Funda Afrika is a registered Section 18A nonprofit organisation, dedicated to the management of school development and transformation programmes. The organisation was established in April 2008. It was formed by the programme manager of the Education Quality Improvement Partnerships (EQUIP) programme run by the National Business Initiative (NBI) since 1997, Helmut Bertelsmann, and the EQUIP project manager contracted to the NBI, Malume Mremi.
The establishment of Funda Afrika followed the NBI’s decision to conclude EQUIP when the remaining projects in the programme would come to an end in 2010.
Until early 2011, Funda Afrika managed eight concluding EQUIP projects in five provinces on contract with the NBI. Simultaneously, the organisation developed its own School Transformation and Empowerment Partnerships (STEP) programme which is based on the broad EQUIP framework but incorporates adjustments and improvements based on reviews of, and the lessons learned from EQUIP as well as on the changing demands in school support in the present educational landscape. STEP has been implemented in well over 100 schools across five provinces since Funda Afrika was established.
STEP reflects a shift in foci from a primary engagement with overall school management and governance to integrated delivery models with a significantly increased focus on actual delivery of the curriculum, particularly in the areas of primary literacy and numeracy, as well as special learning needs in the foundation and intermediate phases, and in support for Mathematics, Physical Science and Accounting learning and teaching at secondary schools.
Funda Afrika operates as a project management agency with an extensive network of funders and service providers, and is in an ongoing consultation with funders who put their trust in the organisation to widen and increase the number of STEP projects within the range of its capacity.
Funda Afrika constantly re-evaluate their project designs and the service providers it employs. It conducts feasibility and baseline studies as well as evaluations both for the projects the organisation manages and as stand-alone services for projects contemplated or managed by others.
One of Funda Afrika’s central points of departure is the commitment to partnerships with provincial education departments. The organisation will only work in public schools once agreement on envisaged projects has been reached with the legal custodians of public education in the relevant provinces. Through this approach, Funda Afrika has established sound working relationships with provincial, District and Circuit officials in the organisation’s operational areas.
These partnerships are given content through consultative bodies such as stakeholder forums, steering committees, provincial education development trusts or boards which oversee the implementation of STEP projects. These structures include provincial officials, funders, project schools’ representatives, service providers and representatives from Funda Afrika itself.
Funda Afrika ensures that all its partners are kept abreast of progress and challenges in its work, through comprehensive monthly and/or quarterly reporting, regular meetings of the relevant forums and joint site visits to project schools.
In all the projects which Funda Afrika manages, the improvement of learner performance features as the paramount outcome of the organisation and its service providers’ work. In this, Funda Afrika includes preparation of able learners for the challenges – and the intellectual excitement – of tertiary study, and it offers career guidance through associations with established experts.
The organisation has also embarked on coordination and mutual learning processes of organisations involved in developing able and committed young school leavers or graduates into effective, committed and reflective practitioners in the teaching profession.
Funda Afrika sees its role as facilitating the joint efforts of education departments, funders, service providers and schools into collective interventions appropriate to the actual needs and conditions that prevail in the various areas of South Africa in which we are privileged to work.
This is done with empathy and understanding, but the organisation manages its projects with an uncompromising commitment to quality. It is its conviction that the children of South Africa deserve nothing less than the best that Funda Afrika and its partners can give them.
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