Five South African students with a keen interest in philanthropy and fundraising are about to write their final university examinations, with the potential to become the first graduates in Africa to gain a new flagship qualification from the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI) at Wits Business School in Johannesburg.
CAPSI launched this one year course of full-time study, named the Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PDM) in African Philanthropy and Resource Mobilisation, in June 2021. The students are currently in their final study block before writing examinations next month.
The five students are Sandile Tshabalala, Diroshni Govender, Ruth Rakosa, David Marupen and Tshepo Moothai.
The PDM is the culmination of years of planning and collaboration with Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement, which has worked tirelessly to professionalise this sector with the support of the organisation’s funders and partners.
CAPSI Associate Professor Jacob Mati said the PDM programme has already proven its value in growing the next generation of South African philanthropists. Three of the five students have been inspired to study further and have applied for the Master’s degree in African Philanthropy at Wits Business School.
“The diploma has enabled the students to develop critical thinking and leadership skills, as well as core competencies as managers in the philanthropy and non-profit sectors. Importantly, they have already experienced how they can put theoretical ideas into practice and help underprivileged members of society. The impact of such learnings is spreading beyond CAPSI to the Wits Business School, and Wits University as a whole.”
Putting ideas into practice
In earlier reflections in CAPSI’s newsletter, PDM student Sandile Tshabalala said that studying while running his own business made it possible to immediately apply the academic knowledge in practical ways. His company partnered with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business to co-create and co-execute a social impact project empowering over 150 young people in the townships of Cape Town, with the support of law firm ENSafrica.
“Without my enrolment, I would have had significant limitations in implementing my philanthropic ideas. Pursuing this programme was the most fulfilling decision I’ve ever taken for my personal and professional development.”
Another student, David Marupen, Deputy Director for Resource Mobilisation at the University of Limpopo, said the impact of the course on his day-to-day operations was clearly visible. “It has made a significant impact on refining strategy and alignment of thinking, to ensure that we increase and sustain our third stream income sources.
“This course can add significant value to the skills and competencies of any Advancement professional, and I can highly recommend the course to any prospective students that want to enhance their skills and knowledge base in the sector.”
Advancement is a multi-layered approach that encourages organisations such as universities to work in an integrated way to attract resources for long-term sustainability.
Path to professionalism
Nazeema Mohamed, Executive Director of Inyathelo, said Inyathelo laid the groundwork for the PDM by setting up a week-long accredited certificate course with Rhodes University. Some 100 professionals in the higher education and NPO sectors received this certificate. Inyathelo and CAPSI then organised a stakeholder workshop at CAPSI in Johannesburg in 2019, attended by leaders in education and philanthropy.
“We are extremely grateful for the support we received over the years from our partners, particularly the Kresge Foundation and CAPSI. We wish the first cohort of PDM students all the best for their final examinations.”
The deadline for the next PDM intake is 31 May 2022 and the course starts in mid-June 2022. Admission requirements are a Bachelor’s degree (NQF 7), although non-degreed individuals with working experience will be considered in exceptional cases. The cost is R84 500.
“Ten students have already been accepted for the 2022 PDM course, and we have received enquiries from as far afield as Nigeria, Kenya and even Thailand,” said Professor Mati. “CAPSI hopes to enrol 30 PDM students this year. We are working closely with the relevant qualifications authorities on the verification processes required for students with foreign qualifications to be accepted.”
He said the cost of study was a barrier for some, but it was hoped that the positive feedback of graduates, plus growing interest from private foundations, would help to boost PDM student numbers. The PDM is suitable for Advancement officials at higher education institutions, non-profit sector managers, grant makers, fundraisers and corporate social investment/responsibility managers, and even recent graduates wanting to build their skills in philanthropy and resource mobilisation in Africa.
The diploma covers six core courses and a choice of three electives. The topics include organising and managing resource mobilisation; measuring and reporting performance for nonprofit organisations; marketing and communications; working with communities; ethical leadership; and innovations in philanthropy and public policy.
Professor Mati said that, in time, the CAPSI programme will incorporate elements of volunteering as an essential component of social investments in Africa.
PDM Course enquiries
Image: Professor Jacob Mati of the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI) at Wits Business School