Old Mutual Insure believes strongly in cultivating and nurturing the skills inherent in South Africa’s youth to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, and reduce the rate of youth unemployment in our country. Old Mutual Insure is deeply invested in education and its power to enable positive futures.
Empowering Girls Programme
Our Empowering Girls Programme, launched on 17 February 2022, is an exciting initiative that offers 20 Grade 11 girl learners appropriate opportunities to support their professional and personal advancement through relevant life skills, ICT literacy, mentorship and job shadowing programmes.
The multi-year programme aims to identify and guide talented girls from underprivileged areas to be the future face of the insurance industry by immersion in the non-life insurance industry and exposure to various careers. We have partnered with Tranquil and Tenacious Minds, Afrika Tikkun and Ikusasa Technology Solutions to deliver this programme. Together with us, these organisations are committed to ensuring that the learners who participate in the programme will be enriched with the skills, knowledge and opportunities at completion of their high school.
In Demystifying Mathematics, we partnered with the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) in its ‘My Maths Buddy’ initiative, which focuses on improving the Maths results in our schools. This is the first step in affording high school leavers access to greater post-school opportunities which will, in the long run, contribute to the upliftment of our economy.
This project works with both teachers and learners, and we started 2022 by delivering three Learner Workshops and an Effective Maths Teaching Seminar to Vulanindlela Secondary School in Orange Farm for nine Maths teachers and 134 Grade 9 learners.
Included in the sponsorship were copies of the My Maths Buddy dictionary for the learners who were taught how to use it, and what to do when they did not understand a concept. Learners were excited to learn that Maths can be a fun and easy subject.
The teachers received Teacher Kits at their seminar which contained the My Maths Buddy dictionary, a teacher’s manual on handling Maths language, a workbook and various other resources for excellence in Maths education. These kits, together with the learning methodology given at the seminar, will assist them with teaching Maths effectively.
A good understanding of Maths is the key for learners to access opportunities for bursaries, scholarships and learnerships in a wider range of careers. Our country needs more skilled doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs, and all these professions require a firm Maths foundation.
As we continue our partnership with SAMF on this project into other schools, we look forward to seeing the impact of our efforts in the school results, the lives of the learners and the economy in the long run.
Combating period poverty for a better education for the girl child
Our partnership with Wildhearts Foundation Africa in 2020 launched the Peloya Mosadi Project (‘The life of a woman’); one of the first factories in Africa to produce high-quality, reusable sanitary pads to cater especially to schoolgoing girls in under-resourced communities. This initiative aims to keep our South African girls in school and create employment in the province of Mpumalanga.
In South Africa, girl learners in under-resourced areas often face difficulties in accessing hygiene products during their monthly menstrual cycle.
This often results in them missing school and falling behind in their education. Research conducted by the United Nations (UN) confirms that one in 10 girls in Africa miss school during menstruation, which is an appalling reality. The lack of access to sanitary pads has adverse effects on school attendance, increases dropout rates, and has ripple effects on the economic development of communities and the country.
The partnership between Old Mutual Insure and Wildhearts Foundation Africa will drive socio-economic development and growth, because reusable sanitary products will be distributed in disadvantaged, lower-income and rural communities across South Africa. This will encourage consistent class attendance by girls during their menstrual cycle, and create sustainable employment for the women employed to manufacture the products.
Mobile desks for schools in
In response to the problem of the millions of children without desks in South Africa, Old Mutual Insure donated 400 portable desks (MiDesk) to schools in the North West and Eastern Cape that had been identified by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. The MiDesk is a proudly South African innovation that converts from a revolutionary wheelie schoolbag into a desk and chair with a solar light and charge portal. The MiDesk is suitable for both home and school use, addressing directly and indirectly six of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The wide-eyed wonder of all the children who watched as the MiDesk was demonstrated at each school was heartening and the solar-powered lamp was a definite hit! It was encouraging to see the immediate impact on the children who started using the MiDesk in their classrooms as soon as they received them.
The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu is quoted as saying: ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’
As Old Mutual Insure, we feel passionately about uplifting socio-economic conditions in South Africa, so that the communities where our staff and customers work really feel a difference to their everyday lives.
The aim of our Responsible Business strategy is to deliver cutting-edge corporate social investments that contribute to inclusive, transformative, impactful and sustainable socio-economic development in communities where we operate. We do this through a deliberately inclusive approach and by promoting social legitimacy and shared value.
A wide range of communities have benefited from millions that we have invested through our initiatives, from restocking township spaza shops in KwaZulu-Natal affected by the looting in July 2021, to delivering food parcels and blankets to people in need in the Western Cape and Gauteng, as well as enabling farmers in the Free State to fight wildfires using specialised fire blowers.
We partnered with Reach for a Dream for a Dream Room to be built for children at Lambano Sanctuary in Edenvale, Gauteng. This will be a safe, uplifting and inspiring space, promoting healing for children facing life-threatening illnesses.
A particular focal area for us is youth and education – one of our main goals is to equip our children with skills critical to achieving sustainable development and economic growth in South Africa.
Not having access to adequate facilities, like desks, chairs and lighting, strongly impacts on a learner’s ability to focus, maintain discipline and be successful in their studies. It has also been linked to a higher rate of absenteeism, which is why we remain committed to projects that will enable learners to achieve their full potential.
In addition, Old Mutual Insure wants to assist schools that don’t have access to water by digging boreholes. Water is essential in schools, both in terms of hygiene and for the sustainability of school gardens that serve many pupils and their families. It is also a scarce resource in provinces that have suffered from debilitating drought in the last few years.
All these efforts are part of our strategy to partner with various organisations to create shared value and amplify our efforts to ensure that we have a meaningful impact on the future of our nation through the work we are doing in our schools.
As former president Nelson Mandela said: ‘Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world.’