for community-based infant hearing screening … lessons from recent research

19 Feb 2015

Recent national surveys in the private and public health care sectors of South Africa reveal that roughly 90% of newborns have no prospect of having their hearing screened. Undetected hearing impairment can lead to persistent language, speech and cognitive delays with serious social and economic consequences for the individual.  Here, a new model for community-based […]

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3 Create unlikely networks to stimulate positive change

Experiencing Activate!

22 Mar 2013

I dream that Mount Frere will produce the top performing matriculants in the country and all its schools will achieve a 100% matric pass rate. Those of you who know Mount Frere know just how big my dream is, but for those of you who don’t here are the facts: lowest matric pass rate (47.2%) […]

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Activate! South Africa’s new leaders and public innovators

1 Jun 2012

In January 2012, a new national network of young public innovators was established under the name ‘Activate! Leadership and Public Innovation’.  This year 220 young adult leaders drawn from communities across South Africa have joined a three year programme to build their skills in public innovation.  At this point, the 2012 Activators have completed Module […]

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Perspectives on Leadership Development – Lessons from Life and Practice

11 Oct 2011

Earlier this year TSiBA Education endeavoured to explore the state of leadership development in South Africa’s social sector. The overarching impetus was to explore two key questions: “Where will the next Mandelas, Tutus and Rampheles come from? And what do we know collectively, about helping to nurture them?” Prior to the official release of their […]

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Go for Gold: Mediating Opportunity Connections for Youth in the Construction Industry

11 Oct 2011

The Go for Gold programme is a unique partnership between civil society, the Western Cape Education Department and the Construction sector. The partnership emerged as a response to the critical shortage of candidates from disadvantaged communities with the necessary grounding in science and mathematics for entry into the construction industry. Over the last decade they […]

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4 Give every child the benefit of early childhood development

Early Learning: The Great Equalizer for South Africa

18 Apr 2018

Education has always been thought of as one of our greatest tools for liberation. We used it to overcome colonialism and Apartheid. But after 24 years of democracy, can education liberate us from the persistent legacy of racial inequality that continues to plague the country? Research suggests that an effective way of using education to […]

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Simple, powerful lessons from Colombia

29 Jul 2015

I recently participated in a meeting of the Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally (IYCG), in Addis Ababa. For me, the stand-out presentation was by Constanza Alarcon from the Office of the President in Colombia.  She described how the country has focused its efforts on the national priority of early childhood development, and produced […]

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aeioTu: an example of an Early Childhood Development social franchise in South America

19 Feb 2015

aeioTu has designed a high-quality and comprehensive Early Childhood Development (ECD) package for 0-5 year old children in Colombia, with the specific aim of increasing ECD service provision to low income families.  In this learning brief they offer useful ideas on programme design and the development process.  Read the article here.

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The DG Murray Trust Early Thinking Project: Developing early thinking with Philosophy for Children

2 Jun 2014

Reflective thinking is important for democracies and society in general, but even more so in seriously polarised societies such as South Africa – where communities are still divided and where violence is common in dealing with social conflict.  The ability to think reflectively and critically is a skill that can be cultivated through education and […]

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5 Stop nutritional stunting among children under two years

Tackling the challenge of intestinal worms: A rural ECD perspective

31 Jan 2013

Intestinal worms and their impact on child health and development is a major health issue throughout the country but particularly in rural areas where lack of adequate sanitation and the large number of free roaming livestock and domestic animals exacerbate the problem. Through their early childhood development programme the Angus Gillis Charitable Trust is trying […]

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Mentor Mothers Eastern Cape: Philani’s Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Rural Initiative

1 Jun 2012

Philani has developed a home based maternal, child health and nutrition model in an effort to work with the South African government in reaching the Millennium Development goals (4 & 5).  Their model has been shown to be effective in an urban setting and in this Learning Brief they share the results and lessons that […]

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What good are food gardens? A brief review of South African literature

10 Feb 2012

Even though South Africa is relatively food secure, more than 14 million people (35%) are vulnerable to food insecurity and there are high rates of malnutrition amongst young children.  Can food gardens be an effective nutrition intervention? Justine Jowell investigated the possibilities on behalf of DGMT, looking in particular at nutrition for children aged 0-5 […]

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6 Make sure every child is ready to read by the time they go to school

A million happy faces: Nal’ibali talks about the success of World Read Aloud Day 2018

16 Mar 2018

We were so excited by the fact that Nal’ibali mobilised South Africans to read to 1 294 345 children on World Read Aloud Day this year, that we asked them to tell us how they did it:    You have seen an 80% increase in the number of children who were read to on World Read […]

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Volunteer-driven literacy programmes in schools: why parents and teachers join, and why they stay

30 Sep 2016

The degree to which children acquire language skills is a strong predictor of future academic success, educational attainment, employment and income.  In fact, reading is a powerful tool to tackle poverty and inequality: when children read for pleasure, it has a greater effect on their educational achievement than their family’s socio-economic status. There is thus […]

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Four key elements of an effective learning environment and practical strategies to achieve it in a rural environment

15 Aug 2016

Axium Education is an NPO based in Zithulele, in the rural Eastern Cape. For the past two years, DGMT has supported three of its educational programmes: the Community Reading Programme (in-school early literacy support for Grade R-3), the MasaKHANe programme (after-school Maths and English support for Grade 6-9) and the Ekukhuleni programme (after-school/weekend Maths, Science […]

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The Karnataka Learning Partnership: what data can do

