Corporate social investmentSafe and well maintained communities remain a key challenge for all Namibians. The lack of infrastructure and resources are factors that continue to expose vulnerable communities to economic and social hardship. The lack of adequate safety and security related services in these communities prevent communities from breaking the cycle of poverty and socio-economic hardship. For this reason, Santam is committed to creating a stable and prosperous society - one that ensures a successful country with markets full of potential. The importance of our selected programmes addresses key social risks such as increased levels of violence and substance abuse, as these are the real issues many communities are currently facing and which ultimately affect the children.
We have always seen the potential of young people and endeavour to support the realisation thereof through our CSI programmes. Our CSI strategy's core focus is on YOUTH, which is aligned with our company strategy and our approach to prioritise developmental work. By focusing our CSI strategy on safe and secure community schools and breaking the cycles of violence and crime, we hope to support the long term interest of society as well as our own core business of insurance.
In 2014, Santam group invested just under R12 million into corporate social investment programmes.
Santam Child Art
The Santam Child Art project is a recognised and well-established national initiative that aims to promote the love of art among children in South Africa and Namibia. It offers a platform for our children to express and present their thoughts and ideas in a creative manner.
Art is a highly valuable, but often neglected, aspect of human development. While Arts and Culture is a part of the formal curriculum for primary school age children in South Africa, in many schools in disadvantaged areas the subject is not offered, or is heavily under-resourced. In fact, research has shown that most Arts and Culture educators in these areas have not received formal training in the subject.
Started in 1963, Santam Child Art Project aims to promote a love of art among children and improve Arts and Culture educators' abilities to teach the skills required. Santam believes that art has the ability to deepen children's insight and capabilities helping them to develop holistically and reach their full potential. The programme provides young people with an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas through art, and be acknowledged for this creative expression. While not a primary goal of the programme, it is hoped that the programme could result in economic development - the creative industries offer a variety of career opportunities. Furthermore, the innovative thinking which art encourages is sought after in all sectors.
When we reviewed the Santam Child Art Project recently, we decided to reinforce it with a developmental focus, making it more inclusive of disadvantaged schools. While Arts and Culture is a part of the formal curriculum for primary school age children in South Africa, sadly, in many schools in disadvantaged areas the subject is not offered, or is heavily under-resourced. We therefore decided to develop workshops aimed at improving the skills of Arts and Culture educators. This new focus aligns with Santam's desire to develop schools as an investment in the future, and to provide children with constructive after school activities.
The programme has grown to incorporate a national art competition, an online exhibition of selected artworks, an art calendar and informal art centres at schools. All school going children may enter. The teacher development programme is targeted at Arts & Culture educators in underprivileged and special needs schools. Learners in these schools also benefit from art classes supported by Santam. To implement this project, Santam has partnered with The Ibhabhathane Project (under the auspices of the Frank Joubert Art Centre), who have assisted us in the development and implementation of the workshops. The 10-hour workshops trains Grade 4-7 curriculum advisers and educators in the visual arts, drama and music. Free informal art classes are also offered to children from disadvantaged communities that lack adequate support in visual art tuition.
The programme involves all relevant stakeholders in the schooling system including:
- The National Department of Basic Education
- Provincial Department of Basic Education in the Free State, KZN, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Western Cape and Northern Cape
- Participating schools
- The Ibhabhathane Project
- Frank Joubert Art Centre
- Business and Arts South Africa
The art competition is open to any school-going child in South Africa. Each year, a new theme is chosen, and children, with the help of their teachers, submit works addressing this theme in any two-dimensional medium of their choice. Selected entries are featured in an online exhibition, and 13 of those are used in the annual Santam Child Art calendar. The funds raised by the sales of the calendar are used to support free art classes for learners.
As part of Santam's effort to improve art education in disadvantaged communities, it has partnered with The Ibhabhathane Project since 2011. Run by the Frank Joubert Art Centre, Ibhabhathane presents Arts and Culture workshops to educators. The programme is approved and supported by the national Department of Basic Education (DBE), who, while able to instruct the educators in the policy for Arts teaching, are not equipped train the educators with the necessary skills. The workshop content is aligned to the DBE's new CAPS (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement) programme.
The educator workshops involve 10 hours of Arts and Culture training for Grade 4-7 curriculum advisers and educators, where they are trained in the visual arts, drama and music. These grades are chosen specifically because it is in this age group that the basis of all art teaching starts, and therefore where the biggest impact can be achieved. The workshops not only help educators to develop their creative art teaching skills, but also offer opportunities for greater imagination and innovative teaching. By training educators Santam Child Art is able to leave a tangible positive impact as educators perform better in their roles.
