We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Nedbank Private Wealth Innovation Awards.
These awards are a once-off initiative to recognise innovation and resilience demonstrated by South African non-profit organisations (NPOs) during the Covid-19 crisis. Click here for more context about these awards.
Two awards were presented: a main award and a technology award.
Three independent judges assessed almost 150 entries. The judges looked for organisations that showed financial resilience, strong leadership and effective risk management, as well as the ability to harness technology successfully to continue or even improve their service offerings to beneficiaries.
Here are the winners:
|Main award: Book Dash, a social-impact publisher of new African children’s books|
Book Dash believes that every child should own 100 books by the age of five, and that this will uplift these children and eventually our society as a whole. Its innovative publishing model reduces the costs of publishing by approximately 80%, which means that it can offer books to donors and partners at R10 a copy. Book Dash was not deterred by the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic – in fact, 2020 marked the distribution of their one millionth book.
Book Dash has meticulously recorded its innovative model for book publishing from the onset so that other organisations can publish their books in the same way. Under the strict lockdown conditions, Book Dash decided to move its book-publishing model online, adapting to a virtual environment that allows volunteers from all over the country and the world to participate. They added this new model to their manual so that others could iterate on this approach. There have been at least 10 instances of organisations using the Book Dash model to publish new books.
In addition to continuing with its innovative content creation methods, Book Dash collaborated with its distribution partners to donate books to families that were receiving food parcels and learning packs through these partners.
Other organisations shortlisted for this category and deserving of a special mention, in alphabetical order, were the following:
|Technology award: The Feenix Trust, which connects communities in an innovative way so they can achieve debt-free education|
Through its online crowdfunding platform, Feenix connects university students with individual and corporate donors who share the belief that access to education should not depend on wealth.
In May 2020 Feenix launched the #CaptheGap Covid-19 Student Relief Fund, using and adapting their existing crowdfunding platform to change the focus from student debt to crowdfunding for crisis relief during the pandemic. Within five months the #CaptheGap fund raised R3,4 million to support over 400 students with monthly food vouchers, monthly data packages and laptops.
Feenix’s key learnings from its adaptation to the pandemic centres around collaboration, partnerships, agility and innovation. Feenix’s application and evidence contain many valuable lessons for all organisations.
Organisations shortlisted for their innovative application of technology and deserving of a special mention, in alphabetic order, were the following:
The Innovation Awards are part of our commitment to growing and strengthening the philanthropic and social sector in South Africa.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in systems and technology, and this is no different for the social sector. Through the prize money, we hope to give the winning organisations the means to further strengthen their operations, enhance their programmes and service offerings, and position themselves to do even more good in our society into the future.
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