The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), a national development finance institution, has achieved significant impact by means of its corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives during the past 20 years. Tebogo Molefe, CSI manager at the IDC, explains how the IDC continues to address the most pressing needs faced by the country.
The IDC’s CSI started as a one-person show in the marketing department but has grown into a dedicated functional unit that accommodates six full-time staff members. The Covid-19 pandemic, the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and select parts of the country in 2021 including the recent floods in KZN and the Eastern Cape
prompted a greater allocation of funds to enable the country to cope with disaster relief and humanitarian interventions.
A shifting educational focus
During initial stages of formation, IDC’s CSI initiatives focused mainly on philanthropy, giving donations to worthy causes in an unstructured manner, but over the years it has morphed to adopt a more coordinated approach, allocating dedicated resources and funds to specific focus areas – among other functions. The shift in strategy has extended efforts to uplifting the country’s educational standards by focusing on education, by supporting mainly maths and science learners in secondary schools.
The IDC supported the then Dinaledi Schools project in the early 2000s – a Department of Basic Education initiative to increase participation and performance in maths and science at selected schools. The IDC adopted 15 schools across the country. A notable student is Andiswa Fudumele, who is a chartered accountant (CA (SA)) and came from Zingisa Comprehensive High School in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.
In 2011 the IDC revised its strategy and adopted a holistic approach to supporting schools. It partnered with the Adopt-a-school Foundation to implement a Whole school Development (WSD) Project in 30 schools it adopted across the country. The WSD addresses four fundamental aspects needed for a school to be functional: infrastructure, leadership development, curriculum support and psychosocial support for learners.
The IDC has built 183 new facilities which include libraries, computer centres, classrooms, kitchens, ablution facilities and physical science labs. It has also provided school leadership training to 1 217 individuals and provided 2 830 educators with training support, particularly for maths, science, biology and accounting.
In addition, the IDC trained 38 unemployed youth as desktop support technicians. These technicians were placed in some of its adopted schools to provide technical information and communications technology support.
The IDC’s support in education has also included support to selected technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges since 2014. The support for these colleges will continue into the future as they are critical for developing much-needed occupational and vocational skills to grow the country’s economy and creating jobs.
Aligned with the corporation’s mandate of job creation, the IDC has also been involved in supporting community initiatives that prioritises the upliftment of women and youth, particularly in rural areas. Innovative models for grassroots initiatives serve to sustain individual livelihoods through income-generating sustainable projects focusing on job creation, such as the Kusile Mzantsi Cooperative based in Mgwali Village in the Eastern Cape.
It started as a sewing project and in 2014 approached the IDC for machinery to expand. Today the cooperative employs 10 full-time employees in the sewing project and runs a successful microenterprise that produces school uniforms for five local schools, church uniforms, and wedding clothes. They have also established a small farming
project and recently established an automated tomato farm that employs ten youths on a full-time basis. They have secured a market with the local Spar and Boxer supermarkets. The IDC has invested R1.1 million in these projects to date.
Taking pandemic learnings into the future
The IDC CSI strategy allowed the organisation to partner with nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and community-based organisations to supply food and other necessities to vulnerable communities across the country. Its swift Covid-19 response allowed it to act quickly to other disasters such as the post-civil unrests in KZN and Gauteng
in June 2021, and the devastation caused by the recent floods that took place in KZN, the Eastern Cape and North West province.
Tebogo Molefe | Manager: Corporate Social Investment