IkamvaYouth’s Evaluation Launch

IkamvaYouth’s Evaluation Launch

The Western Cape Government hosted the After-School Game Changer’s symposium on the 16th and 17th of February. The two days were packed with interesting speakers who work in different parts of the education and after-school sector. IkamvaYouth was fortunate to secure a spot at the end of the symposium to launch the findings of a quantitative assessment of the effectiveness of our programme. The assessment was conducted in 2016 by Servaas van der Berg and Lewis McLean, economists from Stellenbosch University.

In 2012, Prof van der Berg and Dr Nic Spaull produced Against the Odds, a largely qualitative study of IkamvaYouth, which provided a range of very useful insights, for example, into learners’ socio-economic situations, their performance in Maths and Science compared with the feeder schools, and the challenges they face at tertiary institutions. However, a major limitation of this study was the lack of realistic comparator groups that could serve as counterfactuals. A big challenge was finding an appropriate benchmark against which to measure the ikamvanites’ achievement. How do we know that their great results are due to IkamvaYouth, and not due to their own motivation and achievement which would have led them to perform well anyway, without being a part of IkamvaYouth?

We were thrilled to have Prof van der Berg return in 2016, together with Lewis McLean, to tackle this challenge and assess IkamvaYouth’s impact with a more rigorous approach. In Succeeding Against the Odds, the researchers have managed to control for learners’ prior performance (and thus for factors such as pre-programme motivation and ability), by matching learners with a comparison group of learners who were not part of IkamvaYouth, but achieved the same results in the grade 9 systemic assessments. They could then compare ikamvanites’ matric exam performance with this group of learners, as well as with the results of the feeder schools (in quintiles 1-3), and with quintile 5 schools.

The researchers presented their findings by taking the audience through this presentation, and demystifying the various graphs and statistics. The graphs depicting the distribution of scores for various groups of learners are especially compelling. As background for viewing these distributions, it’s helpful to have a look at Nic Spaull’s article about school inequality in South Africa, where he shows that we essentially have two public education systems operating in parallel; the distribution of scores for learners in the lower quintiles (poorest) schools, compared with those in quintile 5 (most privileged) are markedly distinct from one another. In Succeeding Against the Odds, van der Berg and McLean show that Ikamvanites’s scores bridge this gap, and, in the case of Life Sciences, even meet the distribution of quintile 5 schools.

Andrew Barret, from Olico, said that “what is especially noteworthy about this study is not just that it shows the clear impact of IkamvaYouth, but that it in all likelihood underestimates this impact. As impressive and significant as these results are, the reality is probably even better,” as the researchers included a host of control variables.

As part of the lead up to the presentation, we heard from Yanga Totyi who is the branch coordinator at our Atlantis branch, as well as Ntebaleng Morake an alumna from the Ebony Park who completed matric in 2012. IkamvaYouth Atlantis opened in June 2016 and Yanga spoke about the challenges and triumphs they have had so far. Ntebaleng Morake is a UCT graduate with an honours degree in Gender and Transformation. Ntebaleng accredits her exposure to different fields of study outside of the conventional to her time at IkamvaYouth. Through the programme she was able to meet young, black men and women who were studying and working in different fields and the poverty induced veil of ignorance was lifted.

After the presentation, Dr van der Berg mentioned that the 2012 evaluation had made two recommendations: (i) The alumni in tertiary are struggling and need additional support, and (ii) the researchers cautioned against fast organisational growth, as they felt that the dilution of the organisation’s enthusiastic leadership across a much bigger organisation may lead to the programme losing some its attractiveness to students. He said he was very glad that the organisation had heeded his first recommendation (by establishing the alumni department), and not the second (IkamvaYouth is now operating in 16 townships; a relatively quick expansion from the 5 sites in operation in 2012). When asked for his opinion on what it is that makes the programme effective, Dr van der Berg said he suspects that there is something in the model which makes motivation contagious. He advised us to look into research around Nudge theory, which we will do, as we continue to understand just what it is that makes the ikamvanites so awesome.

We were very encouraged by the participation from other practitioners in the field, who chose to spend their Friday afternoon with us engaging with statistics. Some attendees took to the Twittersphere during the launch:





IkamvaYouth sends out loud big-up thank yous to:

  • DGMT, which got us onto this evaluation journey back in 2012

  • The Omidyar Network, which funded the 2015 evaluation

  • The Department of the Premier of the Western Cape, which accommodated us alongside the very auspicious Game-Changer symposium

  • Yanga and Ntebaleng for speaking at the launch, and grounding this research and the findings within the contextual realities of daily branch operations, and #feesmustfall activism respectively

  • Dr Servaas van der Berg, Lewis McLean and Nic Spaull from RESEP whose insights and perspectives on our work are greatly valued, especially as we know that they are all used to working with far larger datasets, for far more important entities (like the national Government!)  

