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Reflection and Analysis

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

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

12 Aug 2019

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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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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Innovation insights from civil society leaders

2 May 2019

This an excerpt from the first issue of a publication called Improvise by the Fellowship for Organisational Innovation. During each immersion, we invited inspiring people to come and talk about different topics relevant to that immersion. Nomvula Dlamini, Director and Practitioner at the Community Development Resource Association (CDRA) shares her thoughts on the theme of […]

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The three powers we possess as innovators for change

1 May 2019

This an excerpt from the first issue of a publication called Improvise by the Fellowship for Organisational Innovation. The below article is based on a talk Dr David Harrison, DGMT CEO, gave to Fellows during Immersion 1 filling them with hope and inspiration as they continued with the rest of the Fellowship activities. As actors […]

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

The physics of change

10 Apr 2019

An article from DGMT’s Annual Report, 2018 You may have seen the 2017 movie, Loving Vincent. Each of the 65 000 frames in the 100-minute long film is an individual oil painting on canvas. It mimics Van Gogh’s stippled style of art, exemplified by his famous painting, The Starry Night. He uses thousands of tiny […]

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Celebrating women’s month with the unsung heroines in the field of development: Julita Dorman

8 Aug 2017

Women’s Month stories often focus on renowned women. This series aims to celebrate some of the women we have worked with in development who you may not yet know about, but who have made an impact where they are, with whatever resources they have had. Each woman has a valuable journey consisting of trials, learnings […]

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The same but different … mediating meaningful employment for persons with disabilities

19 Feb 2015

This learning brief considers how the uptake of persons with disabilities as sought-after employees might be facilitated. Recommendations are also provided for the role that industry could play in facilitating best-fit employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Read the article here

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Preparing for an Ageing Population – Policy Implications for South Africa

11 Sep 2014

South Africa’s fertility rate is declining and it is projected that this trend will continue. When persistent low fertility leads to a decline in the size of successive birth cohorts, it means that the population will start ageing. In this learning brief, HelpAge International considers what this means for the demands that will inevitably be placed on […]

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3 Create unlikely networks to stimulate positive change

Unlock, inspire, include: How unlikely networks push us forward

18 Oct 2017

DGMT’s strategy and 10 opportunities to change South Africa are clearly set out. Still, some of these opportunities are easier to grasp than others: for example, most people would immediately understand what it means to give every child the benefit of early childhood development. The steps to achieving that are also clear, even if there are […]

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A compelling business proposition: Create value at no extra cost

11 Oct 2017

Just over a decade ago, a senior official at national Treasury told me that Government was “awash with money”. Not anymore. Cost-cutting is the order of the day. Things are only going to get tighter after the medium-term budget policy statement on 25th October. We will all feel sick to the pit of our stomachs […]

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Language development to reshape the national economy

24 Oct 2014

This article by DGMT CEO, David Harrison, was first published in the City Press on the 19th of October 2014. What you do when you’ve stared at the same problem for years and still can’t figure out how to solve it?  You frame it differently. See it through someone else’s eyes. So the next time […]

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The role of grant-making foundations in South Africa

8 Oct 2012

The D G Murray Trust, and a number of DGMT funded projects, had the priviledge to be involved in the Towards Carnegie 3 conference held in Cape Town last month. The conference entitled ‘Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality’ was styled as the Third Carnegie Conference (following on from that organised in 1932 and 1984), and aimed […]

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4 Give every child the benefit of early childhood development

Commentary on the proposed migration of ECD functions from DSD to DBE

17 Apr 2019

The commentary below was delivered by DGMT CEO, Dr David Harisson, on the proposed migration of ECD functions from DSD to DBE at the NECT 2nd Education Dialogue on ECD on 12 April 2019 Time of opportunity The President’s SONA announcement of a transfer of responsibility for ECD centres from DSD to DBE and the […]

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Risk and opportunity as early childhood development moves to Department of Basic Education

11 Feb 2019

This year’s State of the Nation Address may have radically changed South Africa’s prospects for education and economic growth. For the first time, there is a clear commitment to early childhood development (ECD), which is globally recognized as the most powerful investment in human capital that a country can make.[1],[2] At last there is real […]

