Physical spaces for community capacity-building are becoming increasingly scarce in today’s rapidly urbanising world, particularly in communities that need them the most.
Jazzman Simelane and his team at Imbokodo LaunchPad identified the need for these spaces in the township community of Tsakane in Ekurhuleni, South Africa, and work tirelessly to make it accessible to young women and girls.
An in-depth look
Imbokodo LaunchPad was formed as a result of a passion for social transformation that was tied to a project called KASI CHILD. The organisation aims to establish an adolescent and young women support system that addresses issues faced by township girl children the most notable being HIV/AIDS. It creates opportunities for long-term economic prosperity and empowers the young women on wellness practices. Their first launchpad is located at Tholulwazi Secondary School in Tsakane.
Did it work?
Through their efforts, they have successfully created a free After School Programme that offers students tutoring and homework support, mentoring, debate, and a book club amongst other support services. They also initiated creative and sports interventions as well as a business hub that hosts hair salons, an internet café, and a coffee shop.
Today, an average 20 learners visit the hub daily, average 5 books are borrowed per week, and they have successfully hosted activities such as Math quizzes, English Spelling Bees, Debate and many more. These initiatives keep the young women occupied and away from activities that usually lead to them contracting HIV/AIDS.
The winner of the Aspire Higher competition
What started as a co-created idea, has become an example of how partnerships with a purpose can provide a gateway to shift the trajectory of a community’s future. The Aspire Higher Project aims to fulfil a vision of girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa having access to engaging sexual health education through innovation and ideation that delivers a combination of HIV prevention, and sexual and reproductive health services.
Following a year of implementing solutions, Imbokodo LaunchPad won Aspire Higher competition which was announced at the final judging event hosted on 19 April 2022. The launchpad was awarded £80,000 (approximately R 1,500,000), for them to scale-up their initiative and provide education on sexual and reproductive wellness to young girls in Tsakane township in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In his first address as the winner of the Aspire Higher Project, Jazzman Simelane from Imbokodo LaunchPad, extended a hand of strategic partnership which he expressed as being one of the key success factors of the last two years. He said, “With social development, there is no competition as we are on the same team. Our model shows that we believe in partnerships as what our sponsors have shown us.”
Jazzman continued, “With this funding, we want to take Imbokodo LaunchPad into other townships in South Africa and across Africa. Together we can win the war against HIV/AIDS and other social ills that affect our communities.”
Imbokodo LaunchPad has since understood the importance of school governance (SGBs), processes, systems, and other stakeholders in their transformation plan. They have also learnt the value of co-creating solutions to close the gaps in the developing township communities, and plan to build more partnerships.
“We can never forget the bigger picture that is community centred development hubs in all South African townships and rural areas,” says Jazzman Simelane.