Africa Tikkun’s comprehensive Cradle2Career education, health, ‘agripreneurship’ and community development programmes are well established in Gauteng, with agricultural projects also running in Cape Town and Vredenbeg in the Western Cape. The NGO, whose work is strongly rooted in community partnerships, strives to remain highly responsive to communities’ immediate and long-term needs, with all of its offerings highly linked, since community needs are never experienced in isolation.
Last year, the NGO began planning a major push to decentralise their Cradle2Career programme and in April 2022 launched the Afrika Tikkun Outreach Movement – otherwise known as ATOM. ATOM will be scaling their Cradle2Career business model to communities throughout South Africa where Africa Tikkun currently has no footprint.
This is an exciting expansion, built on a successful and unique model where existing community organisations – so called strategic partners – take the lead in convening interventions in any given area. Strategic partners mobilise the local ecosystem and coordinate the work that is done through implementing partners. Implementing partners, for their part, are experienced organisations brought in to implement interventions in each community. An implementing partner takes control of a single part of the C2C model, such as early childhood development or primary health care.
ATOM aims to have an established footprint in every province in South Africa, targeting deprived communities that do not have ample access to resources and where Africa Tikkun’s interventions can have exponential impact.
The NGO sees this upscaled roll-out of services as the extension of a kind of ‘social franchise’, where brick-and-mortar centres no longer dominate, and instead partners, already active in communities, are mobilised, supported and given a ‘shot in the arm’. Africa Tikkun’s modus operandi has always been to capitalise on existing community ecosystems.
To catalyse the kind of expansion the NGO envisages, it is in the process of establishing a high-level Think Tank of like-minded experts and role players for continuous dialogue on systemic change. The idea has been welcomed by many in the development community, who see the time as ripe for an action-oriented collective of experts and organisations to discuss, debate and strategise systemic change in our country.
Part of its task will be to publish thought leadership pieces and to contribute to the rebuild of South Africa through well-chosen socio-economic development investments.
What will ATOM do?
ATOM will involve a step-by-step process in each targeted community, with local needs determining the order the steps. The first step is always community mapping – both spatial and in terms of assets – to give the organisation an understanding of each community and its key role players, in order to determine first interventions and critical relationships. The key implementing partner here will be Ranyaka, a Stellenbosch-based non-profit urban planning consultancy.
It is likely that early childhood education will form a strong focus of attention; here key implementing partners will include non-profits such as ATB, Courage and others, working on all aspects of early childhood development, including teacher development, nutrition, infrastructure, and quality control. Local social workers will be mapped and contacted; healthcare and nutrition interventions will be run as per community needs, and career development programmes will be run targeting NEET youth (NEET: Not in Employment, Education or Training). This will increase employability, entrepreneurship and economic participation. A key implementing partner here will be ATS.
Lastly, Africa Tikkun aims to form a collective of centralised, shared services offered by local experts in various field who will strengthen the business processes of smaller organisations within the C2C spectrum through education, training and access to resources.
These high ambitions align with Africa Tikkun’s level of resources, experience and credibility in the field of development, shaped since the organisation’s inception in 1994. Four community hubs have been earmarked for 2022:
- Maponya Mall Community Hub, Soweto. Key partners here are FNB Philanthropy, Redefine, Maponya Family Trust and others.
- Kago Hub, Tembisa
- Netcare Ulusha Hub, Alexandria
- Genesis Hub, Louwville, Vredenburg, close to Saldanha Bay.
This ‘whole of community’ approach is relatively rare in the NGO world, no doubt as a consequence of financial and other limitations. There is nothing wrong with focussed, targeted approach; NGOs in their areas of specialisation have made enormous contributions. However, when an organisation has the muscle and the vision to adopt a whole of community approach, it must be welcomed. Africa Tikkun’s model of drawing in a range of other organisations in its work, including local companies, requires tremendous diplomacy, energy, time and people skills. Yet ultimately it is this overarching sense of a collective, united response to a community’s challenges that motivates all parties, infusing energy into the whole enterprise.
Africa Tikkun will be documenting the process, so that learnings can be extrapolated and shared. We look forward to hearing more on this ambitious undertaking.