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Love, Germs and Skill: Reframing early childhood care and education

6 Aug 2018

In this talk DGMT CEO, Dr David Harrison, shakes up our thinking about early childhood care and education by asking probing questions such as “what is love?” and “how can we harness the power of love to enable children to thrive?” He draws on biology, genetics, chemistry and history to bring us closer to answering […]

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Homeopathic doses of early learning just won’t work

26 Feb 2018

Once the dust settles, it will dawn on us that much of the extra R57 billion allocated to higher education will be wasted as half the beneficiaries drop out. Why? Because their educational foundations are too shaky to cope with the demands of university or college. Over the next three years, more than a trillion […]

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5 Stop nutritional stunting among children under two years

Nourishing the future we want

25 Feb 2019

Without proper nutrition, children will never learn – or earn – as much as they could have if they were nourished correctly in their first 1 000 days of life. There are simple ways we can start to tackle SA’s stunting crisis to help our children reach their full potential – and, in so doing, […]

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Growing Greatness and curbing stunting to unleash children’s full potential

28 Sep 2018

Here’s the thing about motherhood. Not only does it lead to intricate involvement in the wellbeing of your own children, but it also extends that to the children around you. This is evident in the work of Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso, who heads the Grow Great Campaign, which aims to bring SA closer to achieving […]

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Why we need big business to make bold moves and get behind this simple super food

21 Sep 2018

Shoprite recently won public kudos by ‘zero-rating’ Ultrex sanitary pads – essentially selling the brand at cost price. This bold move is exactly what we should expect from private companies facing up to this country’s social and economic inequalities. Although South Africans may not experience the extreme poverty of people in low-income countries, the indignity […]

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What is undermining our investments in South Africa’s children?

15 Feb 2018

Returning to work following the December break, my colleagues at the Zero-Stunting Initiative and I, began to share stories of how our families view the work we are doing to tackle widespread and chronic undernutrition in SA.  Stunted children are short-for-age because they don’t get enough of the right foods, and this affects their ability […]

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

We do have solutions for SA’s reading crisis

16 Mar 2018

The national senior certificate results are an important annual benchmark of the state of education. In 2017, they showed some improvement, with a pass rate of 75%. But they have two major limitations. First, they reflect only the achievement of that half of school-leavers who actually wrote the grade 12 exams. The other half had […]

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Creating a Story-Powered Nation

7 Sep 2017

“Reading opens up new worlds. It gives us power – to learn new things, tell our own stories, and shape our futures”.  [Extract from a Story-Powered Nation] At DGMT we often talk about the importance of reading, of ensuring that children are ready to read when they go to school. We believe it is a key […]

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How to make sense of mother-tongue instruction debates

2 May 2017

Many parents find the debates about mother-tongue instruction very confusing.  All they want to know is “what is best for my child”? Is it better to introduce English sooner or later?  Will my child get mixed up if she learns more than one language at the same time?  Is it best to send her to […]

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Your Mandela Day to-do list: Grow empathy, connect to others, take action – but choose wisely

18 Jul 2016

The message behind Mandela Day is that we all have the ability and responsibility to change the world for the better.  In theory many people agree with this sentiment, judging from the 2.8K likes that a Nelson Mandela quote like “our society needs to re-establish a culture of caring” can garner on the Nelson Mandela […]

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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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What it’s really like to be at school in South Africa

26 Nov 2018

As a country, we have committed to greater access to education for all children. The importance of early childhood education (the first five years of a child’s life) to improve children’s capacity to learn and thrive is now firmly on the national agenda. Even the significance of prenatal care is making inroads in our attempt […]

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Embrace: Telling the stories of motherhood in South Africa

7 Nov 2018

Embrace is a national movement for connected, supported and celebrated motherhood. We want to see every new mother embraced and flourishing from the start of her motherhood journey, understanding that an empowered and embraced mother raises a thriving child. 31 stories in 31 days. That was where we began this conversation. In an effort to […]

