The South African corporate sector invests significantly to support community upliftment and social development programmes. Since 2017, MMF has committed over R45 million to upskill South African youth which is a clear indication of our dedication to making a difference in youth unemployment. With the large investment into development programmes, it is imperative that there are strong governance models in place to monitor and evaluate performance including sustainability reporting of economic, social, and environmental performance. The goal is for monitoring and evaluation to lead to better decision-making as well as to mitigate risk.
To achieve our objectives, MMF partners with nine organisations that focus on skills development which includes digital skills, entrepreneurial development, personal development and wellness. These organisations assist young adults with a few services which vary from providing upskilling of technical skills, workplace skills or placement support, support on job placements and finally providing them with a skill that would allow for a quick transition into employment.
According to the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, 46.3% of young people between the ages of 15 to 34 years were not in employment, educated, or trained at the end of the first quarter of 2022. MMF wants to focus on these individuals and provide them with opportunities through our partners’ programmes.
To measure CSI efforts, MMF conducts an evaluation of its youth programmes every three years. Key success stories and learnings have recently been revealed from an evaluation conducted in partnership with DNA Economics. The evaluation was conducted between April 2020 to April 2022, revealing that 812 youth were enrolled in youth development programmes with partner organisations. Out of the six partners’ available data, there was an 81% completion rate in youth programmes and an employment rate of 47%. The ICT industry is the focus for MMF and although we only have two partners’ data available, it is a key strategic industry for many reasons including that the starting salary is significantly higher than other industries.
Having an evaluation and monitoring system in place, such as the evaluation of the MMF’s youth development programmes allow for lessons to be established and learnt. The data tracking and reporting during the programmes continue to be central in understanding the success of a programme and determining where improvements can be made for the next cycle.
The evaluation mentioned above was done during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of the learnings noted during the evaluation were the following:
- Development programmes were greatly affected during this time as employers froze hiring or shifted their attention away from youth development. Despite the economic conditions, the programmes had successful outcomes that could be measured through monitoring and evaluation.
- Theoretical training should be conducted alongside personal development and wellness. In developing an individual’s capabilities and potential, their quality of life is enhanced facilitating employability and realising dreams and aspirations.
- On-the-job experience is an essential component in youth development programmes providing knowledge of the demands faced in the job.
- The training that young adults receive in youth development programmes needs to be supported by a clear employment strategy that will support the youth in progressing their skills. This will help them in moving from learning to earning. Training and employment strategies need to be agile enough to shift depending on the labour market needs.
It is important for MMF to not only evaluate the effectiveness of its CSI programmes but also to measure the impact on both the beneficiary communities and the business. Many learnings were noted through the different monitoring and evaluation channels which also includes getting feedback from partners.
Trust and relationships take time to build with partners and stakeholders but are truly valuable to the success of the programmes. Ongoing communication and reporting back to stakeholders are significant components of any engagement strategy. We have done this by listening to our stakeholders and actively responding to any concerns or issues.
Strong governance is maintained at MMF and the foundation will continue on the journey of bringing transparency on its programmes through effective monitoring and evaluation.