Established in May 1985 by the South Africa Council of Churches and European Commission, the Kagiso Trust remains the oldest and most respected Black-led development facilitation agency in South Africa. Established as a mechanism to channel funds to uplift and empower disadvantaged communities, it has disbursed over R1.2 billion to a wide range of projects. The current programmes administered by The Trust include the Beyers Naude Schools Development Programme (BNSDP), and the Eric Molobi Scholarship Programme (EMSP).
In the BNSDP, over 32 500 learners currently benefit from the programme and more than 2 000 educators are employed in participating secondary schools. All the beneficiaries are Black rural youth, the majority of whom are women.
The BNSDP has a successful track record with over 50 schools currently participating in the programme in rural areas of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. The model includes partnering with government to identify particular nodal areas that require assistance with non-performing schools and it is this partnership that ensures the success of the programme on a sustainable basis. With government matching the input Rand for Rand with the Trust, it is possible to leverage corporate spend to ensure that a meaningful difference can be made in the schools concerned.
So successful is the relationship with the Department of Education in the Free State that the programme is due to be upscaled in 2011 with an additional 167 schools, some of which will be feeder schools. Infrastructure is awarded to schools that show marked improvement in the matric pass rates in the form of fully equipped, computer and science labs, libraries, media centres and administration blocks.
The EMSP was initiated in 2007 as a tribute to the passing of the Trust’s late chairman, Eric Molobi. Learners who show an aptitude for science and maths and who meet additional stringent criteria are selected from within the BNSDP. They are encouraged to study in the field of engineering and funding is provided for the duration of their studies. The funding covers tuition fees, books and educational equipment, accommodation, transport and personal expenses. There are currently 37 students in the programme, all of whom are Black rural youth.