Providing research and evaluation services to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) supports projects and programmes in four key areas: leadership and excellence, the well being of children, children with disabilities, and education and development. The Fund has recently changed focus and carefully scrutinises the developmental impact of its funding. Strategy & Tactics has been commissioned to conduct two separate projects for the Fund - a review of the Winterveldt Alliance and an environmental scan of programmes dealing with children and youth at risk. Nobayethi Dube (in charge of the Winterveldt evaluation) and Jowie Mulaudzi (running the environmental scan) briefly outline the respective projects.
The Winterveldt Alliance is made up of three organisations, namely, Bokamoso, Sisters of Mercy and the National Institute For Crime Prevention & Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO). The project is based in Winterveldt, a peri-urban area outside Soshanguve. The three organisations target youth, and (in line with their developmental approach) the NMCF suggested in 1999 that they form an alliance as a means of maximising their impact. The alliance targets young people between the ages of 15 and 21.
S&T was commissioned by the NMCF to conduct a fast turn-around process evaluation of the Winterveldt alliance project, focusing on:
- An evaluation of the functionality of the alliance;
- An assessment of the role of the NMCF;
- A critical analysis of the risks of funding an alliance (as opposed to one-on-one funding);
- Offer clear guidance as to the appropriateness of future funding.
Evaluating the alliance
Bokamoso has a three-month diversion programme, called the Adolescent Development Programme (ADP). Out -of- school youth are recruited by Bokamoso into this programme. At the end of the ADP, the young people are then referred to Sisters of Mercy for vocational training. Some of the vocational training offered by Sisters of Mercy includes basic carpentry, joinery, welding and bricklaying. NICRO offers young people an economic opportunity programme and training on how to start their own business.
For S&T to understand the origins and development of the project we conducted in-depth interviews with members of the alliance as well as NMCF personnel who have worked on the Winterveldt project. A common interview schedule was used to guide the interviews and to ensure that we got information on common themes. S&T also visited the site where the project is located in Winterveldt.
Children and youth at risk (including those at risk with the law and street children) are an important target group for the NMCF in the ‘well being’ category. The specific objectives of the scan are: to identify programmes, their target groups and their methodologies; to identify best (and worst) practice; and to critically analyse the findings and develop a strategic approach to youth at risk for the NMCF.
Partnering with the UN Child Justice Programme
Together with the NMCF we narrowed down our focus to look at organisations catering for children and youth at risk with the law, i.e. those that have had a brush with the law or are in circumstances that make them vulnerable to criminal activities. In the process of identifying programmes, we learned that the United Nations Child Justice Project (UNCJP) was developing a data-base of organisations running diversion or potential diversion programmes. Both initiatives have the same target group.
All parties have agreed to work together to develop a wider and richer data-base. We have subsequently reviewed our focus and timelines so as to engage in a more extensive process than initially designed, which will benefit all three parties.
The results of both projects will be written up in future editions of Phatlalatsa.