The Learning Lunch podcast explores ideas, approaches and social innovations – creating opportunity for non-profit organisations’ teams to discover what others are learning and space to reflect on what these insights might mean for their own strategy and programme implementation.

Community-based organisations (CBOs) are non-profits operating at the local level, albeit with limited resources at their disposal. They tend to be reliant on volunteers, responsive to the unique needs of their community and best placed to diagnose problems and identify solutions with residents. Many are financially excluded from donor funding because they operate in rural and far-flung areas with limited visibility and recognition; they don’t have established track records; and they don’t have the administrative capacity or know-how to provide the financial, monitoring and compliance documents that donors expect. But despite these constraints, they play a crucial role in grassroots development, community empowerment, and social change. 

To help CBOs overcome these funding challenges, DGMT is exploring a trust-based grant-making model that improves access to cash streams while also placing more decision-making power in the hands of the grantees themselves and the communities they serve. The trust-based funding model acknowledges that communities and organisations often have the best understanding of their needs and are better positioned to determine how resources can be most effectively utilised to achieve positive outcomes. 

This is why DGMT, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project have partnered to launch the Sukuthula! Unmute & Act initiative supporting community-based organisations that respond to gender-based violence in four districts in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. 

Ultimately, this initiative aims to demonstrate that South Africa needs a coordinated funding approach at the community level to adequately respond to gender-based violence.  

In this podcast, we are talking to Zandile Mqwathi, the project manager for gender-based violence initiatives at DGMT.

Zandile Veronicah Mqwathi is a seasoned public health professional holding a Master’s degree in drama therapy. With over thirteen years of experience, she has led numerous impactful Social and Behavioral Change programs, focusing on areas like HIV, gender-based violence (GBV), capacity building, and community and youth development interventions. As a former member of South Africa’s Presidential Youth Working Group, she collaborates with diverse stakeholders to advocate for the needs of the country’s youth. Zandile is committed to holistic well-being and has addressed burnout among care workers in South Africa, co-authoring publications on mental health and contributing to reflection-style book reviews focusing on black women’s vulnerability, strength, holding, and healing. Currently, she serves as the Gender-Based Violence Initiatives Project Manager for DG Murray Trust. Zandile’s career underscores her dedication to innovative approaches in public health, blending drama therapy, advocacy, and research to foster lasting impacts on individual and community well-being.