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School @ the Centre of Community
 

Fast growing Partners for Possibility putting down roots in Port Elizabeth

Partners for Possibility (PfP), a rapidly growing South African social change organisation, is preparing the ground for its first Leadership Circle in the friendly city of Port Elizabeth.

PfP is a not for profit organisation that focuses on making deep and lasting changes at under-resourced schools, of which there are over 20 000 in South Africa. It has successfully established itself in East London ­­in 2015 and is looking to expand its support to Port Elizabeth and further down the coast to George in second half of 2016.

Designed as a leadership advancement programme, Partners for Possibility pairs business leaders with school principals at under-resourced schools in a part-time programme during which the partnership receives accredited leadership training and support from a trained leadership coach and facilitator.

During their year together, these partnerships focus on the challenges facing their schools and they seek solutions together. By not imposing a specific solution or plan for all schools, this programme has effected significant improvements at virtually all of the 427 schools it assists across South Africa.

“The programme is in many ways unique,” says professional coach and PfP Eastern Cape Lead, Sandy Ueckermann. “By drawing on the significant leadership skills and networks of business people and supporting the individual efforts of each partnership, we unlock incredible potential and see significant and lasting changes in both the school and the two partners.”

As a leadership development programme, Partners for Possibility is fully accredited by the University of the Western Cape and it has received many accolades from local and international organisations. In 2015, the HR and leadership training portal HR.com chose the PfP programme as one of its “Top 10 International Leadership Training Programmes” during its gala awards in Texas, USA, and this year the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) selected PfP as the only African organisation on its list of finalists for the global WISE Awards.

“Many business people would like to help in their communities, but do not know where to start. The PfP programme offers them an opportunity to participate in the programme, to visibly see the change they are making and receive accredited leadership training in the process,” says Ueckermann.

To date, 427 business leaders in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal have joined the programme and as many as 80% of them have continued their partnership with their chosen school even after the formal 1-year programme ended. Business leaders report that they leave the programme with a well-honed set of skills that they acquired with the programme’s formal training modules and in working with the innovative and resourceful school principals.

These benefits were recently recorded in an independent report on the PfP Programme, which was conducted and researched by Dr Andrew Hartnick and funded by the authoritative DG Murray Trust.

The report randomly selected 20 schools that have been part of the first five years of the programme and evaluated the improvement at these schools, when measured against metrics such as leadership improvement of both the principal and the school management team, infrastructure and material spin-offs, educational spin-offs, community involvement and changes in the school direction.

In 15 of the 20 schools, the improvements on all counts received more than 80% and in all instances, the intervention at the schools was considered a success.  Furthermore, PfP was recognised for its unique approach, where every partnership finds specific solutions for the unique problems facing that particular school.

“We all realise that there can be no change in any organisation without the support and drive of the leadership team. By focusing on this element first and supporting the process, we have seen significant changes at these under-resourced schools. The programme has already touched over 315 000 school children,” says Ueckermann.

As part of its establishment in Port Elizabeth, Partners for Possibility is looking for business leaders and entrepreneurs in any management position to learn more about the programme. Business leaders who sign up to the programme will join a Leadership Circle, where they can share ideas, contacts and challenges with other partnerships. They will also receive individual coaching and support from a trained business coach and an NQF Level 6 accredited Leadership Training Certificate at the end of the programme.

For more information, please visit www.pfp4sa.co.za or contact the Port Elizabeth representatives Sandy Ueckermann at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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