When it comes to outreach, South Africa has one of the most active business communities in the world. Our businesses care about those less fortunate, and champion hundreds of initiatives to assist those in need. Yet how do we as businesses know if we have made a difference? How do we know when something we have done has had a true impact? Using my experience with the Clover Mama Africa Initiative, I believe the following are indicators that a business is making a difference in its community.
A great CSI project is not a one-off occurrence. It is a partnership between a business and a group of people, where the business uses their skills and resources to better the lives of others on an ongoing basis. We have formed powerful bonds with women from all corners of South Africa over the 14 years Clover Mama Afrika has been operating.
It nurtures existing skills
CSI work makes a true difference when those in the community are able to carry on the good work. We deliberately sought out women who were already helping in their communities to train further. These Clover ‘Mamas’ boast a number of skills the community needs, from caring for the elderly to tending community food gardens. Through nurturing them, they can in turn pass on their knowledge and create employment opportunities for others.
Impact can be measured
Like in business, numbers can speak volumes. By tracking and measuring CSI initiatives, businesses can see the benefit of their work. For example, the Clover Mama Afrika initiative facilitated 19 skills training sessions and trained a total of 95 beneficiaries. That means that, since inception, we have facilitated a total of 353 training sessions benefitted 2066 trainees. This impact extends, as every person who is employed is able to take that money home and benefit their family.
Each person trained with Clover Mama Afrika is also able to transfer her skills to others. Last year, the initiative-initiated skills development in sewing, quilting, advanced cooking and baking, on-site bread baking, art skills development. Clover mamas then further transferred their skills to an additional 621 people last year! Through tracking and analysing the numbers, we were able to see that
cooking and baking increased significantly in 2017, indicating a growing demand for catering services in communities.
The proof of Clover Mama Afrika’s success lies in our recognition and awards.
On 30 January 2018, Clover Mama Africa was announced as the winner of the ‘Play your part’ category of the South African Premier Business Awards. It also secured the respected Trialogue Strategic Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Award, won for women with the Gender Mainstream Women Empowerment in The Community Award, and secured the PMR Diamond Arrow Award for the eleventh consecutive year, all in 2017 alone.
We are honored to receive each award, as it shows us that Clover Mama Afrika has captured the heart of others and that the country can see its worth. But ultimately, the greatest testament to our success are the women we train, who go forth into their communities and continue to pay it forward by upskilling others.