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Firestarter: How innovation can light up South Africa

13 Apr 2018

South Africa has a vibrant civil society history. However, post-1994 and the country’s first democratic elections, many civil society organisations lost their spark. DGMT believes that if we reignite civil society, we can drive public innovation and light up South Africa. In a deep-dive discussion, David Harrison, DGMT CEO, examines the challenges and rewards of […]

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

Finding heroes and hope in South Africa’s education system

28 Jan 2019

Teachers who sew together the fabric of our society sow the seeds of a more prosperous nation at the same time.  However, the picture of education in South Africa as it is unfolding on school grounds and classrooms across the country, is complex, messy and often not easy to witness.  What should give us hope […]

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The public school partnership pilot – is it worth it? Let parents decide

3 Nov 2017

Here is a frightening prediction: over the next decade, the number of children in private schools will increase from one-sixteenth to one sixth of all learners in South Africa. That proportion will then level off because other parents who prefer private education won’t be able to pay for it. As the State will not have […]

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Public-school partnerships: Healthy scepticism, yes. Paralysing caution, no.

19 May 2017

Is every non-State institution a private company driven by profit and neoliberal tendencies? This is the question that critics of public school partnerships need to answer. Almost all criticism of the Collaboration Schools model being tested in South Africa fails to make the distinction between civil society organisations and for-profit companies in public education. These […]

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Collaboration Schools – concentrating energy and expertise in the poorest public schools

21 Oct 2016

By David Harrison This article was first published in the Daily Maverick on 20 October 2016.  Equal Education has joined trade unions in calling for the draft Western Cape Provincial School Amendment Act to be abandoned because, among other things, it makes provision for a new category of public schools. These schools, called Collaboration Schools, […]

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9 Create new connections to opportunity for young people

Providing a multi-faceted package of support to young people

20 Jun 2019

“Even the ants are [more] alive than me. They are always busy collecting food in preparing for tough times. … I am just like a statue”, wrote Thandiswa (not her real name) in her diary as a young unemployed woman in her twenties. Having grown up in Khayelitsha after her parents relocated from the former […]

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Creating jobs and improving education at the same time

8 Feb 2019

There’s a wonderful book by Dr Seuss that all parents should read to their children. It’s called Oh, the Places you’ll Go, written for young people as they set off on life’s exciting journey towards success (“98 and ¾ per cent guaranteed”!). But it’s not all breathlessly gung-ho. The book acknowledges that there are amazing […]

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David, Goliath and half a gig of data

4 Feb 2019

With a third of young South Africans marginalised from work, training and employment opportunities – there are over 8 million young people itching for opportunity. As Shakira Maharaj points out, young people are ready to make the most of what they get.  This past weekend was a big one for South Africa – the last […]

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What it’s really like to be at school in South Africa

26 Nov 2018

As a country, we have committed to greater access to education for all children. The importance of early childhood education (the first five years of a child’s life) to improve children’s capacity to learn and thrive is now firmly on the national agenda. Even the significance of prenatal care is making inroads in our attempt […]

READ MORE

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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Children should feel valued, not threatened

12 Apr 2019

Our daughter came home in tears from her first day of the new school term.  All the teachers had commenced class with a pep talk on knuckling down to work right away. Some chose to motivate their students, but three harped on the unpleasant consequences of poor behaviour. In school, the wages of sin is […]

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Connecting with learners to keep them in school

29 Mar 2019

For many learners, school can feel like a losing battle. We see this in the country’s low matric throughput rates – with only 40% of learners who start school going on to pass matric 12 years later[1]. Merle Mansfield of the Zero School Dropout Initiative asks what can be done now to give our learners […]

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Creating jobs and improving education at the same time

8 Feb 2019

There’s a wonderful book by Dr Seuss that all parents should read to their children. It’s called Oh, the Places you’ll Go, written for young people as they set off on life’s exciting journey towards success (“98 and ¾ per cent guaranteed”!). But it’s not all breathlessly gung-ho. The book acknowledges that there are amazing […]

READ MORE