Nyanga Mentor Launch

Nyanga Mentor Launch

On the 28th of January and the 4th of  February, the Nyanga Branch launched its Mentoring Programme for the Matric cohort of 2017. Invited to the event were mentors, mentees and the parents of the mentees. The mentors were given two dates to choose from in order to accommodate their work schedules.

The programme of the day started with a quick ice-breaker of Human Bingo. Mentors and mentees were paired up to play the game in order to get the group more relaxed. After the fun ice-breaker, the group went back into the classroom to continue with the formal part of the programme. The formal part of the programme included a background on IkamvaYouth as an organsation; a breakdown of the mentoring programme and the important milestones in the matric year. The branch was also proud to introduce the Mentoring Passport which will guide the mentoring relationship for the duration of the year.

The mentor launch counted as the first mentoring session of the year. The mentors were paired with their mentees for the year who then went off to sit outside in their pairs to start their mentoring journey. The main aim of this first session was for mentors and mentees to get to know each other. The session also focused on the mentor getting to know the goals and aspirations of their mentee.

The session was closed off with refreshments and a group photograph.

IkamvaYouth Nyanga Branch looks forward to seeing the mentoring relationships grow during the course of 2017.

[Mentor and Mentee Group photograph]

[Mentors and Mentees playing Human Bingo]

[First session in action]

[Mentor, mentee and parent trio]

[Mentor and Mentee during their first session]


[Mentoring Passports]
Network of NGOs Ensures that Young South Africans Continue to Beat the Odds

Network of NGOs Ensures that Young South Africans Continue to Beat the Odds

Seven tutoring programmes achieved remarkable collective impact in the recent matric exams, achieving a 92% pass rate. 97 matric learners from organisations participating in the Community Collaboration Programme (CCP) wrote their exams last year, and 84 learners achieved either bachelor or diploma passes; ensuring their eligibility for tertiary studies.

Maobi Phakwago

Moabi Phakwago joined the Tarenteraaland after-school tutoring programme in Cullinan, Gauteng at the end of grade 11 and has been diligently coming twice a week ever since. He managed to secure himself five distinctions and has been accepted to study medicine, electrical engineering, and astrophysics at some of the country’s top universities; UJ, Wits, and UCT. He describes his results as ‘just amazing and I couldn’t have done it without the tutors.’ 

Maobi’s message to the new class of 2017 is to ‘Start early and work hard. I remember quite well that I was told this, but I didn’t listen. So really guys, start early, work with past papers, listen attentively in class, and get help from wherever you can…but don’t forget to have a little fun as well.’’ The world is now Maobi’s oyster! Wherever he ends up, he promises to continue to pay forward the help he received by tutoring younger grades to achieve similarly inspiring results. 

It is especially encouraging to see new collaborating partners achieving incredible success. My Career Corner (MCC), an organisation based in Mabopane, Gauteng helped 11 grade 12 learners to pass matric; six of whom achieved bachelor passes. One of the main feeder schools that MCC is working with achieved a pass rate of 58%. Boipelo, from My Career Corner, also recognised that ‘it is rare to see this level of commitment from learners, especially from the community and context in which they live. Generally, young people don’t value education and that is why I have been so impressed with this group’s level of dedication – that was number one for me. I am very proud of them.’ We need more people like Cheryl and Boipelo, who are stepping up to support learners and can now enjoy the amazing feeling that comes with seeing learners turn that support into tangible, life-changing achievement.  

My Career Corner Coordinator, Cheryl Maepa (4th from left) with her matric class of 2016

CCP’s primary funder and capacity building partner, The Learning Trust, are ‘immensely proud to be associated with the CCP initiative and the sterling outcomes produced in 2016.’ It is thanks to the funders, and to the tireless efforts of the staff, tutors, mentors, and partners, that these learners, unlike many of their peers, could access the additional support needed to succeed. 

Zoe Mann, Coordinator of the CCP, says that “After-school programme practitioners, youth workers, parents, peers, teachers, and ordinary people, all have the extraordinary power to expose young people to future possibility, and begin undoing the limiting beliefs that hold young people back. These organisations are not giving learners’ unrealistic dreams, but are showing their learners that it is possible because, with solid, ongoing support, and hard work it is happening in community-based tutoring programmes all over the country.”

