10 Big Wins for the Hazyview Cluster

The headline of this blog could be misleading, because, as most readers will know, for every “win” there is a “fail”. And the fails aren’t often put out on the blog for everyone to see (although I think maybe we should think about that!).

However, as we start to see six world-class digital learning campuses rise up from the dust of rural Mpumalanga, as well as reserving our right to a healthy amount of trepidation, we are also extremely excited.

Excited that these community built, operated and owned digital learning campuses will create employment for well over 100 people, supporting 12 SMMEs and 30 schools.

Excited that 200 teachers in those 30 schools will have the opportunity to learn with us as we march ever quicker towards a future that is uncertain, but full of opportunity.

Excited that – once fully operational – the Hazyview Cluster will provide access to over 26,500 people.

The Hazyview Cluster is still growing and we remain careful to steer it on a path that is true to the needs of the South African 2030 National Development Plan, as well as the needs of the communities that it serves.

For now we want to share a moment of reflection. Here are 10 big wins for the Hazyview Cluster of Digital Learning Campuses, so far:

1. Hazyview Digital Learning Campus (HDLC), aka “The Banana Barn”: In August 2012, with the help of T-Systems South Africa, Londolozi and Hosanna, a banana barn was converted into HDLC and opened by our guest of honour, Trevor Manuel. The “barn” now reaches 4421 children per week and hundreds of youth have graduated with vocational skills thanks to the unwavering sponsorship of Absa and Rhino Africa. The majority of our staff across the organisation graduated in Hazyview and it is also our administrative and R&D centre.

Life skills in the open learning area

The Open Learning Academy at Hazyview Digital Learning Campus

2. Collaboration with Government, the Mpumalanga Department of Education: In 2014 GWF received a Certificate of Appreciation from then MEC of Education in Mpumalanga, Mrs. Reginah Mhaule. Each one of our digital learning campuses has since received an official letter of endorsement from the Mpumalanga Department of Education and we continue to work closely with all levels of government to create an environment of wonder and access.

Our organisation is driven by Kate Groch, who is a teacher by training, and supported by the MEC for Education, Ms. Reginah Mhaule.

2014: GWF CEO and Founder, Kate Groch, with then Mpumalanga MEC for Education, Ms. Reginah Mhaule

3. The First Satellite, Justicia Digital Learning Campus (JDLC): Based on the success of the peri-urban Hazyview campus, we wanted to really challenge “who has access” to learning by creating a satellite campus in a VERY rural area and so we launched JDLC in 2016. In fact, while its only 45 minutes’ drive away from Hazyview, JDLC is located on the very edge of South Africa and is proof that digital learning and education technology can reach the most remote people and communities. JDLC was also our first satellite campus to receive the support of the All Heart Fund in memory of Leanna Knopik and – since then – Leanna’s presence has been felt in every community that we work.

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A collecttion of memories from Justicia Digital Learning Campus, from receiving the keys and the launch, to our programme collaboration with Nina Lim and Stanford University

4. The Amazing Support of the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust (SSPT): One of our key partners at JDLC was the SSPT, a Trust that collaborates with landowners, NGOs and lodges within the Sabi Sand Wildtuin. Based on the success of JDLC, in 2018 SSPT became a primary Hazyview Cluster partner and contributes to the operational and programmatic costs of each satellite campus.

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The Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust team with GWF Head of Programmes and Campus Operation, Maria-Goretti Awogu (third from left) jumping for joy outside Justicia Digital Learning Campus.

5. Moving Towards a Strategic Vision of Impact: In 2016, shortly after launching Justicia, long-time GWF donors and friends (and believers in reimagining education), Jeff and Jenifer Westphal, assisted GWF on a visioning process facilitated by Root Inc., a strategy consultancy that works with some of the world’s leading organisations. The process, still ongoing, allowed GWF’s Executive to identify its current-state, its potential future-state and the roadmap that would need to be navigated in order to get there.

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Members of the GWF team Skype from Hazyview into Chicago on one of many strategic visioning sessions

6. Support of the World’s Leading Safari Businesses: Once JDLC had proven its ability to operate in a rural village (employing local people, empowering students and schoolchildren and collaborating with other NGOs at the forefront of education) GWF found in many of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin lodges willing partners prepared to fund our digital learning campuses in support of bringing world-class education to the region. The programme has become a beacon of co-creation as individual safari lodges in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin have stepped forward in support of GWF by committing long term sustainable funding to the programme. Today the following incredible leaders of South Africa’s safari industry empower the access to digital learning that we provide: Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Dulini Private Game Reserve, Lion Sands Game Reserve, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Inyati Private Game Reserve, Singita, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve and Silvan Safari.

GWF tree

7. Employment & Teamwork: Good Work Foundation employs over 80 full-time staff members and more than 20 interns are training to become digital facilitators. Each campus is managed and staffed by people from the communities that we serve. Each campus is designed to serve the community it resides within, infusing not only a new way of approaching wonder-filled learning, but also a new way of approaching collaboration.

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The beautiful faces of Good Work Foundation

8. Of Women and Leaders: 75% of GWF’s team is made up of women. This trend includes the Executive Committee, where four out of five of our members are women, including our CEO and Founder, Kate Groch. The Hazyview campus has won the PriceWaterHouseCoopers Gender Mainstreaming award twice owing to its commitment to empower women within the communities that we work. What’s more, every year between 70 and 85% of our adult students are made up of women.

Kate Groch (right) with one of 2017 Huntington Digital Learning Campus graduates.

Kate Groch (right) with one of our 2017 Huntington Digital Learning Campus graduates.

9. Community Renewal: By the time the Hazyview Cluster is fully operational, GWF will have created: (1) Over 100 full-time jobs; (2) Opportunities for 12 SMMEs; and (3) Access to digital learning for 30 schools and over 200 teachers.

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Open Learning taking place at a school close to Hazyview Digital Learning Campus. A GWF Digital Facilitator wheels a charging trolley full of tablets, robots and other goodies from class to class. Digital learning becomes the new normal, and everyone from the schoolchildren to the teachers, principals, parents and School Governing Bodies are part of it.

10. Sabi Sand Saturdays: The Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust has a tour of “Sabi Sand Saturdays” that rotate through our campuses and communities with the intention of providing access to relevant information to the entire community, not just students. In 2018 the focus has been “Winning in the Workplace” a series of special events aimed at helping local job seeker navigate the world of work.

Here’s to the next 10 Big Wins. Thank you for being part of our story!

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