Synergos in South Africa
Synergos works for systemic change in South Africa by strengthening collaborative leadership, partnerships and institutions that promote equitable access to basic human rights and services. Synergos places a particular emphasis on the wellbeing of children and women and on growing the social investment sector.
Orphanage for children affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Synergos Southern Africa Board Members
Patrick Parring (Chair)
Robert H. Dunn (Global CEO)
Peggy Dulany (Global Chair)
Abdul Magid Osman
Len le Roux (Secretary, Senior Director Southern Africa)
Our goal is to make a major contribution to the reduction of poverty by helping our partners increase impact, go to scale, and implement solutions that are sustainable.
Synergos does this in South Africa by:
- Cultivating, supporting and connecting leadership networks and communities of practice for collaborative social change
- Nurturing and advancing inclusive multi-stakeholder partnerships that address the systemic causes of poverty and inequity
- Promoting innovative problem solving
- Inspiring and supporting the work of others who share our goals through knowledge sharing, peer learning and service provision.
Our key programs are described below.
Leadership and Innovation Network for Collaboration in the Children’s Sector - LINC
LINC, created in 2006, seeks to improve services to vulnerable children in South Africa. The LINC network is a fellowship of 100 strategic leaders in the children’s sector - from government, business, civil society and donor agencies - who are all committed to better serving children. Together their organisations reach about 11 million children.
Before LINC, network members were not connected, often worked in parallel or even at cross-purposes and did not have support to enhance their leadership skills to be more effective in doing their work. LINC provides professional development, fosters greater collaboration and supports innovative changes that can be brought to scale to include the education, health and well being of children.
Through its ongoing work with the network, Synergos expects to be supporting systems changing work at the provincial and national level.
An example: Isibindi. Under the President’s mandate to provide youth employment on a large scale, a member of LINC, NACCW (the National Association of Child and Youth Care Workers), in partnership with Synergos, are working in collaboration with the Department of Social Development to roll out capacity building for 10,000 childcare workers throughout the country. This initiative is expected to improve services access and quality for 5,000,000 children in South Africa.
For more information, visit the LINC website at www.synergos.org/linc/.
One of the biggest issues for children who lose parents or live in poverty is the sense of isolation and lack of meaningful social connections. Studies show this impedes their learning, health and capacity to function successfully as members of society.
Synergos, in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Foundation for Community Development in Mozambique (FDC -- Fundaçã para Desenvolvimento da Communidade), Oxford University, and Kim Samuel-Johnson (international partner and Synergos Board Member), are engaged in an innovative initiative to address this critical issue in South Africa and Mozambique.
The focus of this effort is community research; education and training for those who most impact children (families, communities, schools, and child care professionals); community-based models to prevent, identify, and address isolation and a review of public policy impacting this problem.
Senior Fellows Network
The Synergos Senior Fellows network is comprised of distinguished civil society leaders from all over the world who are committed to collaborative efforts that address the underlying causes of poverty and inequity. Launched in 1999, the Senior Fellows programme provides these extraordinary leaders a worldwide learning, service and action network.
The Senior Fellows network contributes to leadership skills development through peer-to-peer learning and service; global and regional networking, convening and collaboration and knowledge creation and dissemination. Synergos’ group of more than 35 African Senior Fellows and alumni convene to discuss, design and implement interventions that address the systemic causes of poverty and promote sustainable social change.
Promoting Strategic Philanthropy
The Global Philanthropists Circle (GPC) is a dynamic network of leading philanthropic families and individuals from across the world committed to fighting global poverty and social injustice. Founded in 2001 by Peggy Dulany, Synergos’ Global Chair, and her father, David Rockefeller, the GPC increases the impact of members’ philanthropy and allows them to become more effective social investors by offering opportunities for learning and collaboration. The Circle includes a growing contingent of members in Southern Africa who seek to promote philanthropy based on models of African and global philanthropy.
Synergos also works to strengthen collaboration and promote a culture of giving and social change philanthropy in South Africa with a particular interest in emerging (NextGen) philanthropists, foundations and trusts, corporate social engagement and new forms of social investment. Broadening and deepening philanthropy in the region includes engaging models of indigenous philanthropy and the African diaspora.
University for a Night in Africa
Since 2009, Synergos has brought together leaders from across Africa in Johannesburg for University for a Night - an evening of sharing experiences and learning about new trends in development, socially responsible investing and philanthropy. Participants have also used the occasion to honor people whose work exemplifies what the evening is about - building bridges across traditional boundaries to create a better world - with the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership in Africa Award.