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DGMT is a public innovator committed to developing South Africa’s potential through strategic investment. Our goal for South Africa is a flourishing people, economy and society. To build a thriving society, more people must have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to fully participate in society and the economy, for the good of one another and in synergy with the environment. But the majority of South Africans are stuck in an inequality trap with wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. Most are stuck in intergenerational loops of exclusion with few chances to escape. Breaking this cycle requires a fundamental change in life trajectories, starting in the womb. DGMT has identified 10 opportunities to escape the inequality trap by achieving three main goals. They span early childhood development; nutritional stunting prevention; literacy promotion; innovation amongst civil society organisations; and youth development.

Goal 1:

An innovative and inclusive society

In an unequal country like South Africa, the legacy of colonialism and apartheid continues to define the ability of the majority to participate meaningfully in our economy and society. If more people had access to the knowledge and skills needed to build a thriving society, the entire country would benefit. We want to ensure that all people – particularly those that are marginalised – benefit from social and technological innovation to improve their livelihoods and quality of life. This requires cultivating and connecting imaginative leaders to change the status quo; releasing the systemic chokes that trap us in inequality; and building productive synergies between communities and the environment.

Who you can speak to at DGMT about this goal:

Onesisa Mtwa
Innovation Director

Onesisa’s portfolio is focused on nurturing a society that does not perpetuate exclusion and inequality. The portfolio works to achieve this through capacitating civil society and community leadership, and tackling systemic chokes on innovation, while ensuring synergy with the environment. Some of her key focus areas are social welfare financing reform and lobbying for mobile content and services provided by public benefit organisations to be zero-rated. In addition, her portfolio partners with organisations to build sustainable food and waste management systems. Onesisa is available for interviews and to answer questions related to her area of work.

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Zimasa Mpemnyama
Project Lead

Zimasa Mpemnyama is the Project Lead for the Alcohol Harms Reduction (AHR) campaign in the Innovative and Inclusive Society (IIS) portfolio, which aims to address binge and heavy drinking in vulnerable communities in South Africa. The campaign advocates for policy development to mitigate social and economic costs associated with South Africa’s heavy drinking culture such as road fatalities, gender-based violence, underage drinking, and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Aligning with the World Health Organisation's Five Best Buys, the campaign seeks to regulate liquor trading, restrict alcohol advertising, lower drinking and driving limits, control alcohol prices and taxes, and establish spaces for psychosocial support. The holistic approach targets legislators and communities while supporting grant funding for alcohol harm prevention and treatment organisations.

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Zandile Mqwathi
Zandile Mqwathi
Project Lead

Zandile Mqwathi is the Gender-based violence (GBV) Initiatives Project Manager within the Innovative and Inclusive Society (IIS) portfolio. Her role revolves around spearheading initiatives dedicated to uplifting women's lives in South Africa. Through the GBV Initiatives, Zandile aims to demonstrate and support effective strategies to combat the prevalent crisis of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF). These initiatives focus on both modelling innovative solutions and providing support to address gender-based violence, with a strong emphasis on dismantling systemic gender inequalities. Ultimately, the goal is to promote the adoption of clear and strategic approaches in combating gender-based violence, fostering collaboration among funding organisations and civil society entities. This collective effort aims to expand funding opportunities for initiatives targeting GBV and promoting gender equality.

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Goal 2:

All children on track by Grade 4

A child’s chances in life should not be determined by circumstances outside of their control such as where they are born, their gender, race and postal code. Inequality of opportunity means that every child does not start their life with the same chances, inhibiting them from reaching their full potential as adults. Most are stuck in intergenerational loops of exclusion with few chances to escape. Breaking this cycle requires a fundamental change in life trajectories, starting in the womb. It involves reaching people – children, young people, pregnant mothers, parents, practitioners, managers and leaders – where they are now. For instance, evidence shows that ensuring access to early learning presents a real opportunity to address intergenerational poverty, advance equality and development, and benefit a largely informal sector that is dominated by black women. This requires us to build a strong public mandate for quality early learning; improve coordination and leadership to strengthen institutions; capacitate fit-for-purpose public systems that facilitate delivery of quality early learning programmes; design effective delivery platforms that support the scaling of early learning within informal socio-economic networks; and unlock public finances for early learning.

Who you can speak to at DGMT about this goal:

Kentse Radebe
Innovation Director

Kentse collaborates with civil society organisations, stakeholders, government departments and donors to leverage opportunities for young children to thrive as they grow up. Her portfolio covers issues ranging from nutrition, maternal support, universal access to early childhood development and early literacy. Her portfolio is always engaging with emerging data and research in the ECD sector to better inform policies and practices. Kentse also has a keen interest in work that focuses on how organisations can reduce social stratification and advance equity and social justice. Kentse is available for interviews and to answer questions related to her area of work.

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Kwanda Ndoda
Innovation Manager

Kwanda is a civil engineer turned development practitioner. His portfolio of work focuses on the well-being of young children in economically fragile and socially marginalised communities. His areas of experience include programmes that focus on early attachment and positive parenting. He is also exploring ideas that reimagine masculinity and the role of social fathers in the lives of young children. Kwanda is available for interviews and to answer questions related to his area of work.

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Goal 3:

All young people on pathways to productivity

Young people living in South Africa experience multiple vulnerabilities depending on their geography and life circumstances. Young people need income to survive, participate in society and break intergenerational cycles of poverty. But structural, individual and socio-economic obstacles stand in their way. Evidence shows that far too many young people are leaving school without completing their matric or other post-secondary education, which limits their chances of further learning, earning and other possibilities. We know that reaching one’s full potential goes beyond economic participation, which is why the support that young people require must take into account the different social, physical, socio-emotional, economic and environmental factors that signify well-being. It must start early, in homes, communities and schools so that young people are supported to complete their qualifications, don’t become discouraged when applying for work opportunities, stay employed for longer and can seize opportunities for building a productive life.

Who you can speak to at DGMT about this goal:

Bridget Hannah
Innovation Director

Bridget’s portfolio is all about supporting young people in our country to fully participate in society and the economy. In an unequal country like South Africa, there are many socio-economic reasons why young people drop out of school, struggle to find work and battle to build economic livelihoods for themselves. Bridget’s portfolio is focused on really understanding young people’s challenges and driving targeted interventions to support them to keep their grip on opportunities and build productive lives. Bridget is available for interviews and to answer questions related to her area of work.

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Civil society and public innovation

Who you can speak to at DGMT:

David Harrison
Chief Executive Officer

David is our CEO and a trained medical doctor. He has years of experience working with government and policy-makers. He founded the Health Systems Trust (HST) in 1991, a non-governmental organisation supporting health policy; and led loveLife, a national HIV prevention programme for young people in the early 2000s.

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Get in touch with our Communications Team

We are available to arrange interviews; respond to media queries; and share resources, research and news about DGMT’s work.

Rahima Essop
Communications Director
Corne New
Corné Kritzinger
Communications Specialist
Kashifa Ancer
Communications Officer