The fifteen people who’re ensuring that hundreds of South African youth pull themselves and others out of poverty through education finally got to work together in person. For an entire week! 

Being an IY natcom member isn’t easy. It’s a huge amount of responsibility, with high expectations and the pressure to make every cent stretch further than most people would think possible. One of the ways in which we run a low-cost, high-impact model with national reach is by leveraging technology, and our national team works from townships and cities across the country, connecting via Skype, email, gchat, google docs and the ikamvanitezone. Connectivity challenges at many branches make our online meetings difficult, and we often find ourselves trying to have big conversations and make important decisions with distracting background noise, calls dropping, and participants either unable to hear or be heard.  

So the 18th September marked the day that many natcom members got to meet their colleagues in person for the first time. And eish but did we maximise that face-to-face time all week! 

Mignon Lotz-Keyser from Peer Power generously volunteered her time, skills and expertise to facilitate our conversations, from vision & values right through to the action-item-to-do list for ensuring that this vision is realised. Key strategic partners Capitec, the Learning Trust and iKapaData joined us at points during the week, and our chairperson Leigh Meinert took leave from her day job as MD of TSiBA to provide valuable input over two days. Dennis Clark, our accountant, joined for the Thursday evening braai and Friday Finance Day, where we spoke about improving our financial tracking and reporting processes and presented the first round of proposed branch budgets for 2012.

We’d parked many big decisions for the week which meant long conversation, dialogue and debate which often stretched late into the evening. The chunky issues we grappled with were themes within this overarching one: “How do we grow, expand our reach, improve our professionalism and operate sustainably without negatively impacting our organisational culture and losing our soul?”  We realised that our organisation is at another growth phase, whereby the need for more structures and procedures has presented itself to a group of social entrepreneurs who value democratic decision making, independence and autonomy, and hold views as strong as their performance is high. 

Thankfully this small group of people who’re changing the world are smart, committed, and work wonderfully well together. The culmination of beautifully diverse yet unifying views and ideas, expressed in the inspirational setting of Goedgedacht farm, resulted in a strong, thoughtful plan for our next steps and leaps forward. 

Read the full report, or simply get an overview of what it’s all building towards from our co-created vision for the next five years:

Our culture of responsibility is creating a ripple effect of thriving individuals and communities. Our intergenerational ikamvanites provide access to quality education in inspirational spaces everywhere. We are an integrated network driving change by paying it forward. 

From Left to Right, Back row: Dennis Clark (Accountant), Nombuyiselo Dziba (Nyanga coordinator), Modjadji Selowe (Ivory Park assistant), Liesel Bakker (Makhaza coordinator), Zoe Mann (Natcom project manager & Masi assistant), Phillip Mcelu (Makhaza Supplementary Tutoring Head, MathsYesWeCan project manager and fieldworker for IkamvaYouth Evaluation), Mignon Lotz-Keyser (Facilitator), Joy Olivier (Director)

From Left to Right, Front row: Andrew Barrett’s shadow (Gauteng coordinator), Sbonelo Cele (Cato Manor assistant), Nico Commeignes (Masi coordinator), Asanda Nanise (Nyanga assistant), Joe Manciya (Ivory Park coordinator), Thobile Mthembu (Cato Manor coordinator), Zukile Keswa (Makhaza coordinator) and Zamo Shongwe (National coordinator)