2016 has been a quite unbelievable year with one of our biggest achievements coming through the corporate sponsorship provided by the visionary Britehouse Group who, for their efforts were recognized as the winner in the Corporate Citizenship Category at National Business Awards. The following outlines what they have achieved and how we have contributed to the education of 1000’s of underprivileged learners across South Africa…
The Britehouse Group has broken new ground with Britehouse GOT-GAME™, the digital centre of their social investment initiatives. Not only has the Group extended both the reach and impact of these initiatives within the communities they were first established, but they have also ensured that these initiatives become self-sustaining and replicable, thereby allowing other communities to benefit from corporate social investment.
This journey started in 2010, when after having met with ten students and four teachers of the Kwena Molapo High School in Diepsloot, the Group sought to build an ethos of financial independence and social stability within underserved communities.
Together with their partner, social enterprise, Got-Game, the Group focused on erecting and managing digital hubs in order to improve teacher and student development, access to information, employment, empowerment of women, and enterprise development. Known as Britehouse GOT-GAME™, it is equipped with smart technology and Internet access, and provisioned with an online repository of accredited education resources. These digital hubs can be set down anywhere to facilitate the empowerment of underserved and underprivileged communities by providing a facility from where teachers, enterprises, and community development projects can be hosted.
Take, for instance, a single hub hosted in Diepsloot. Here students from the community receive a stipend from corporate sponsors to manage the hub, which creates a myriad of simultaneous possibilities that are then made available to people from different sections of that community.
These students and teachers then have access to high-quality teaching skills through Hello Tutor, the knowledge-sharing platform. In fact, Hello Tutor’s video library receives content from the likes of St Mary’s, Waverly, and the prominent publishing house, Via Afrika. Not only does the library continue to grow by over 100 videos each month from institutions of this calibre, but their wider involvement has enabled us to broaden the platform’s scope to include new subjects and to extend the coverage down to grade R.
To date, approximately 1300 high school maths and science videos are now available, of which 300 videos are available in Zulu. This provides many learners with the opportunity to understand these concepts in their own language. In total, an impressive 3150 videos have been consumed. Over this past year, we have seen roughly 500 learners from five schools across the country, including Sunrise Secondary School (Diepsloot), Kwena Molapo Comprehensive Farm School (Lenasia), Shumayela High School (Umlazi), Zwelibanzi High School (Umlazi), and Newhaven Secondary School (Chatsworth).
Through the Group’s support, Hello Tutor has been able to develop the hub technology which will enhance the lives of 1000s of underprivileged South African students.
In addition to the benefit felt by learners, Britehouse GOT-GAME™ provides professional teacher development and IT training. Teachers from under-resourced schools, in particular, are now able to leverage the wealth of information provided by the video tutorials and draw upon the expertise and methodologies of teachers around the country in their own teaching and lesson planning.
Britehouse GOT-GAME™ also facilitates annual basic computer readiness training to the entire matric classes of its two beneficiary schools. The Group has then expanded its educational development focus to providing world-class vendor SAP and Microsoft technology platforms to its beneficiaries.
In 2015, the Group was accredited as a Top Empowered Company by Impumelelo, making it one of 1 400 out of 20 000 companies to receive this recognition. The criteria applied by Impumelelo in assessing South African companies for their transformation capabilities include ownership, management control, skills development, new enterprise and supplier development, and socio-economic development.
People are also able to find employment on both a local and international scale with the IT skills they can acquire through the hub. These skills include data capturing, document creation, and performing other online projects for organisations. Moreover, thanks to the Britehouse GOT-GAME™ portal, people can also find employment outside the scope of IT by applying for jobs online and posting their CVs for businesses to find.
Beyond IT and teacher development, the hub is also used to train previously unemployed women in the basics of running a small business. Collaborating with the Diepsloot Pre-Schools Project and Training Force, 23 teaching assistants from 19 pre-schools in Diepsloot were trained to run pre-schools in underprivileged areas. This training earns each of the women their certification as accredited ECD specialists, which serves to convert their pre-schools into early childhood development centres, thereby giving children a means to succeed at school that their circumstances would otherwise deny them. It also qualifies their small businesses for funding from the Department of Social Development, thereby putting them on a sustainable footing. Let’s not forget that the hub is then managed by the high school on whose grounds it has been placed, who earns revenue from projects that are hosted in the hub.
In an effort to deepen the impact of Britehouse GOT-GAME™, the Group has incorporated into its broader enterprise development initiatives via a partnership with the founder of Got-Game, Arthur Wade Anderson.
Believing there to be few things more powerful than a social entrepreneur empowering social enterprises, the Group provides Anderson with business mentorship, as well as input in the form of solutions or SED spend from its own vendor network, including SAP and Microsoft. As the direct liaison with the community, Anderson is then responsible for and facilitates the management of Britehouse GOT-GAME™ and oversees any points of presence extended from the hub to other communities or organisations. He and his organisation identify other small enterprises and matches them to the enterprise and skills development obligations of large organisations. Together, they will grow Britehouse GOT-GAME™ as part of Anderson’s 100% black-owned social enterprise and position his business to help micro-businesses become adequately professionalised.
Ultimately, the Group believes that corporate social investment is evolving into a form of social entrepreneurship which not only solves social problems through business-like approaches but actively fosters entrepreneurial behaviour in marginalised communities.
Britehouse GOT-GAME™ is the cornerstone of the Group’s multi-layered socio-economic development (SED) initiative known as the #67DayDigitalActivationMovement (the Movement). The Movement, which is modelled on the United Nations’ 67 minutes of activism used annually to honour Nelson Mandela, invites and enables corporates to complete measurable community-based, technology-driven projects within repeatable, short timeframes.
Essentially, this allows the Group to provide and maintain cohesive, sustainable community benefits while enabling the distribution of benefits on a much broader front throughout South Africa by outsourcing its SED. Effectively, each hub creates a multiplier effect, with communities benefitting from a continuously enriched and expanding SED focus, and if corporates then also take the 67 Day approach, the multiplier effect becomes exponential.