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  • Writer's pictureGrowing Up Africa

Support, engage and empower... all those ‘last in the line’

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

For the benefit of society, let this profound gift of generosity through the spirit of social consciousness, challenge and change the very purpose of each of our lives. Let there be a re-focus, of corporate CSI strategies, with a view “to turning these strategies upside down.”

Together we can STOP homelessness, newly built schools without textbooks or teachers, new health clinics without drugs, and the poor once again without any voice or recourse.

There are three key shifts needed:

[1 open knowledge, [2 open aid, [3 open governance and together, these three key shifts will transform development and hold a greater hope for solutions proposed to many of the problems witnessed in South Africa. This is the new ecosystem of open-knowledge, the transparency and accountability for funding, to measure and assess the impact of their contribution and to open for public scrutiny the projects funded.

Studies have shown adequate schools are not built in areas where educational assistance is most needed and this is what provoked action. Growing Up Africa’s mission is: to develop projects targeted to those who most need our help? This is a tremendous leap forward in transparency and accountability of support.

The most significant shift in development is open governance.

Mobile phones and social media are not just for streamlining accountability but also for development accountability, giving real-time feedback and engagement. This is where the 4th Industrial Revolution [ ref: 4IR ] is key to our future. Citizens [collective voices of the less fortunate] are able to give feedback as to which health or water points are not working and so much more.

We need to be transparent, accessible and engage and be responsive to the less fortunate. It is a very real challenge to change the system and the status quo. Organizations like Growing Up Africa, are true “lone warriors.” A key to developmental work is to help these “lone warriors” in joining hands to overcome the odds.

So for instance, today, Growing Up Africa has forged a coalition in the construction industry and, galvanized by this, participants are now investigating their CSI programs. This gives new hope, new possibility to the challenges faced in impoverished-underserved areas of South Africa.

This is a significant departure from budget-driven-government run projects, or throwing money at problems. To combat corruption and poverty, the private sector and the business community need to join together and jointly and severally be accountable.

We need to radically open up development in order for knowledge to flow in multiple directions. We need inspiring practitioners, so funding becomes transparent, accountable and effective. We need to see that communities are engaged and empowered with reformers in the business community. We need to accelerate these shifts and if we do, and if we build research-based developments, “design-need and not wholly budget driven,” resilient education structures for a future of ecological, social and economical sustainability, we will find that textbooks and teachers will show up in schools for their children. We will find that these children, too, will have a real chance of breaking out of poverty.

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