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.
Our programs focus on the wellbeing of children and youth.
Our goal is to make a major contribution to the reduction of poverty by working with our partners increase impact, go to scale, and implement solutions that are sustainable.
A hidden dimension of poverty that greatly affects 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. Social connectedness is the alleviation of social isolation, which is both a contributing factor to and a consequence of poverty.
Synergos’ Social Connectedness Program in Southern Africa aims to address social isolation in the context of poverty. It was established in partnership with and with support from the Samuel Family Foundation.
Our approach is to partner with global, regional and local organizations to influence the policies, programs, and practices of organizations in Southern Africa that serve children.
Southern Africa is home to a rich diversity of well-established, respected organisations that already occupy a trusted place in thousands of communities. We call these partners multiplier organisations because of their innate capacity to boost social connectedness in the communities they serve. By coming alongside these organizations, starting conversations about the benefits of social connectedness, and providing them with trainings and tools to incorporate it into their intervention approaches, program designs, practices, and training curricula, we help them reduce isolation among thousands of children and youth.
- Fosters relationships among children and youth with community members who are positioned to act on their behalf
- Builds networks of linkages between caregivers and community leaders who can advocate for the children they work with
- Trains trainers and offers trainings and materials to indviduals, such as teachers and caregivers, who work in the life-space of the child
This work in Southern Africa is part of an emerging movement for social connectedness led by the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness, bringing together a growing, committed community of practice and networks of individuals and organizations around the world.
Leadership and Innovation Network for Collaboration in the Children’s Sector - LINC
LINC, launched in 2007, seeks to improve services to vulnerable children in South Africa. The LINC network is a fellowship of close to 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 organizations 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.
Strengthening Social Connectedness in South Africa
We are deepening understanding of indigenous approaches to overcoming the severe isolation that children living in poverty frequently encounter, helping our partners incorporate practices to build social connectedness into their own work, and influencing public policy.
Deepening Social Connectedness: Five-year Report
A review of Synergos’ work to reduce isolation in Southern Africa from 2013-2017.