Helping Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Southern Africa

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 influential 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 improve 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), is working in collaboration with the Department of Social Development and local NGOs 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

Social Connectedness

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 partnership with Kim Samuel, and in collaboration with Oxford University’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) and the Foundation for Community Development (FDC) in Mozambique, is working to overcome isolation and deepen social connectedness for children and youth in Southern Africa. This work is made possible thanks to funding from the Samuel Family Foundation.

The focus of this effort is community research; awareness raising 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.