Social enterprise up for global award

A Bellville-based non-profit’s flagship programme, which creates a buddy system between business leaders and principals of schools that need help, is in the running for a prestigious global award.

Partners for Possibility (PfP) was started in 2010, and it brings together a school principal of an under-resourced school and a business leader in a year-long developmental partnership.

The programme, which is run by Symphonia for South Africa, has been selected a finalist in the global World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Awards, which recognises innovative solutions to education problems. The awards were started by the Qatar Foundation in 2009.

Every year it evaluates hundreds of innovations in basic education before selecting six winners to be showcased at its WISE Summit in Qatar and receive $20 000 in prize money.

Since its inception, WISE Awards judges have evaluated more than 2 400 nominations from over 150 countries and have awarded 54 prizes to social innovations in countries as far afield as Finland, America, Spain, Morocco and India.

“To be recognised by the WISE Awards is a very special achievement,” said Dr Louise van Rhyn, founder and CEO of Partners for Possibility.

“It means that our programme meets their criteria of being a creative solution to reduce inequality in South African education.”

Since starting at its first school in Cape Town, the programme has grown to over 720 schools across South Africa.

The global platform HR.com selected Partners for Possibility as one of its Top International Leadership Providers in 2016 and 2017, and this year, NGO Adviser selected PfP – the only social enterprise on its list from South Africa – as one of the top 100 NGOs in the world.

“Being a WISE finalist will also offer PfP a global platform to share its insights and solutions as well as how these could be applied to other industries and countries. We look forward to networking with other global finalists who share our passion for quality education for all children,” said Dr Van Rhyn.

An evaluation team from the WISE Awards will soon travel to South Africa to experience the programme first hand and to interview alumni and other key programme stakeholders.

The winners will be announced in September during the biennial WISE Summit.