23 Nov 2015

  Imagine: A parent is trying to decide whether to send her child to the preschool at the end of her street, or the one in a nearby neighbourhood. She’s heard the faraway preschool is better, but it also has higher fees, and she’s not quite sure what “better” means. An NGO is planning a […]

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7 Build simple, loving connections for every child

Hands-on Learning Issue 14 – Building communities free of violence

10 Jul 2019

Violence against children has long-term effects that impact not just the development of our children, but the development of our nation. A costing study commissioned by Save the Children South Africa estimated that early exposure to violence during childhood resulted in the loss of R238-billion in human capital – the equivalent to 6% of the […]

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Be inspired: A beautiful short film on the importance of the bonding in the first 1000 days

29 May 2015

Have a look at this lovely short film recently released by the Ububele Educational & Psychotherapy Trust: “The first 1000 Days of Life, from conception to age two, is the most important time in a child’s life,” says Tony Hamburger, Executive Director of Ububele Educational & Psychotherapy Trust, which produced the film together with Bloom & Stone. […]

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Working with government services: Lessons from the Perinatal Mental Health Project

2 Jun 2014

The Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) develops and advocates for accessible maternal mental health care that can be delivered effectively at scale in low resource settings. Working within public health facilities, they hope to demonstrate the need for maternal mental health services within the state health and welfare system, and to provide a model of […]

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Assessing the ability of loveLife goGogetters to improve outcomes for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children

31 Jan 2013

loveLife’s goGogetter programme aims to assist Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) by changing the circumstances that add to their vulnerability.  This is done by establishing and drawing on social networks and building social capital through elderly women called goGogetters. In 2011 a series of three case studies was done to establish whether the structured social […]

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8 Place failing schools ‘under new management’ so that children can succeed

Partnerships point the way to better public education

1 Apr 2018

Despite their dubious role in the financial crisis of 2008, some US banks were deemed by policy-makers to be ‘too big to fail’ because their failure would have led to a global economic meltdown. Rightly or wrongly, that conclusion triggered an unprecedented international effort to rehabilitate them and restore global financial prosperity. As South Africa […]

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Improving how schools work – through better organisation and planning

11 Oct 2011

Government has developed a school improvement strategy that plans to establish an annual school management cycle in all schools to improve and ensure school functionality. The burden for the implementation of this strategy lies on the school principals and district offices who often lack capacity and know-how to ensure school functionality and delivery of quality […]

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9 Create new connections to opportunity for young people

Driving change: NERDAfrica’s advice for young people wanting to start social change initiatives

29 Mar 2016

To grow economically, reduce inequality, and foster social solidarity so that we thrive as a nation, South Africa needs young leaders that will inspire innovation in both the public and private sectors.   Tumelo Motaung is precisely such a young leader. Having participated in a variety of youth leadership initiatives, including Activate!, Tumelo started the […]

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NGO volunteering as a first rung strategy for tackling youth unemployment

19 Feb 2015

As South Africa continues to experience chronically high unemployment rates, it is clear that a multi-pronged effort, involving both the public and private sectors, is required to support young people as they transition into the world of work. Here, the key elements of NGO youth volunteer programmes are explored and some consideration is given to […]

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The Language of Access

11 Sep 2014

How we harness technological innovation in rural South African communities in order to close the education gap between urban and rural learners is as exciting as it is challenging. In this learning brief, Good Work Foundation describes what they are doing – and some of their challenges – at their Hazyview Digital Learning Centre, located in Shabalala village […]

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ACTIVATE! – Evaluating Youth Leadership for Policy Impact

4 Mar 2014

Often one of the most difficult aspects of launching a new project is figuring out how to measure its impact effectively. The Activate! Leadership for Public Innovation programme has an opportunity to do ground-breaking work in measuring the impact of its leadership development intervention and the policy implications that it might hold.  It is a […]

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10 Support young people to keep their grip on opportunity

Hands-on Learning Issue 14 – Steps to address South Africa’s dropout crisis

12 Jul 2019

The majority of learners who start Grade 1 will not complete their schooling. The South African education system is failing our children because a lack of educational qualifications puts them at a disadvantage in the labour market, increasing the prospect of a life mired in unemployment, and in so doing, perpetuating cycles of poverty and […]

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Leaving no child behind: The road to Zero School Dropout – Interview Series #3

14 Jun 2018

Today we feature the last of our interviews with our partners working with us in the Zero School Dropout Initiative. In previous weeks we talked to Bottom-Up, Khula Development Group, Community Action Partnership and SAILI. These interviews can be read here and here. We end off the series by talking to Tabisa Bata of Masibumbane Development Organisation and Zeni […]

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Leaving no child behind: The road to Zero School Dropout – Interview Series #2

7 Jun 2018

Last month we introduced the Zero School Dropout Initiative and featured the first two of our trailblazers. Today we continue our series by hearing from two more of our partners, Ilze Olivier of Community Action Partnership and Jennie Rist of SAILI. Ilze Olivier – Community Action Partnership What motivates you to work in this space? There is personal […]

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Leaving no child behind: The road to Zero School Dropout – Interview Series #1

30 May 2018

Last week we introduced the Zero School Dropout Initiative and explored the magnitude of the issue. We continue our series by hearing from two of our six partners. First up is Ashley Visagie of Bottomup and Daleen Labuschagne of the Khula Development Group. Ashley Visagie – Bottomup What motivates you to work in this space? Half our […]

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