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Funding the Sustainable Development Goals and the role of business

In September 2015, leaders from South Africa and 192 other countries made a unanimous commitment to the next generation by setting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.

The goals include ‘No Poverty’ (Goal 1), ‘Zero Hunger’ (Goal 2), ‘Good Health and Well-being’ (Goal 3) and ‘Quality Education’ (Goal 4). These are very ambitious goals and without meaningful collaboration between the business sector, government and civil society, there is little hope that they will be achieved as early as 2030, if ever.

Since the day that the SDGs were signed at the United Nations, many individuals and organisations have been working hard to develop strategies to achieve them. Last week, for instance, a group of 400 leaders from all over Africa gathered for the Responsible Business Forum Africa, which was aimed at engaging business leaders in a conversation about their contribution to achieving the SDGs. I felt privileged to attend the Forum and take part in this strategic conversation.

Around the world, and particularly in the US and Europe, groups of people are developing strategies and plans to fund the SDGs and it is widely accepted that it will take trillions of dollars to achieve them.

It is therefore not surprising that the Responsible Business Forum Africa hosted a panel discussion on ‘Funding the SDGs’. The South African representatives on the panel were two well-known and respected business leaders: Colin Coleman, Head of the South African office of Goldman Sachs, and Wendy Dobson, Head of Group Policy, Advocacy and Sustainability at Standard Bank.

I was, however, stirred by the discussion, and I now keep wondering what it will take to shift the story that is being told by such esteemed and respected South African business leaders.

Coleman shared that members of the CEO Initiative have established the SMME Fund and the Youth Employment Scheme and anticipate that both will contribute to Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

While these initiatives offer hope to entrepreneurs and unemployed youth, it is crucial that sufficient attention be given to achieving the goal that is the enabler of all the others, namely Goal 4: Quality Education.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 08:57

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South Africa founder of PfP nominated as Thinker50 Finalist

15 August 2017

Dr. Louise van Rhyn, the founder and CEO of social enterprise Partners for Possibility (PfP), has been shortlisted for a Distinguished Achievement Award in the Thinkers50 Global Awards for management and leadership thinkers.

The nomination was made by the founders and organisers of the award in recognition of Louise’s work in designing and establishing the Partners for Possibility programme, an innovative leadership development and principal support process that has impacted the lives of more than 1,300 leaders and their communities across South Africa. The Awards will be made at a gala dinner on November 13 in London, UK.

PfP pairs a business leader and a school principal of an under-resourced school in a year-long partnership in which they participate in leadership development programmes and apply their learning and insight to the challenges facing their school.

Thinkers50 is a global rating of management gurus in various fields of excellence. It was started in 2001 and it regularly recognizes the top leadership and management thinkers in a range of fields, including Innovation, Digital Thinking, Ideas into Practice and Lifetime Achievement.

For the 2017 Awards, Louise has been nominated in the Ideas into Practice category, with the judges commenting on the fact that Partners for Possibility is a home-grown solution for the specific and pressing issues facing under-resourced schools in South Africa. Overall, this category identifies leaders who have “made a meaningful contribution in the real world”.

Other finalists out of the group of 8 are of a fast-growing bike-sharing start-up from China and the UK Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, who has pioneered several big ideas in the medical world.

The complete list of categories includes leading thinkers such as Scott Anthony, author and managing partner at Innosight, Howard Yu, Professor of Strategic Management and Innovation at IMD in Switzerland, author and speaker Simon Sinek and Harvard Fellow Heidi Gardner

Louise’s nomination follows PfP’s recent award as one of’ Top International Leadership Development providers. polled past participants in the programme and found it to be a highly effective leadership development programme and an equally powerful intervention in under-resourced schools where the principals often do not have the capacity or past training to manage this socially challenging and resource constrained environment.

Partners for Possibility started with one school – Kannemeyer Primary – in 2010 and has since grown to a network of over 620 schools in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In each school, a business leader work closely with a school principal to identify the school’s most pressing challenges and to address these.

The PfP programme allows for very specific solutions for every participating school. Each partnership is supported by a Learning Process Facilitator and they regularly meet with other partnerships in a wider Leadership Circle to share ideas, discuss challenges and motivate each other.

For more information, please visit



Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 08:56

Hits: 9

Donaldson Primary School videos

Johannesburg LC21 Celebration Event 


Last Updated on Thursday, 12 October 2017 10:23

Hits: 11

JHB SLF: What I wish I knew before I became a principal

Vanessa Moodley

MJ Sebola

Elmon Mhlanga

Carol Phasha

Dr Claire Nicholson



Last Updated on Monday, 16 October 2017 15:44

Hits: 13

Klopperpark Primary School videos

Johannesburg LC21 Celebration Event 


Last Updated on Thursday, 12 October 2017 10:21

Hits: 11


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