We continue our series of interviews with the members of the Ditikeni Board of Directors, and today introduce you to Phetsile Dlamini. She has been involved with the company since 2018, and serve as a trustee and recently also joined the Social and Ethics committee. We sat down with her to get to know her better.
Phetsile – what is the role that NPOs and NGOs play in South Africa, and how does Ditikeni support this work?
Historically NPOs and NGOs have always been a part of the fabric of any community because of the unique way in which they establish themselves to provide a specific service for the communities they target. Their positioning and being close to community members means they can address the needs within the community more effectively.
I often refer to NPO and NGOs as the social infrastructure because they hold communities together and provide what is not generally accessed via the different government structures and other private organisations.
Government and the private sector often cannot work in the manner that NPOs and NGO’s work. The services that government provides can be limited because it focuses on the majority and in reality, the delivery models in most cases are not effective. Private organisation’s profit-driven nature will result in the poorer and most deserving communities being excluded because they simply cannot pay.
So the role of NGOs and NPOs becomes critical because to ensure that the marginalised and disadvantaged communities are catered for and supported. It’s a noble role, comes with lots of strife, adjustments and navigating unchartered territories. Expectations are high, returns and impact at times intangible and difficult to define. This country needs NGOs and NPOs more than it will ever admit and should be more conscious of the contribution and value we gain from them.
Ditikeni at the moment relieves to some extent the burden associated with fundraising and the uncertainty surrounding access to funding, the windows of when it is available and the conditions attached to funding sources. As shareholders and trustees, NGOs and NPOs can expect a dividend annually that contributes to their financial wellbeing.
What is your wish for the brave men and women who work in the NGO sector?
I wish that they remain grounded in their purpose and what they seek to address or provide. I wish that they continue to be passionate and dedicated in all their endeavours.
I wish that they can collaborate more, learn from each other and develop collective strategies to overcome their challenges. The famous African proverb says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Combined efforts are likely to yield long term gain. The example of Ditikeni is a case in point, the foresight and financial commitment that was made by the original 16 organisations in the 1990s to the idea of an investment vehicle would have never achieved the same outcome if these organisations had resolved to devise individual strategies to combat the reality of foreign aid moving out of the country.
Secondly, the funding that they pooled together resulted in a significant initial investment in contrast to what individual entities could have invested on their own. Lastly, the common vision of sustainable operations and the companionship they provided each other along the journey ensured that they allayed each other’s fears and remained patient and faithful in the anticipated outcome.
Today they can enjoy an annual dividend that serves a role in keeping their operations running even through the tough economic environment. Innovation in the space of financial strategies to combat the woes and frustrations of accessing donor funding.
Where can people find out more about your organisation and its work?
I am a certified integral coach through New Ventures West and the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business Centre for Coaching. I am also a PCC ICF Accredited Coach with International Coaching Federation (ICF). Currently, I am an associate facilitator, consultant, trainer, mentor and coach working with CfC and independently with other entities.
Anything else you want to add?
For me, it feels like my life has come full circle.
My mother worked for the Red Cross (an international NGO) for over 20 years. Very early on in my life, I learnt how the organisation could be run and managed by the passion of volunteer members. Growing up, I also participated in numerous fundraising events, some included bucket loads of time and effort with little in the way of a financial return. Hard lessons learnt there.
Today I am part of the governance structures of an investment company that can provide a dividend to NGOs and NPOs. It fills my heart with love and fulfilment and gives me the peace that comes from knowing that each year I am in a way involved in keeping some of these organisations doors open without any heavy lifting.
Thank you for your time.