Lead SALead SA

South African Organisation ranked as one of the top 100 NGOs in the world

Written by: diannem

Symphonia for South Africa (Symphonia), the NGO which delivers the Partners for Possibility (PfP) programme, has been recognised as one of the world’s top 100 NGOs. Symphonia is the creator of the Partners for Possibility programme, which addresses the challenges faced by under-resourced schools in South Africa.

Symphonia’s ranking was made public this week in the 2018 Geneva Rankings by the independent group NGO Advisor. The rankings following a process to identify the 500 top NGOs in the world. It is the first time that Symphonia and its flagship project – the Partners for Possibility programme – has been rated, obtaining a remarkable 97th position.

The rankings evaluate non-profit organisations against a comprehensive set of criteria. These include sustainability, transparency and accountability, impact measurement, independence from government and corporations, funding resilience and their innovation ratio.

While scoring above average on almost all counts, Symphonia fared particularly well in areas such as transparency and accountability (90%), innovation (90%) and sustainability (70%). The organisation also received a special mention in the final report for entering the rankings in the top 100 on its first review.

We are delighted by this ranking as it is proof positive of our impact over the past seven years. Dealing with the complex challenges facing under-resourced schools in South Africa can be daunting, so the positive news of our international ranking certainly helps to motivate our network of staff and volunteers across South Africa.

Dr Louise van Rhyn, the CEO of Symphonia.

Symphonia was founded in 2008 as a social enterprise focussed on mobilising active citizenship. The team founded Partners for Possibility in 2010 as way for active citizens to support the principals of under-resourced schools, while drawing on the deep pool of knowledge, resources and capabilities in South Africa’s private sector. PfP pairs a business leader and school principal in a year-long programme of leadership development, in which each partnership identifies and addresses the specific challenges facing the school they are working within.

This process acknowledges the pivotal role that a school principal plays in ensuring that children receive quality education. Principals are often ill equipped for this management role, especially considering that they are dealing with challenges such as a dearth of funding, teenage pregnancies, gangsterism and other social ills in a society still scarred by the legacy of Apartheid. This approach is in-line with research from, amongst others, the Harvard School of Education, which says that the best we can do for the children is to work with adults.

Dr Louise van Rhyn, the CEO of Symphonia.

The programme first equips the school principal and business leader through carefully designed leadership training, before supporting them in identifying and dealing with the challenges facing their school. It recognises that both partners can contribute equally to solving the school’s problems and it encourages them to develop solutions that involve the teachers, the school’s governing body and willing community members surrounding the school.

This is not the first time that Symphonia and Partners for Possibility has received international recognition. Last year, HR.com selected the PfP programme it as one of the best international leadership development programmes for the second year running and praised its combination of social service and leadership development.

Similarly, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation has previously awarded PfP its top Reconciliation Award for its work in repairing the social fabric in under-privileged areas by ensuring that the children in these areas receive quality education.

To date, PfP has supported 684 schools across Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. It is actively recruiting more business leaders to support the programme and partner with the long waiting list of school principals who want to join the programme.

For more information on Symphonia and its Partners for Possibility programme, please visit pfp4sa.org




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