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Covid 19 Responses: #CaretoAct 5

Partners for Possibility: From humble beginnings to 10 years of far reaching impact across South Africa

Symphonia for South Africa’s mission is to mobilise active citizenship around the significant issues facing our country. In pursuing this, we launched our flagship programme, Partners for Possibility, 10 years ago with the aim of developing leadership capacity among school principals and business leaders, reducing inequality in education and ultimately creating a more just, equitable and joyful future for all South Africans

Partners for Possibility (PfP) is a nation building programme that partners school principals with business leaders on a carefully designed, 12-month leadership development programme in which much of the learning and development takes place while business leaders and school principals work together in partnership to address challenges in under-resourced schools. Both partners attend a number of leadership training courses and facilitated sessions with other principals and business leaders. Through this, principals are empowered to embed their schools at the centre of their communities and to improve the quality of education being offered to our youth.

While meeting this need for skills development is a mammoth task, it is not an insurmountable one if the private sector offers its expertise and support. Without skilled leadership, schools cannot provide the quality of education that gives young South African’s the prospect of a bright future as productive members of society and the future workforce of the country.

This year, PfP marks 10 years of sustainable impact and innovation. In celebration of this milestone, we recognise our co-founders, Dr Louise van Rhyn and Principal Ridwan Samodien, who courageously spearheaded this programme that has gone on to impact over a million lives across South Africa.

To put this into perspective, PfP has now reached 1000+ under-resourced schools, 30 000+ teachers, 500,000+ families and 1 000 000+ learners within a 10-year period. This is of particular significance as this means that PfP is on track to realising its goal of impacting 2000 schools by 2022. By achieving this, the programme will have reached 10% of the estimated 20 000 under-resourced schools in South Africa.

This significant milestone has also coincided with the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. When schools closed due to the lockdown, nine million children normally fed through the government-funded National School Nutrition Programme were left hungry. Moved by the gravity of the situation, Louise initiated the Food 4 Hungry Children project, which sought to capture data on the food needs of learners and their families from a network of over 1,000 school principals part of the PfP programme. Through collaborations with Pick n Pay, FoodFoward SA, the Solidarity Fund and many more organisations, thousands of vulnerable learners and their families were able to receive food parcels.

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