Secondarily, this also gives the Santam Child Art competition leverage in schools, since schools with skilled teachers are more likely to participate year on year. Ibhabhathane have undertaken workshops in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo, and are currently working in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) where they will continue to work to train 4 500 educators until 2015. A manual has been developed as a practical guide to assist teachers in preparing lessons for their learners.
Art classes for children
Free informal art classes are also offered to children from disadvantaged communities that lack adequate support in visual art tuition. The art classes are held at schools, children's homes, and private art schools, and are presented by local artists who are often unemployed, bringing in an element of job creation.
Since 2006, Santam Child Art has reached more than 90 000 learners through the art competition. Between 2012 and 2014, the creative arts teachers training programme reached 2 879 teachers in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces.
Quantifiable indicators - inputs and outputs
Between (2011) 2012 and 2014, the creative arts teachers training programme reached 2 879 teachers in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
The art competition has largely qualitative outcomes. The overarching aim of the programme is to provide a platform for children to use their minds creatively. It is also hoped that this will facilitate the children's ability to see and appreciate both internal and external beauty.
The educator workshops are also strongly qualitative in nature, aiming to improve teaching quality thereby helping teachers to nurture creativity in their learners. However, qualitative indicators are not collected and evaluated. Interviews are undertaken with educators at the close of the workshops to understand the short term impact that has been had.
During 2012, Santam's Child Art Programme won the prestigious BASA/Financial Mail Award for Youth Development and was a runner-up for the Investing in the Future Awards of the Mail and Guardian.
The Santam Staff Volunteerism programme was initiated in 2009 as a way of encouraging Santam employees to become more involved in their communities.
The programme allows employees to make direct voluntary contributions to projects and causes they care about, through both monetary and non-monetary means. This helps our employees to feel they are contributing to communities they care about, and it aligns with Santam's corporate social investment vision of contributing towards real, meaningful and sustainable community development in South Africa. Santam views the volunteerism programme as one with strategic business benefits, including:
- External reputational benefits and positive brand association
- Enhancing staff morale by encouraging staff to display caring and responsible behaviour towards their communities
- Building internal brand affinity.
Communities across the country face an array of social problems. This is true for the communities that many of Santam's own staff members originate from, or have a connection to. Staff morale can be negatively impacted by the inability to contribute meaningfully to solutions for these problems. The Santam Staff Volunteerism programme gives employees the opportunity to contribute time and money to those issues that are most dear to them. Santam also mobilises its staff to participate in an annual volunteer event for Mandela Day.
Santam offers three primary mechanisms that allow staff to contribute to sustainable community initiatives: Santam Community Heroes, Payroll Giving and Mandela Day.
Santam Community Heroes
Each year, staff members are asked to nominate a programme of their choice to be accepted into the Santam Community Heroes programme. If the application is successful against a list of criteria, the project is awarded funding to conduct the activities stated in the application. The staff member then monitors the spending of the donation and coordinates the reporting process. Santam provides the funds and oversees governance issues in terms of BBBEE and DTI codes.
Through Payroll Giving, Santam offers all staff members the opportunity to make financial contributions from their monthly salaries, from as little as N$5, to causes they identify with. Funds are transferred by Santam to The Giving Organisation, an independent Trust who administers the funds. The Giving Organisation represents ten charities and non-profit organisations from a variety of good causes, and employees are able to choose from this list. Santam acts to facilitate the process for an employee to have a choice to support a worthy cause. The length of partnership depends on the individual staff member.
What the programme has achieved
Between 2013 and 2014, the average number of projects that have been undertaken and employee participation on the Staff Volunteerism Programme can be broken down as follows:
- Santam Community Heroes: 45 projects (R450 000.00)
- Payroll giving: 282 staff members (approximately R231 445.00)
- Mandela Day: 60 projects (R300 000.00)
Santam Community Heroes
As this programme allows employees an opportunity to facilitate real, visible change in communities, the benefits of this programme are two-fold. Firstly, the beneficiary organisations benefit greatly by receiving extra funding, and secondly, staff morale is raised by providing a strong level of satisfaction that hands-on development work can bring.
Payroll giving is a simple way for employees to contribute to society over and above their normal day to day activities. While this approach is not hands on, it provides an opportunity for staff members who do not have the spare time to get actively involved to contribute to community development. This provides a sense of satisfaction to participating staff, boosting their morale and appreciation of Santam as an employer.
Contact us for information, submit your project proposal or to get involved
We recommend that you submit your request for funding at least four months prior to the anticipated project starting date. Submit your project proposal in either hard copy or electronic format as follow:
Elize van Schalkwyk
Nr 1 Ausspann Platz Complex
Dr. Agostinho Neto Road