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Advocating for the After School sector through research

This past quarter we published the After School Investment Case, a report that was nearly 3 years in the making. The report highlights the inefficient state of our education system and outlines the return on investments into After School Programmes (ASPs). 

To mark this great research feat, we hosted a webinar to launch the report and discuss the outcomes of the research conducted. Joining the panel discussion was Nic Spaull of Research on Socioeconomic Policy Group (RESEP) at Stellenbosch University; Merle Mansfield, Managing Director of Zero Dropout Campaign; and Hope Chidawanyika, CEO of IkamvaYouth. The panellists argued that the After School sector is well-positioned to make a measurable improvement to learning backlog challenges faced by the education department. To date, the education system has been underdelivering on learner outcomes, with state spending (over 6% of the GDP) prioritising personnel development, salaries and infrastructure. And thus, investment into ASPs improves the education system’s significant spend by increasing the likelihood that children will achieve quality learning outcomes, despite the wave of Covid-induced learning deficits.

The publication of the Investment Case and webinar launch garnered us significant media attention, supporting our advocacy efforts to bring awareness to the value and impact of After School. Below we share a list of some of our media appearances:


After School Programmes are key players 
in transforming the Education system

The Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University, Professor Thuli Madonsela, organised a conference under the theme: “Social Justice and Education for the 21st Century: Towards a Decade of Equalising Opportunities and Optimising Social Justice Outcomes in and Through Education.” 

The conference was attended by diverse stakeholders who had an interest in transforming the education system. Speakers included Prof Thuli Madonsela herself, Prof Jonathan Jansen (President on the Academy of Science of SA); as well as Rubeena Parker and Roné McFarlane from the Equal Education Law Centre EELC). 

The Learning Trust presented in a panel moderated by Futhi Mtoba (Founder of TEACH South Africa and Chair of the Council at the University of Pretoria). As conference presenters, it was important that we spotlight the work of After School Programmes in ‘equalising opportunities’ for learners who have suffered the brunt of learning losses during the past year. Executive Director, Sibongile Khumalo, and Investment Case Researcher, Joy Olivier, presented on ‘Innovative social financing models to scale and sustain ASPs’. The presentation highlighted the potential approaches for an outcomes-based financing model that leverages the ASP sector to improve learning outcomes in South Africa. 

We have packaged this research into an academic paper that is set to be published in Stellenbosch University’s Special Issue on Education, along with other papers from the conference. Make sure you follow us on our social media platforms to catch the release of this publication in the upcoming weeks.


Building Sustainable Organisations in After School

At the end of 2020, we ran a survey to determine the most relevant organisational development topics to address for our partners in 2021. Good Governance, Financial Management, and Fundraising for sustainability came up as key priorities. 

Since the objective of our capacity support is to develop skills and knowledge to improve the operational efficiency and sustainability of After School Programmes, we sought external expertise. Inyathelo came on board to design and deliver crafted content through two virtual seminars. 

Some insights arising from the seminars included,
  • Keeping an internal master document as a Case for Support – this outlines information about the organisation (vision, objectives, programmes, staffing, finances, governance, etc.) that can be utilised for different donor applications.
  • Connecting with potential donors who actually understand and identify with your organisational goals and strategy.
  • Recognising that human capital is a precious resource and should be something an organisation values and cultivates.
  • Without equity, diversity and inclusion are impossible.

Visit Inyathelo’s website to learn about their support to NGOs and access their resource collection.


‘Children thrive in environments where they are protected’

South Africans observe National Child Protection Week annually. As a sector that primarily works with school-going youth, it’s important to raise awareness and remind our communities to protect children from all forms of abuse, neglect and violence. This year, two of our grantees – Entandweni in Eastern Cape and Darling Outreach in Western Cape – engaged learners, parents and the community on protecting the rights of children. 

In June, Entandweni collaborated with their local Community Policing Forum, Street Committees and parents of Barthurst on an awareness campaign walk to call on the protection of children’s rights. The walk also aimed to empower children to know and take responsibility for their own rights, by speaking up against community ills that continue to affect them. 

For Darling Outreach, child protection forms part of their everyday practices, as they believe that children thrive in environments where they are protected and nurtured. The pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerable state and precarious conditions that most underprivileged children live under. Through sit-down sessions and songs, Darling taught children about the importance of protecting their bodies. From a series of videos, learners were asked what child protection means to them. “Parents must protect their children, and as much as they should allow their children to live freely, they must not let them be harmed by others’’, said one of the learners. It is clear that parents play a vital role in the protection of children, which is why Darling partners with local parents to continue raising awareness.

Butterfly Art Project expands training to Gauteng
Our Western Cape-based alum, Butterfly Art Project (BAP) has expanded its art training programme to Gauteng, as part of our Collaboration Grant offering. BAP trains Community Art Facilitators (CAF) to offer psychosocial support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The organisation intends to reach over 250 CAFs across the country in an effort to introduce the concept of healing through art far and wide. 

Participating in the week-long training were 19 facilitators from the areas of Ga-rankuwa, Soshanguve, Soweto, Thembisa, and Boksburg. The week-long training covered BAPs Early Beginnings module which is made up of four artistic mediums: clay, watercolor paint, free drawing and mixed media. The training proved to be a success, despite the limitations resulting from the pandemic. 

With their acquired artistic skillsets, participants can grow confidence, social skills, confidence and fine motor skills. BAP’s ultimate goal is to establish safer, stabilised communities through self-sustainable and self-led Community Art Facilitator networks. Through this expansion, healing through art transcends provincial borders to reach young and talented South Africans.
Collaborations that improve youth wellbeing

The beginning of 2021 saw a number of After School Programmes rethinking ways to return to normal programming. After spending the past year in the height of the first and second COVID-19 waves, and the pandemic’s devastating effects on education, 2021 has naturally been a year to rebuild and restore. A partnership between two of our grantees, The Learner Advancement Group and Diakonia Aids Ministry signals this restorative response. 

The two organisations have developed a ‘Minds and Hearts’ programme, aimed at providing young people with mental, social and behavioural stimulation to improve their wellbeing. The sessions raise self-awareness, impart leadership skills, and leave learners in high spirits to pursue their dreams and desires. One of the programme’s facilitators reflected on how the content has been as beneficial to them as it is for the young learners. 

There are exciting prospects ahead for the programme – with a continued emphasis on life-long lessons and the importance of ‘self’ – and thus far, learners have shown great appreciation of the content.


For Your Interest

    Kibooks - online reading platform with resources for young learners
    OLICO Maths - access to math tutors over WhatsApp (gr. 7-9)



    ASAP (Makhanda) Community of Practice 

    Director’s Circle 1
    Learning Café  2
    Data Collective 2
    Stay safe and stay connected,

    The Learning Trust Team