Congratulations to the class of 2016 – your determination is inspiring! 

In collaboration with The Learning Trust, IkamvaYouth established the CCP in 2014. The programme provides training, support and space for peer-to-peer learning to social entrepreneurs running tutoring programmes. The seven organisations who had grade 12 learners in 2016 were; Sozo, SALTJust Grace, Tarenteraaland, My Career CornerKliptown Youth Program, and Boys and Girls Club of South Africa. In 2017 IkamvaYouth is working with 12 partner organisations across Gauteng and Western Cape, listed on the website. 

IkamvaYouth is a non-profit organisation, enabling disadvantaged youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty through education. The organisation provides free after-school tutoring, career guidance, mentoring, computer literacy training and extra-curricular engagement to learners in grades 8-12. The organisation is currently operating 16 branches in townships across five South African provinces. To find out more, go to www.ikamvayouth.org or call Zoe Mann on 074 476 7965.

The Learning Trust (TLT)  is a thriving South African non-profit organisation which supports individual, emerging organisations and education clusters over a five year period. TLT increases and improves learning opportunities for young South Africans growing up in conditions of poverty and exclusion. It does this by funding and building the capacity of outstanding grassroots education initiatives, the education clusters they develop and by championing the co-ordination of the After School sector in South Africa. TLT works alongside local partners to strengthen governance and improve quality and impact, taking young, community-based organisations that demonstrate significant potential towards self-reliance.

Western Cape Ikamvanites ride the wave of success!

Western Cape Ikamvanites ride the wave of success!

Western Cape learners & tutors at the close of our two-week intensive tutoring during June holidays (Winter School).

IkamvaYouth branches in the Western Cape Province achieved a matric pass rate of 77%, of which 37% are Bachelor passes, and 27% are Diploma passes. 102 learners were enrolled in three branches.

The Nyanga branch came out tops this year with a 90% matric pass rate. A whopping 52% of those who passed also obtained Bachelor passes, while 29% obtained Diploma passes.

The top learner at the Nyanga branch is Kamvalethu Willie who obtained an average of 73%. He also received a distinction for Economics and will be studying towards a BCom in financial accounting at UCT with a full bursary from SAICA. Kamvalethu has been attending tutoring sessions at the branch for five years and had this to say when asked how he managed to keep coming for all those years: “I realised that the help I get is really important and Ikamva is a really nice place to be. It’s nice for me because whenever I achieve something they encourage me. I feel welcome here and it’s like a second home.”

Kamvalethu Willie from Nyanga  

The Masiphumelele community lives up to its name, which means “let us succeed”. In the December of 2015 yet another fire ripped through the community leaving many people homeless. Four months into 2016, the community was still trying to recover from the losses and rebuild their lives. Furthermore protests in the community, against crime, had a significant impact on learners’ attendance at school and tutoring. It’s under these circumstances that the Masiphumelele cohort of Matrics started their year. Regardless of all this, Ikamvanites in Masiphumelele were able to achieve an 80% Matric pass rate with 33% of the learners achieving Bachelor passes and 30% with Diploma passes.

Nicolas Commeignes, the Branch Coordinator in Masiphumelele had this to say about the results,“It is an absolute delight to celebrate learners’ successes, especially since we have been overcoming hurdles together and sharing  great achievements for almost 4 years now. Through the programme, learners gain maturity and feel more equipped to leave the location and community they grew up in. What has struck me time and time again is that they never forget IkamvaYouth as they always come back to visit; support their families and inspire the younger generation”

One of the  top achievers at the Masiphumelele branch is Samkele Hokwana who obtained a Bachelor pass and would like to pursue a degree in Medicine or Mechanical Engineering and says “It’s a matter of days for me to take a new step in life”. On how he achieved his success, Samkele had this to say, “In order to succeed, you have to capitalise on the resources available to you. For example, if I acquired more knowledge while working within a group of classmates, I would focus on that.”

 Samkele Hokwana from Masihumelele

Makhaza is home to IkamvaYouth’s largest branch, with 41 learners who sat for the 2016 Matric exams. For the 2016 Matric exams the branch achieved a 66% Matric pass rate where 29% of the learners obtained Bachelor passes and 24% with Diploma passes.

