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Chairpersons Award: Yeoville Community School

In recognition of the great work that organisations are doing to eradicate poverty, the judges asked the Southern Africa Trust to introduce a new Chairperson’s award this year. The award is given to outstanding organisations or individuals who may not have met all the criteria for the awards or may not have been nominated, but are making a noteworthy contribution to driving systemic change in the way things are done in the southern Africa region. 

The Yeoville Community School is a learning institution for children between 6 and 12 years old, from grades Reception to 7. Seventy percent (70 %) of the children at the school are documented and undocumented immigrants from the DRC, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola with the remaining 30% coming from poor South African families. The school goes well beyond the normal education curriculum, focusing also on educating it’s children and the surrounding community on inter-cultural diversity as a contribution against xenophobia. The Yeoville Community School is a driver of change by providing access to education to undocumented poor migrant children, in the face of the South African education system’s hostility towards accepting undocumented migrants into the system. It is also a driver of change by being an outstanding example of how possible it is to build a united regional community in southern Africa. “The school sends the right message about real learning for a better future in our region” said the Judges.

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Drivers of Change Special Joint Acount: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius and the Mauritius Council for Social Service (MACOSS)

A special joint award goes to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius and the Mauritius Council for Social Service (MACOSS). They’ve been driving a major change to how regional priorities are set in our region. The ministry was instrumental in convening heads of states and governments from all Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, together with business associations and a wide range of civil society groups as real partners in a dialogue on poverty and development in southern Africa. That was the first gathering of its kind in our region. It set a precedent to develop a shared vision and social cohesion to overcome poverty in our part of the world.   MACOSS cooperated to support civil society organisations to prepare fully for the dialogue that resulted in the decision to create a SADC poverty observatory that will ensure continued cooperation between the different groups.  Together, they then went well beyond that initial step. The ministry announced a plan to eradicate extreme poverty in Mauritius, in partnership with MACOSS and the private corporates that agreed to fund 30% of the programme costs as part of their corporate social responsibility.