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Southern Africa Youth Project Wins R300 000 MTN Award For Social Change

Southern Africa Youth Project (SayPro), a not-for profit organisation (NPO) that has worked since 2005 to empower youth in Diepsloot, Johannesburg,  has won a R300 000 award for the excellent monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of its programmes. SayPro took the honours in the small NPO category of the MTN Awards for Social Change, announced at the recent Trialogue Business in Society Virtual Conference (13-14 October). This category was for NPOs with a total annual income of less than R5 million.

“It is an absolute privilege to have received this recognition,” says SayPro General Manager Clifford Legodi.  “The award means a lot,  especially after surviving the challenges of operating remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown. This had a significant impact on our reach. Winning the award comes at the right time as we are also celebrating the official launch of our online programmes.  SayPro can now cater to beneficiaries,  who have  access to a smartphone, anywhere in the world.”

The organisation plans to use the prize money to improve its M&E systems and to upgrade the online programmes, to cater to more users and enable access to automated reports.

“SayPro also has a division that provides support and capacity to other NPOs and this award will enable us to reach people that are within the development space and in need of support and resources to help improve their work,” says Legodi. “We will also improve our online communications to ensure that we reach out to desperate and underprivileged young people in Southern Africa.

“Furthermore, we plan to implement programmes to improve access to primary healthcare services, ICT-based work and life readiness skills, including technical and vocational skills for decent employment among 10 000 disadvantaged and vulnerable young people aged 15-35 years, in South Africa.”

Legodi anticipates that at least 80% of beneficiaries will be linked to employment, internships, learnerships or tertiary education after completing the programmes.

The competition judges were Zulaikha Brey, an economist and M&E practitioner with Trialogue;  M&E specialist Asgar Bhikoo, from the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation; and development practitioner Kenneth Thlaka, Executive Director of SangoNet.

Their feedback was: “SayPro’s application demonstrated an organisation where the importance of M&E is understood and, even though it is a small organisation, M&E capacity and systems are prioritised. The organisation has a good grasp of how their project can achieve impact.

“SayPro use their findings internally to improve the project and to share their findings externally with stakeholders. The need the project is addressing is clear and relevant and the project appears to be well designed, with good levels of consultation. SayPro articulated clear objectives, outputs and outcomes and their theory of change is plausible.”

Trialogue Director Cathy Duff said 143 NPOs entered the competition this year – more than double the number of entries in 2019.

“It’s extremely rewarding that more NPOs are taking M&E seriously and incorporating it into their programmes. The MTN Awards for Social Change have highlighted this important factor and we so appreciate MTN Foundation’s support.”

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