Aphaphame Mzayiya is one of this years top achievers at Makhaza and he will be studying filming and video technology at CPUT. He obtained two distinctions in Geography and History and had this to say about his results,“Finally getting my results has been a relief; it’s been one long holiday anticipating what the future holds. Now I know for sure I will flourish in my field” Aphaphame has come to be known as the resident poet and entertainer and is excited about the field of study he has chosen, “I learnt about IkamvaYouth through a video on YouTube. I then immediately visited the branch. That has been the best decision I made.”

Aphaphame’s advice to the upcoming Grade 12 class is to “just study while others are sleeping.”

The Makhaza branch didn’t perform as well as expected, given its impressive track record of results over the last 11 years. Thankfully, most of the learners who failed are eligible for supplementary exams, and will be receiving intensive support in the lead-up to these second-chance exams. Access to learners has been a major challenge for the branch this year, as learners have had to attend compulsory extra classes at school. IkamvaYouth is hoping to forge a partnership with schools and districts similar to that in the North West Province, where collaboration between the government and the NGO maximises scarce resources in serving learners’ individual needs,and yielded a 90% matric pass rate for Ikamvanites in the region.

IkamvaYouth had matrics writing in ten townships across five Provinces, and learners achieved an overall 85% pass rate; 69% of which are either Bachelor or Diploma passes, ensuring their eligibility for tertiary studies.

IkamvaYouth is a non-profit organisation, enabling disadvantaged youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty through education. The organisation provides free after-school tutoring, career guidance, mentoring, computer literacy training and extra-curricular engagement to learners in grades 8-12. The organisation is currently operating in 16 townships in 5 provinces across South Africa. To find out more, go to www.ikamvayouth.org or call Hetile on 062 105 1707

IkamvaYouth’s class of 2016 achieves an 85% matric pass rate

IkamvaYouth’s class of 2016 achieves an 85% matric pass rate

The Ivory Park branch staff and matriculants celebrating a 100% pass rate

285 learners enrolled in IkamvaYouth’s after-school tutoring programmes in ten branches across five provinces have achieved an 85% pass rate; 69% of which are either Bachelor or Diploma passes, ensuring their eligibility for tertiary studies.

In South Africa, a major predictor of academic performance is the location of one’s school. When comparing results between leafy suburbs and tin-roofed townships, it appears that we have two different education systems operating in parallel. For most learners in township and rural schools, even reaching matric is a feat; only 58% of the grade 2s from 2006 made it to write matric last year, and so, as Nic Spaull explains, the actual pass mark for the matric cohort of 2016 is an abysmal 42%.

Unfortunately, the quality of one’s matric pass has a major bearing on the kinds of post-school opportunities one can access, and thus heavily influences an individual’s potential earning capacity.This is good news for the Ikamvanites who have managed to defy their context, and have leveraged the power of peer-to-peer learning and support to achieve great academic results. They’ve made an important step up the path towards earning a dignified living, and the organisation looks forward to reporting on the Class of 2016’s placements in a few months’ time.

“IkamvaYouth is especially proud of the Ivory Park branch, which achieved a 100% pass rate, and the branches in KZN (Chesterville and Umlazi), which hauled in an accumulative 41 subject distinctions”, says Programmes Manager Patrick Mashanda.‘’It is because of such results that IkamvaYouth continues to assist township youths, against all odds! We remain determined to see many more township youths breaking the cycle of poverty through education. The challenges the learners face are many, but the desire for a dignified living continues to inspire Ikamvanites to take the future into their own hands through hard work, and peer to peer learning. Well done to the class of 2016!’’

Vuyolwethu Zumani is a member of the Joza branch in the Eastern Cape. He achieved a Bachelor pass with 5 distinctions (in Maths, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Geography and Life Orientation). IkamvaYouth is proud to report that he is one of the top achieving learners in the district! Vuyolwethu cleared hurdles including a shortage of teachers at his school and financial instability at home, and has been accepted to study towards a BSc, majoring in Maths and Statistics at the university currently known as Rhodes this year.

Vuyolethu Zumani was awarded for being the top learner in the district.

The Ikamvanites are tutored and mentored by volunteers, who come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Most of the tutors are university students, and many are ex-learners from the programme, who pay-forward the help they received by supporting younger learners. Many of the volunteer mentors are professionals who assist grade 12 learners to figure out their post-school options, and assist with their applications. We look forward to welcoming members of the class of 2016 as volunteers.

