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Governance and investment toolkit for a community development trust

“I have enjoyed working closely with Synergy over the last 18 months. Synergy demonstrated tremendous commitment and creative thinking to the formidable challenge of enabling community-led sustainable development. I have been impressed by Synergy’s professionalism and diplomatic approach, especially while navigating the process of establishing new community institutions and building community relationships in mining areas. I am confident that Synergy has built a strong foundation for the future work of Lefa La Rona and its Community Development Trusts.”

-Ms. Nana Magomola, Chairperson, Lefa La Rona Trust

“Over the last nine months, Synergy has guided me and our non-profit organisation through uncertainties, challenges and experiences to where we can realise our true worth and are able to express our predetermined dreams and set progressive goals. Synergy staff have provided a listening ear, a directive hand and some sound advice through their facilitative role. Through their support [we are] advancing positively. Many thanks to Synergy – we have enjoyed working with you.”

-Tessa White, General Manager, Thabang Children’s Project (a beneficiary project)

Governance and investment toolkit for a community development trust

Client:Lefa la Rona
Country:South Africa
Sector: Corporate social investment, community benefit sharing
Services client used:Implementation
Our expertise: Advisory support, community development implementation, partnerships, thought leadership

Project description

As part of our support to Anglo American Platinum’s new structure for social and economic impact (through the establishment of Community Development Trusts for mines near communities and labour sending areas), Synergy developed a comprehensive governance and investment toolkit.

This practical toolkit for both governance and the identification of quality, high-impact investments is underpinned by community mobilisation and ownership of the development process.  And, it covers the full cycle of project identification, funding, management, monitoring and completion.

Deliverables

  • A custom toolkit to manage the process of social investment for the Community Development Trusts;
  • Assistance with identifying, assessing and implementing development projects worth R30 million (in 2015); and,
  • Manage and monitor existing investments of the Lefa La Rona Trust.

Key challenges and successes

Great effort had to go into cultivating and then securing a sense of ownership and sound leadership within the new development trusts, especially as it related to community impact planning and community engagement. Initially, when we introduced new approaches to social impact investment we were met with resistance in the local benefit areas.

However, after only 15 months, we increased the community impact and development spend by 500%. And we are proud of the toolkit we designed which enables innovative community development through engagement platforms and grass root idea generation, combined with state of the art governance mechanisms.