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.

Civil society organisations are a catalyst for innovation and positive social change in communities – filling gaps in service delivery. To be effective, these organisations must be agile and able to adjust their programmes and products to meet the needs of their communities.

Sometimes this means going back to the drawing board, rethinking programme delivery, and iterating to achieve desired outcomes. But in pressure-cooker environments, many organisations don’t have the time, financial resources or capacity to stop, rethink and start again. After all, they rely on grants, donations and fundraising to keep their operations going. So, when a project is not going according to plan, the pathway to achieving the organisation’s objectives can become less clear and staff morale takes a dip. How do some organisations find their way while others struggle to get back on course? 

In this podcast, we talk to Nomfundo Calana, the project lead of JobStarter – a tech-based initiative that supports young people to get ready for the world of work. The latest version of the JobStarter website and app launched in 2023 after years of refinement. Although this is not unusual for a tech-based product, JobStarter is a non-profit facing similar challenges that others in civil society face, such as capacity constraints and keeping donors onside.

Nomfundo Calana is currently the Project Lead of JobStarter, an online ‘career starter coach’, designed for young people who seek to take their next step. Her professional career started with the recruitment industry, then moved into marketing for Popular Mechanics magazine and Smile 90.4FM respectively. Her dream is to see a country, a city, a community, tackling inequalities, discrimination, biases, and prejudices without fear of being rejected.