Tanyaradzwa Chiyambiro, the Chesterville branch’s top achiever, says “I am currently feeling relief and am very happy since I received my results; hopefully Wits University will approve my application to study Biomedical Engineering which is what I really really want to do. IkamvaYouth has been amazing; a combination of learning and fun. Being a part of this organisation has been awesome and I’ve learnt the importance of helping others and giving back.”

We are particularly proud of those learners who will be studying to become teachers. Thabisile Mfeka, a top achiever from the Umlazi branch, achieved a Bachelor pass and plans to pass on her love of education and learning by studying a B(Ed) and teaching Maths, Science and English to learners in grades seven to nine.

Thabisile Mfeka speaks about her IkamvaYouth experience and her plans for the future

These great achievements are the result of years of hard work and strong collaborative partnerships. IkamvaYouth enrolls learners in grades 8 to 11, and works closely with the feeder schools, many other NGOs and CBOs, tertiary institutions, municipalities, Government departments, corporates and foundations.

“We are so proud of our learners and tutors, as well as the team behind them, and thank our donors for their ongoing support that enables results like these, year after year,” says Leigh Meinert, chairperson at IkamvaYouth. The organisation’s work is made possible thanks to generous support from many donors; most of which provide multi-year funding. Supporters of the Class of 2016 include Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), the Omidyar Network,The ELMA Foundation, the Montpelier FoundationCapitec FoundationCargill International,EMpower and The Learning Trust amongst many others.

IkamvaYouth is a non-profit organisation, enabling disadvantaged youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty through education. The organisation provides free after-school tutoring, career guidance, mentoring, computer literacy training and extra-curricular engagement to learners in grades 8-12. The organisation is currently operating in 16 townships in 5 provinces across South Africa. To find out more, go to www.ikamvayouth.org or call Hetile on 062 105 1707

Nyanga Prize Giving

Nyanga Prize Giving

As the year 2016 draws to a close, it is important to look back and celebrate the achievements of the year gone by. The Nyanga Prize Giving was held on Friday, 02 December at the Nyanga branch. With the weather permitting, the event was held in the quad of the Zolani Centre. The event was attended by parents, volunteers, learners, IkamvaYouth staff members and neighbouring stakeholders at the centre.

It was great to see most of the Nyanga learners wearing their IY t-shirt with pride. After the welcoming address from the Branch Coordinator, a moment was taken to highlight all that has gone well for the Nyanga branch in 2016. Emphasis was placed on the positive achievements of 2016, as we often like to dwell on the trials and challenges instead of the triumphs. Included in the major achievements of 2016 was: Winter School 2016, Matric Camp, the branch’s partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Girls and Boys Club and winning the national T-shirt design competition.  After highlighting the achievements of the branch, it was time to move on to the individual awards ceremony.

The energy among the learners seemed to lift as the individual awards ceremony began. The awards categories included attendance, outstanding academic achievement, most improved learners, learner of the year, matric learner of the year, excellence in English and many others. A new category introduced by the Nyanga branch was the award for ‘Shining Stars’. The ‘Shining Star’ award was received by learners who are not necessarily in the top 5 academically but do show great potential and take initiative at the branch. The winners of this award received a letter of recognition and appreciation, accompanied by a chocolate surprise and a ruler. In giving this award, we wished to reward and recognize all that they do for the branch and to encourage other learners to do the same.

[A group of learners pose with their certificates]

The volunteers were not left out of the awards ceremony. All the volunteers received a Certificate of Appreciation and a small gift. The awards ceremony was closed off with a few special gifts to recognize those who have contributed greatly to the Nyanga branch’s success in 2016. The branch did not forget to thank and recognize Lawrence, the branch security guard who goes above and beyond for everyone at the branch. The event was then closed off and refreshments were served.

The Nyanga branch is grateful to have so much to celebrate in 2016.


Lloyd Lungu

031 909 3590
2525 Ngcede Grove, Umlazi AA Library, 4031

Lloyd is a self-disciplined and highly goal-driven Industrial Psychology Honours graduate. He is currently a Master's candidate completing his second year of M.Com in Industrial Psychology at the University of the Free State. Lloyd joined IkamvaYouth as a learner in 2012, after matriculating he came back and volunteered as a tutor for the duration of his undergraduate studies at UKZN. He later worked as an Intern in the Chesterville branch. His passion for youth empowerment and inclusion has grown enormously through his time and experience gained within IkamvaYouth and has inspired him to provide career guidance to young township people. He is currently working at the Umlazi Branch as a Branch Assistant.