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Impumelelo: Stellenbosch Academy for Social Innovation

Who We Are

The Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre was established in 1999 to identify and reward social innovation and best practices that improve the quality of life of the poor. Over the past 15 years, we have accumulated a substantial databank and compelling knowledge of the ways in which government, the private sector and civil society contribute to public problem solving.

Impumelelo has awarded 457 social projects over a range of sectors, namely sanitation & waste management, food security, housing, early childhood development, education in Mathematics and Science, environment, skills development, job creation, HIV/Aids, healthcare and rural development. Based on Impumelelo’s submissions, 18 of these award winners have gone on to win international awards, among others the United Nations Public Service Excellence Awards.

As a satellite of USB-ED since August 2014, we are now rebranded as Impumelelo: Stellenbosch Academy for Social Innovation and operate as a social enterprise that provides a range of services on behalf of USB-ED. These include:
- Peer-to-peer master classes
- Think tanks
- Site visits
- Course  modules on social innovation and social enterprise development

What We Do

Our awards programme has now become the fulcrum around which our expanded activities revolve, such as evaluation and adjudication of promising social projects; site visits; case study research; master class training in all sectors; promotion of social innovation through the media ​and advocacy; and a student internship programme.

Impumelelo brings to the partnership with USB-ED its extensive database and intellectual capital, which is used in designing sector-based training, for presenting modules on social innovation, and for collaborative research partnerships between USB-ED and the public sector, private sector and civil society.


How we do it

Impumelelo invites those who run social projects to apply for innovation awards through an open awards process. Applications are welcome from rich and poor, and urban and rural men, women and young people. The awards programme is underpinned by a rigorous evaluation process that entails site visits and interviews with both project staff and beneficiaries. Evaluators recommend projects for an award based on the following criteria:
- Innovation
- Effectiveness
- Efficiency
- Impact on poverty
- Sustainability and ability to replicate

Annually, the top 25 to 30 projects are put before a panel of judges at a final adjudication session over two days, during which 20 winners are selected. The award winners are celebrated at a gala event, where they receive monetary awards provided by corporate sponsors. The award winners become pivotal to the Impumelelo master class training, case study research and international reach.


​What this means for you

• You will have the opportunity to take part in an exercise in which you reimagine a civil society organisation (CSO) and configure it into a hybrid model focused on the idea of ‘For Purpose, For Profit’.

• You will examine how citizens collaborate to change the systems in which they live in order to address societal and public challenges.

• You will examine three case studies with diverse leadership models, and provide an analysis and critique of elements that constitute transformative professional leadership.

• You will examine innovative models of multicultural management and leadership skills.

• You will analyse an award-winning case study in a sector such as recycling, water management, landfill conservation, or sanitation & waste management to understand how to construct a plan within the local government regulatory framework and IDP structure, in order to address a public sector problem within an identified community creatively.

Contact Us

Impumelelo: The Stellenbosch Academy for Social Innovation
Executive Director of Impumelelo: Stellenbosch Academy
​for Social Innovation

Rhoda Kadalie
Tel:+27 (0)21 918 4390