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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 Government Award: Sindiso Ngwenya

Sindiso Ngwenya, Sindiso Ngwenya is the Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). He has been instrumental in bringing together the region’s 3 economic blocs: COMESA, the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), into a tri-partite association. This is resulting in the 3 communities rapidly working towards trading as a single market of about 600 million people, leading to more political stability and prosperity. 

He moved COMESA from being dormant to the implementation of a customs union. COMESA has 19 countries with a combined population of 430 million citizens. It offers its members and partners a wider, harmonised and more competitive market. He also promoted the development of many supporting institutions around COMESA. Civil society, business and the public have access to the COMESA secretariat and the Secretary General – an openness which has contributed significantly to its and his success. 

Sindiso Ngwenya is a driver of change for African economic development. “His dedication to poverty eradication and equitable development in Africa through enabling access to broader markets by businesses in the region is commendable” said the Judges. Through his leadership, a future is being crafted out for Africa that looks promising.

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Drivers of Change Individual Award: Jay Naidoo

Jay Naidoo, Jay Naidoo was the South African Minister responsible for the reconstruction and development programme in the first democratic government of South Africa. Whilst Minister of Telecommunications, he promoted the development of connectivity in remote rural areas designed to offer poor people opportunities for education, communication and work. From 2001, he has chaired the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), a premier development finance institution that drives social and economic infrastructure development in southern Africa. 

He is also chairperson of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a global organisation that is driving an improvement in nutrition for millions of people in 25 countries through innovative public-private partnerships to fortify staple food items like maize and salt, for example, so that they have better nutritional value for poor people. 

Jay is known for transforming the trade union movement through his leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). The Judges applaud Jay Naidoo for making a significant impact towards overcoming poverty and stimulating

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Investing In The Future and Drivers of Change: Civil Society Award: Ikamva Youth

Ikamva Youth, A by-youth and for-youth township based education initiative that enables disadvantaged youth to get out of poverty and into university, Ikamva Youth leverages on the power of peer to peer learning, mentoring, and volunteerism and cross sector partnerships to transform South Africa’s educational landscape. Learners who complete study are reintegrated as volunteers to tutor upcoming groups while some join the branch management committees of the initiative. 

Less than 10% of learners attending township schools access tertiary education. With this model, more than 70 percent of Ikamva Youth’s grade 12 groups have gained access to tertiary education. Learners whose parents are under-educated and unemployed are breaking the cycle of poverty through education, taking responsibility for their own education and their future. “These learners are true drivers of change as they are also setting a good example for other younger learners to become agents of change for their own success” the Judges said.