Participants at USB-ED's recent leadership programme for NPOs are from left
Brian Aldworth, Gabisile Khoza and Craig Bouchier.
The NPO Leadership and Strategy Programme presented by the Centre for Business in Society at USB Executive Development (USB-ED) provides a practical toolbox for dealing with and viewing the many intimidating issues that NPO leaders are expected to stare down almost daily.
What are mostly valued are the many different tools that can be used to give insight into a given situation.
These are the comments from two participants of NPO Leadership and Strategy Programme (NPO LSP) which took place in March 2014 in Johannesburg. This follows continued support by the Africa-America Institute (AAI) of capacity development of South African non-profit organisations. The support is aimed at building the capacity of social sector leaders in African countries and forms part of AAI’s Transformational Leadership Programme (TLP). The AAI, with its head office in New York and funding from The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation , has for some time been busy with community-focused leadership development programmes in Kenya and Nigeria and has broadened its focus to South Africa for similar leadership programmes locally.
The shift in focus to South Africa involved a partnership between the AAI and the Centre for Business in Society at USB Executive Development (USB-ED), the public management development and training company at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.
Henre Benson, Operations Officer at the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education says: “Having attended the programme I came away feeling very connected to a professional learning community. If that was the only thing I brought away,it would have been enough.
But the programme also provided a practical toolbox for dealing with and viewing the many intimidating issues that NPO leaders are expected to stare down almost daily. Each day of the programme was full of rich and deep engagement; perfectly balancing the personal and the organisational, individual reflection with group interaction, serious intellectual endeavour alongside fun. The one-on-one coaching session was a bonus,” he says.
What Mokgadi K Nteta of the Dignity Foundation valued the most was the many different tools that one can use to give insight into a given situation. “I like structure so I always like to have an outline mapped out in my head before I embark on a proposal or an assignment. To have a choice of different approaches that one can use was very useful. I can pick one or several and apply them.
“The other thing that I appreciated was the interaction with people who work in the NPO space and to be able to get advice, pitfalls to avoid, useful contacts, etc.
“I remember an eye-opener being the realisation that even though people are on short-term contracts and are aware upfront that their contracts will end when the funds run out, there is still trauma for the people leaving."
“The coaching session was thought-provoking and continues to be so as I mull over how to manage and structure my Board, being the founder of Dignity Foundation. I am finding that managing a Board of volunteers is very different than managing a Board in the private sector! I think I will use my newly introduced tools in managing my Board,” she says.
Prof Arnold Smit, director of the Centre for Business in Society, said this year’s programme provided participants the opportunity to interact and to learn from each other’s experiences. Later this year, in October 2014, USB-ED in partnership with AAI will be hosting a NPO Leadership Imbizo that will feature new insights on the challenges and dynamics of the social sector as well as focus on evaluating programme impact. All the South African TLP alumni and their key stakeholders will be invited to this gathering which will also present opportunities for important networking and sharing of key success stories. The programme partners from SA, Nigeria and Kenya will be meeting around the same time.
“It will also give us the opportunity to decide on how to continue with the success of the programme in the long run,” Prof Smit said.
The focus of the programme is on leadership and systemic change, and is presented by expert facilitators well acquainted with the management and organisational challenges of the social sector.