Looking at Alchemy’s approach to resource mobilisation and examples of various initiatives that allowed a diverse group of partners to meaningfully contribute their unique resources
RESOURCE MOBILISATION IN OUR CONTEXT
For Alchemy the context for resource mobilisation is atypical as it is located externally to facilitate its work on transformative change at a community level. By following this approach Alchemy’s Community Development Trusts (CDTs) and Non-Profit Company (NPC) aim to realise their shared and audacious vision of sustainable and thriving communities through and beyond mining for approximately 5,2 million community members. That said, effective resource mobilisation is ultimately tied to a clear understanding of how to carry out and sustain your organisation’s vision.
RESOURCE MOBILISATION AND INCREASING CAPACITY TO BENEFIT
As Alchemy matured it actively sought a better understanding of the implications of its vision and means to realise the desired outcome. What became clear during this reflexive process was that Alchemy needed to develop a distinctive strategy that could deliver transformative change at a community level, and not simply for ‘lucky’, cherry-picked beneficiaries. See our highly capable strategy case study for a detailed account of this work. Called Impact by Design, this strategy requires the CDTs and NPC to evolve their operations from grants management to development facilitation. Within this emerging role of facilitation was the inherent requirement to focus on resource mobilisation to enable the changes along the envisaged development trajectory.
Superficially one may assume that resource mobilisation is essentially the task of bringing resources into Alchemy via the CDTs and NPC. While this may help in doing good, the inherent requirement of Alchemy’s vision is to do better. Put another way, Alchemy wishes to increase a community’s capacity to benefit from its resources in a manner that is both transformative and sustainable. To achieve this, Alchemy supports the use of a Human Centred Design approach to describe how a specific group of affected people can have their experience changed or improved.
For example, as part of a financial literacy campaign in a community, Alchemy and a partner could follow a design process to determine the best way to help older people with their Wills. The insights gained from the design process could indicate that the community’s older adults prefer having this information shared at a private family meeting to allow for more open discussions as opposed to an info-workshop with a group of older residents in the community hall. While the content value has not changed, rethinking the delivery to a family-based approach will increase the capacity of these older adults and their families to benefit, thereby significantly increasing the material value of the resource.
This example reflects a key benefit of Alchemy’s long-term relationship with the communities it serves. While perhaps important to those bound by a funding cycle, Alchemy is not myopically focused on a quantitative output. Rather Alchemy is deeply invested in enabling a community to maximise their benefit from a resource. Put another way from the perspective of Alchemy, a quality partnership in resource mobilisation enhances as far as possible a community’s capacity to benefit, while also attempting to support both depth and reach transformation across the life course of the 5,2 million community members.
AIMING TO RESOURCE AS WELL AS SHARING EXPERTISE AND KNOWLEDGE
Keeping in mind Alchemy’s perspective on resource mobilisation, it is hoping to realise two beneficial outcomes with its resource partners.
Perhaps the most self-evident of these outcomes is to bring the respective resource into the community’s sphere of benefit. This can occur in two ways, namely in-kind resourcing, and co-funding of resources. Initially resourcing may be limited to simply accessibility but over time the aim is to optimise the community’s capacity to benefit from the available resource.
The second outcome relates to sharing expertise with the CDTs, the NPC as well as Lefa La Rona. Resource partners typically have high levels of expertise in their field of interest, which could be helpful to the CDTs and NPC to better understand concerns in their communities as well as what can be done to improve the situation.
For example, while Alchemy holds an interest in supporting access to teaching and learning materials to improve teacher and learner performance, it has limited depth of knowledge on the national school curriculum and strengthening the schooling system. As such, to be an effective facilitator of transformative development, Alchemy seeks to partner with organisations with specialist expertise and access to relevant knowledge communities.
EXAMPLES OF RESOURCING PARTNERSHIPS
Partnering to reduce financial vulnerability
The communities served by Alchemy are particularly vulnerable due to a lack of basic financial literacy. To help change this, Lefa La Rona, the CDTs and NPC partnered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority to help make available their public learning resources. The FSCA resources cover experiences across the whole life span from birth, schooling, beginning a family, major purchases, starting a business and planning for death.
Expanding social investment opportunities
Aside from Alchemy’s funding through its community shareholding mechanism, Anglo American Platinum (AAP) has partnered with Lefa la Rona (LLR), the CDTs and NPC to channel additional corporate social investments for projects. In addition to direct funding, LLR has also been able to mobilise in-kind AAP resources related to administrative, legal, communication and information technology support. This support is in keeping with the company’s global social performance strategy called the Anglo American Social Way.
Helping with digital literacy
Using their respective free community WIFI development platforms, Lefa La Rona, the CDTs and NPC partnered with Microsoft to provide community access to its free basic Digital Literacy Courseware. This provides community members with the opportunity to access free digital tools and learn the basic digital skills required to navigate the digital world be it in school, for employment or in running a small business. This initiative includes the educational use of Minecraft– a popular game– to promote critical and creative thinking in social, economic and environmental issues and in developing awareness and empathy beyond the national school curriculum.
Joining the 4th industrial revolution
IBM in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency partnered with Lefa La Rona, the CDTs and NPC to provide communities access to their Digital Nation Africa (DNA) resource. This platform allows individuals and SMMEs to access free online learning, learnerships and job opportunities in new 4IR technologies as a response to high unemployment in communities. The platform caters for a range of audiences including explorers (new to technology), innovators, and new collar (people accessing the job market).
Accessing teaching and learning resources
One of South Africa’s most comprehensive sources of quality teaching and learning materials can be found in the Vodacom Foundation’s e-School and Digital Classroom. Covering the national school curriculum from Grade R to 12 in all 11 official languages, this free-to-access resource offers a great opportunity for schools and parents to help their children improve their academic performance, learning outcomes and level of attainment. While accessing it on the Vodacom mobile network is free– there are no data charges– most teachers, learners and parents in the communities that Alchemy serves were unaware of this resource. Partnering with the Foundation, the CDTs and NPC has been engaging in an awareness, access and utilisation campaign to increase the capacity of the communities to benefit from this resource. For teachers and learners not able to access the e-School and Digital Classroom, the CDTs and NPC’s community WIFI portals will assist. During COVID when schooling was interrupted and severely impacted, this digital education resource together with the free community WIFI development platform were critical to mitigate and limit learning loss.