Social Impact – Monitoring, Evaluating and Reporting

With significant economic inequality and poverty levels rising year-on-year in South Africa, many companies contribute towards improving the socio-economic wellbeing of their employees and their families, as well as the communities within which these companies operate. These contributions may be made to comply with legislation or best practice for maintaining a ‘social license to operate’, or simply as part of investing socially as a corporate citizen.

Regardless of the purpose, the key questions linked to all contributions are:

  • Is our money being spent wisely?
  • Is our contribution having an impact and making a sustainable difference?

Unfortunately, there are far too many Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and community development initiatives around the country that fail to make a real impact, with many becoming “white elephants” as soon as the initial funding has been spent. Additionally, many empowerment initiatives focus more on building physical infrastructure and targeting only a select few, ignoring the real goal of developing, empowering and changing the lives of the people they are targeting.

Umsizi Sustainable Social Solutions (Umsizi), however, has a different approach to livelihood development – one that focuses on supporting and reaching many through its broad-based and inclusive livelihood development programmes, and one that seeks to empower people to improve their own lives, discouraging dependency from outside or ongoing support.

In addition to programme implementation, Umsizi has a specialist team that assist clients with:

  • Strategies for the design and review of community development projects to ensure that they include factors that typically lead to success in terms of impact and sustainability, while avoiding those that can set a project up for failure before it has even begun.
  • Determining the most appropriate and cost-effective output, outcome, and impact indicators to track along with the implementation and review approaches. Collecting data and reporting results on time to board members, shareholders, authorities, or the public can be a challenge in development contexts. Umsizi has a wealth of experience and can assist in this regard through:
    • The design and undertaking of monitoring and evaluation surveys at defined stages in a programme, for both reporting requirements, and as part of the client’s monitoring to ensure the desired objectives are being achieved and the set indicators are met.
    • Assigning the audio-visual team to assist clients in capturing and communicating their impact and contribution with both photographs and videos.

Umsizi’s approach to livelihood development comes with nearly two decades of tried and tested methodology and comprehensive experience in the management and implementation of development programmes, including expertise on reporting on outcomes. This approach ensures that our clients’ contributions have a real and sustainable impact on the communities within which they operate.

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