The collaborative community met on 5th May. The group looked at the challenges of volunteer recruitment and management and the ‘lack of cooperation and support from parents, teachers, school, learners and volunteers’. The solutions that were generated were broadly; to involve, to enthuse, and to foster positive relationships.

Involvement

The theme of the discussion initially centred on cooperation; def. persons working together for a common benefit. Cooperation is therefore a two-way relationship with both/all parties in the relationship working to and for benefit i.e. it is not just the organisation that is benefiting but the volunteer as well.

The important aspect of any stakeholder relationship is that both parties are engaged and committed to that relationship. You cannot hope for cooperation or support from a disengaged partner. So, how do you foster engagement? By involving a stakeholder.  Luckily this is generally a continuously reinforcing cycle from; involvement to engagement to attachment to cooperation to support to greater involvement.

Some ideas to involve stakeholders were discussed and you can read more here. When involving any stakeholder patience is necessary. Support and cooperation takes time to build up and disengagement will happen. I read a quote recently which should be kept in mind as we engage our stakeholders.

‘Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.’ Joyce Meyer.

Passion and Enthusiasm

Another powerful method of engagement is to foster passion and enthusiasm. As our external evaluation noted IkamvaYouth’s staff have an immense passion for their work and their ‘enthusiasm is infectious’ and permeates the entire organisation. Enthusiasm is generally untaught but can be cultivated though finding love for what you do, purpose in what you do, and the ability to see an ideal result/end goal of what you do.

We as a community have found that talking and connecting nourishes our enthusiasm. Many organisations and individuals are working in isolation to deliver tutoring programmes in their communities. We are often doing things that we think are rudimentary or insignificant but for others these activities can offer innovative and ingenious solutions to their challenges. 

Sharing information and listening to others, and just bringing passionate individuals together reminds us of the love we have for our work, the sense of purpose that it gives us, the ultimate goal for which we are all working towards (Vision 2030), and that other people are there to help support us.

It is through maintaining our own enthusiasm and passion as service providers, and developing our own abilities that we will be able to deliver a quality service for South African youth. The Collaborative Community is helping to acheive this. 

Relationships

The overarching theme of the session was ‘relationships’. Each and every relationship with a stakeholder is different, but what they all have in common is a nature of reciprocity and this must support all stakeholder engagements be it with a learner or the Minster of Education.

The tutor-learner relationship was raised as being fundamental to the success of any tutoring programme. Behind every successful person is a multitude of people and relationships. Some of these relationships have been supportive but unfortunately some have been detrimental. As youth workers, educators, teachers, random individuals with gigantic hearts, we are taking it upon ourselves to be a supportive role in a learner’s life. To provide them with positive role models, dependable relationships, stimulating spaces, and love.

If we can hold this at the centre of what we do, learner attendance will cease to be a problem, other stakeholders will see our passion and enthusiasm, and stakeholders and funders will see the impact, and they will (eventually) cooperate and support us.

The next Collaborative Community gathering will be held on Tuesday 3rd May 9am – 1pm.

New collaborators are always welcomed, but please contact Zoe prior to the event. Email zoe@ikamvayouth.org or call 0744767965.