What We Do

Overview

SGS Consulting is a social enterprise based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is Black owned and managed. The key fields of work include community philanthropy, education, constitutionalism, HIV and AIDS. The scope of work of SGS Consulting is continental with education and constitutionalism focused mainly in South Africa; and community philanthropy, HIV and AIDS at the continental levels. SGS Consulting also consults to the United Nations, and the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADCPF); work that happens at the regional and continental levels.

SGS Consulting works in a deeply divided society in South Africa as a remnant of the post-colonial and post-apartheid eras. Transformation in the aforesaid contexts involves the eradication of systemic forms of domination and material disadvantage based on race, gender, class, patriarchy and other forms of inequality.  As a result, the establishment of a truly equal society and the provision of basic socio-economic rights, not only in South Africa but continent-wide, are critical elements of transformation. These are the imperatives that drive the work of SGS Consulting and its philosophical disposition.

SGS Consulting has a staff complement of six and makes provision for internships.

Building philanthropy in South Africa and the continent

Community Foundation Development Program

The Community Foundation (CF) Development program is about establishing, growing and connecting community foundations in fifteen (15) countries in Southern Africa. These 15 countries form part of the regional economic community known as the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Developing community foundations forms the basis of encouraging and advancing community philanthropy, focused on unlocking local community assets and resources for their own development and resilience in the region. The intent is to advance community philanthropy so as to improve the lives of people in development processes they both define for themselves and lead. Community foundations are institutional formations that serve a defined geographic area and seek to improve the lives of all those who live within that area through the application of their local knowledge, local resources and local initiative. Leveraging of local community assets with the help of established community foundations will contribute significantly to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at country and regional levels.

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The value proposition of Community Foundations

Community foundations are place-based, grassroots level organisations that are multi-issued, with the transactional capacity to hold assets and make grants. Their ability to build trust at the community level, build local leadership and capacity to solve local challenges, make them indispensable to the growth and development of their geographically defined local communities. They have capacity to raise funds, attract donor resources as well as the ability to harness non-financial and volunteer giving. They are able to hold government accountable and are key sources of intelligence regarding contextual developments within communities, all of which help communities to lead their own development and to work in concert with their governments to improve livelihoods, reduce inequality and develop economies.

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Realising the SDGs

Community philanthropy and community foundations are key to helping realise the SDGs. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the ‘Global Goals’, have emerged as the universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and for all to enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs are designed to work in the spirit of pragmatism and partnership to improve the lives of all people in a sustainable way and are intrinsic to the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030, adopted by countries. The hope is that if we were to achieve widespread local, regional and global implementation of these 17 goals by 2030, we would have come a long way towards making the world a better place.

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Asset Based Community-led Development (ABCD)

Asset Based Community-led Development (ABCD) is a strategy for sustainable, community-led development. Beyond the mobilization of a particular community, ABCD is concerned with how to link micro-assets to the macro-environment. The appeal of ABCD lies in its premise that communities can drive the development process themselves by building on assets they already have, mobilising individuals, associations and institutions to come together to build on their assets for their own development. The ABCD work also extends to the academic sector where a number of universities are incorporating ABCD into their course offerings. ABCD in the context of local governance is an emerging focus area since 2017 that started in the Eastern Cape, with significant uptake in the Gauteng province by provincial government, the City of Johannesburg, local municipalities and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). This promises to redefine community participation in local governance as well as inform integrated development planning and plans.

The linkages with the Coady International Institute will grow as we explore a more regional focus to ABCD development.

YouthBanks

YouthBanks are a mechanism for grant-making and are defined by the cultural diversity, history, tradition and politics of their home nation. Their primary function is to “promote young people as decision-makers at a grassroots level, using grant-making as a tool to address the issues and causes that matter most to them in their community”(YouthBank International). In the context of South Africa, there are multiple formal and informal organizations in many of our communities that contribute to development, but are often faced with resource challenges. YouthBanks present an opportunity for young people to be practically involved in making a financial contribution to organizations with causes they are passionate about that contribute towards community development. SGS Consulting identified YouthBanks as a practical way to involve young people in local giving. Currently, there are 8 functional YouthBanks in South Africa , all in the West Coast, in the Western Cape province. YouthBank development will expand and grow in line with agreements with Youth Bank International.

The community foundation program will actively integrate ABCD and YouthBanks but will also promote ABCD as the assets-orientation to development and YouthBanks as sub-fields in their own right.

Education

The Kagiso Shanduka Trust programme is a partnership between Kagiso Trust, the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation (formerly the Shanduka Foundation) and the Free State Department of Education dedicated to the improvement of schooling and education in two districts of the Free State province. The programme, using the District Whole School Development model, aims to support the transformation of 362 public schools in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts. SGS Consulting has been a partner in this programme since its inception and provides writing and documentation, research, as well as monitoring and evaluation services.

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Department of Basic Education (DBE) protocol development

In 2017, SGS Consulting was requested by the DBE to convene a number of civil society organisations to work with it to review, develop and refine education protocols on a voluntary basis. The protocols refer to sexual violence in schools, teenage pregnancy, corporal punishment and discrimination in schools. Over 12 organisations stepped forward such as the South African Human Rights Commission, Section 27, Equal Education, Equal Education Law Centre and other.

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Constitutionalism in South Africa

SGS Consulting was appointed as Coordinator and administrator of the Constitutionalism Fund (CF) in 2015. The Joint Fund was set up to promote and advance Constitutionalism in South Africa. The Fund is a collaboration between The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation and The Open Society Foundation, with a combined investment of US$25 million over a ten to twelve-year period.

The Constitutionalism Fund supports constitutional programs in South Africa that promote human rights awareness and access to rights through activities utilizing a rights-based approach and that target the most vulnerable and marginalised. Promoting and advancing constitutionalism may involve multiple strategies from training to research, campaigns, protests, dialogues, negotiations and litigation. It requires investing in and building the capabilities of individuals and grassroots-based structures (community advice offices, networks and social movements) to take action and support others to claim and realise their rights. It requires building the capabilities of our judges, lawyers, attorneys and paralegals, while also building the capacity of community-based groups to understand and use the law and constitution. A second goal of the fund is to support the transformation of civil society in South Africa, recognizing that the legacy of apartheid and colonial South Africa has left in its wake an unequal society divided by race and class in which racism, sexism, patriarchy and xenophobia continue to thrive.

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HIV and AIDS

SGS has a long history of working in the HIV and AIDS, and sexual and reproductive health fields in South Africa, the continent and globally. This experience extends to the development of regional HIV and AIDS strategies and evaluation processes for SADC and SADCPF. This also includes monitoring, evaluation and organisational development of regional NGOs and networks of NGOs; and extensive work done with the United Nations system in South Africa, the Southern African region and globally. The work done with the UN includes monitoring and evaluation, development of United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF) and Joint UN programs on HIV and AIDs. SGS Consulting has also done training on the results-based management approach at country levels involving UN agency heads and respective government officials.