GTP awards innovators

The two winners of the Greater Tygerberg Partnership’s (GTP) Social Innovation Challenge have been selected, each receiving R32 000 for their projects.

The first winner was Ambassadors Football South Africa, a faith-based non-profit organisation, which trains football coaches to mentor children from fatherless homes.

The second winner was Kavah, a project encouraging university students to do social welfare projects. The project is the brainchild of 21-year-old University of the Western Cape law student, Shunelle Grosch.

“Both projects are worthy winners and will contribute to the socio-economic upliftment of the region,” said GTP CEO Chris O’Connor, adding that his organisation would work with the finalists to help their projects become a reality.

The GTP launched the challenge in March to tackle social ills in the Tygerberg region. The winners were selected after presenting their projects to a panel of judges on Friday June 3. Ben Marais, director of Ambassadors Football South Africa, said: “Many children in South Africa grow up in fatherless homes, and research has linked the absence of a father figure to substance abuse, crime and other behavioural problems later in life.

“The coach will help to instill the young players with positive values, a healthy identity and to lay a solid foundation for their lives.” The project trains football coaches to be both father figure and life coach in a sporting environment.

“The fact that these coaches will see the child several times a week for an extended period of time allows consistent influence in helping to bring about change in a young player’s life,” said Mr Marais. Ms Grosch said the idea behind her project was to create a university endorsed certificate to recognise social work by university students. “We will advise companies about the certificate so that university students can add it to their CVs when they apply for jobs. My idea is very important to me, as I have a passion to help others.”

Ms Grosch, also vice president of the United Nations Association of South Africa (UNASA), plans to execute her project with UNASA.

“We do various social/community outreach and sustainable development projects with the youth and community to educate, advocate and elevate them as well as ourselves.

“I will use the funds for the certificates, the training, which will be provided for the students, and for marketing.”

Mr Marais said they would use the funds for training events, coaching equipment and travel expenses.

The runners-up were a project to build flats on RDP land that would create jobs and generate income for owners of RDP land, and a portable solar-powered mobile power station that could be used by informal vendors.