‘Beyond Advocacy’ speaks to the opportunity that Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) can catalyse and enable systemic change, involving a larger set of contributions from business, in ways that can have a sustainable impact by building meaningful partnerships with others. Fundamentally this is about business being truly committed to making change happen for a greater, better common societal good, partnering with stakeholders across sectors including government and other social partners.
BLSA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have therefore partnered to establish the Beyond Advocacy Fund. The Fund will support the efforts of business to make a more coherent and systemic contribution to national development objectives, as espoused in the National Development Plan. It will fundamentally provide a vehicle for more effective collaboration with social partners, towards engendering a climate of increased trust.
- Projects funded by the Beyond Advocacy Fund should therefore generally comply with as many of the following criteria as possible:
- have the potential to demonstrate constructive partnerships between business, government and other social partners;
- target systemic change, through initiatives that sustainably impact jobs, growth, youth employment, education/skills, gender, disability, effective public management and/or infrastructure;
- be pragmatic and feasible in design, so that it is possible at the outset to define in some detail the practical steps that, if taken, will result in success;
- generate the support for implementation and success amongst social partners; and
- result in a clear plan for implementation, including a mechanism for sustainable funding of the initiative and identification of an institution (or institutions) that can be tasked with delivery
The Fund is already in operation and will run to April 2018. Eight projects are currently being supported, including.
i. New Social Covenant:
This initiative emanates from the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda on Values. The New Social Covenant aims to create global and local partnerships between the private sector, government and civil society that are based on three core values:
- Respect for human dignity.
- Stewardship of the planet.
- Commitment to the common good.
The Beyond Advocacy Fund supports the South African component of the project, which aims to foster collaboration between 5 – 10 corporates, to design and implement company-specific interventions to demonstrate how these values can be embedded within existing company operations, and supported by partnerships between government and civil society. Barclays and the University of Stellenbosch are key partners in the implementation of this initiative.
ii. Providing Support to the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT):
NECT is a joint initiative of government, trade unions and the private sector to collaboratively improve education in 7 districts in SA. The Beyond Advocacy Fund support assists NECT to extend training to district officials and change agents in the learning programmes that are focused on foundation phase numeracy and literacy. Support includes the production of teacher materials, and in-school support to teachers by change agents.
iii. Support of a range of critical research interventions that are focused on facilitating the addressing of energy and water infrastructure challenges that are being faced by the country. The research outputs will help guide further engagements with stakeholders towards enhancing the future structure and functioning of these sectors.