Standard Bank’s CSI initiatives prioritise education across our countries of operation. In 2019, we invested over R91 million in CSI funding in educational programmes across our countries of operation. Examples of what we achieved in Uganda, South Africa and Angola are described in this report.
Uganda’s official primary school completion rate is just 51%, while the lower secondary completion rate is 25.6%. Only about 5% of the population enrols in tertiary education (World Bank, 2017). Stanbic Uganda believes that a better tomorrow begins with supporting education. We focus on four critical areas to support improved education and skills development: literacy, financial literacy, life skills and entrepreneurship.
Literacy: Stanbic Uganda has partnered with USAID and non-profit organisation RTI International to improve literacy in primary schools, focusing on children aged 6 to 10. The project has provided over 30 000 reading cards to 60 schools across the country. The cards are prominently displayed in classrooms and are being successfully used to improve basic reading and comprehension. Students read story cards in vernacular and English. They can also take the cards home and read them with their parents and/or guardians. Parents of participating children, some of whom are themselves unable to read, report seeing a visible improvement in their children's vocabulary and confidence. They also report being more committed to keeping their children in school owing to these improvements.
Financial literacy, life skills and entrepreneurship: Stanbic Uganda’s National School Championship aims to empower the job creators of tomorrow. First launched in 2016, it runs countrywide and aims to equip students with business and enterprise skills, to nurture entrepreneurship, creativity and long-term business thinking. The project is run in partnership with Café Javas, The Food Hub, NBS, the International University of East Africa, and Uganda Christian University.
Entrepreneurship: According to UN Statistics, almost 80% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30. While the economy has shown impressive growth in recent years, it faces challenges in tackling its youth unemployment rate, which is among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Stanbic Uganda partners with the Young and Emerging Leaders Project (YELP), an initiative of the LéO Africa Institute. The project, which operates across East Africa, inducts up to 30 outstanding young people per year into a fellowship programme designed to support self-advancement, integrity, social responsibility and socioeconomic transformation. Fellows are selected based on their efforts to empower and transform their communities, addressing issues of poverty, climate change and unemployment and supporting social justice. They engage in critical reflection sessions, conversations with leaders from various sectors, peer-to-peer sharing and learning. In 2019, 30 fellows received business leadership training.
Standard Bank South Africa’s CSI efforts have, for the past five years, focused on improving access to quality, affordable education for all and enhancing educational outcomes. In 2019, following an in-depth review of our impact and effectiveness over the five-year period, we developed a refreshed CSI strategy, which focuses specifically on early childhood development and foundation phase education. This is based on extensive empirical research which demonstrates that developmental stimulation during the early years of childhood, well before a child enters the formal schooling system, are critical to future intellectual, emotional and physical wellbeing. We have seen the positive impacts of such interventions first-hand, through Standard Bank sponsored ECD and Foundation Phase programmes.
The aim of our new strategy is to contribute to social and economic transformation in South Africa, through supporting the development of future-fit children who are ready for a new world of work. We will do this through the upskilling of ECD practitioners and Foundation Phase teachers, empowering primary care givers to play an active role in early learning, and by supporting programmes to incorporate future skills in ECD and Foundation Phase curricula. In this way, we hope to help mitigate the risk of the fourth industrial revolution further exacerbating the extreme inequality that characterises South African society.
In 2019 we did the ground work for the implementation of our new strategy. While we will continue working with those partners who are delivering programmes aligned to our new strategy, we have also been responsibly exiting non-aligned programmes, and identifying partners who will support us in delivering on our new focus areas. The new strategy is being formally implemented in 2020.
We partnered with Fundisani Thuto to improve access to quality learning and teaching in pre-schools. The programme focuses on teacher development, learner support and community education. It enables unqualified and/or under-qualified ECD practitioners to participate in accredited ECD NQF level 4 training programmes. Once formally qualified, they can access various forms of support from government and civil society organisations.
We supported the Teacher Development Programme at Uplands Outreach, in Mpumalanga. Launched in 2016, the programme aims to boost teacher effectiveness by engaging primary school teachers in vibrant, professional learning communities. Independent evaluators report quantifiable improvements in respect of the programme’s key metrics: overall teaching confidence, overall classroom effectiveness, pedagogical confidence, reading skills (teachers), maths content (teachers), and maths and siSwati in Grade 3 and 6 (learners). The programme has benefitted 55 teachers, 47 heads of department, over 6 500 students, and 16 schools.
The Mfundo Development Foundation programme, which we supported from 2017 to 2019, targets English, maths and science teachers in 16 schools in the Francis Baard District in Kimberley, Northern Cape. 164 grade 4 to 6 teachers received ongoing mentoring and support to assist them in improving learner outcomes. In this way we reached almost 7 400 learners. In 2019, Mfundo launched a reading campaign in a form of book clubs in all 16 schools. The reading clubs proved very successful and were extended to learners in Grade 7. Three of the participants went on to win 2019 provincial and national debate competitions. They were subsequently selected to take part in a prestigious reading and debate tournament at Yale University.
We partnered with Hulisani Educational Resource Centre to provide Saturday school classes to high schools in Sekhukhune, Limpopo. The programme works with learners from grade 10 to 12 to improve their marks in mathematics, science, English, accounting and life sciences. 1 580 learners from 52 schools participated in the programme in 2019.
In Angola, our Blue Heroes programme brings together volunteers from different walks of life, to help communities meet their basic health and education needs and thereby improve their quality of life. The impact of the Blue Heroes project has seen Standard Bank recognised with a chair on the board of RARSE, Angola’s corporate social responsibility association. In 2019 we implemented a range of education initiatives, including provision of basic literacy training to sellers in informal markets, and at health and education fairs. We also fully renovated three schools, including installation of an IT lab, and donated classroom materials for another three schools. These initiatives benefitted approximately 1 880 people. We sponsored the School Aces soccer tournament which took place in 12 schools of Luanda province over four months. 1 500 girls and boys took part in the tournament. Events included cheerleaders, theatre and dance groups, and opportunities for young entrepreneurs to sell food, arts and craft works. The initiative aims to keep young people off the streets and promote sports in the society.