Impact SA

The Liberty Community Trust – In it with South Africa’s learners and educators


It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child, the same can be said for educating a child and ensuring they have the best head start in life. 

Since its inception in 2004 through an empowerment deal, and actively able to invest in programmes since 2017, the Liberty Community Trust (LCT) has ventured to be an active enabler in empowering and improving the learning outcomes of young learners in South Africa by investing in education initiatives that enable sustainable economic inclusion.

That means not only tackling the issues from a foundation phase level, but also empowering and supporting educational leaders within schools, and providing learners with the right tools to make informed career choices.

Through the power of collaboration, digital pivoting and keeping humanity at the core of its three key initiatives – the LCT has not only been able to be an anchor for schools and learners in the last two years, which saw immense disruption in the education sector, but helped them thrive.

Nomaxabiso Matjila, Head of CSI and LCT at Liberty, says “At Liberty, our business is improving people’s lives. The Group established LCT to complement its CSI mission to do just that. Investing in education is a direct investment in the future of our country and ensures sustainable economic inclusion.”

The projects that LCT funds are based around three core pillars: Foundation Phase Literacy; School Governance and Leadership; and Career Development.

Yizani Sifunde: The power of storytelling in early childhood literacy development

Launched in 2021, Yizani Sifunde (isiXhosa for ‘come, let’s read’) is a project funded by the LCT and implemented in partnership with three prominent literacy NGOs: Nal’ibali, Book Dash and Wordworks. Its focus is to nurture the early literacy foundations of very young children, exposing young children to English and Vernacular books and reading practices, setting them up for when they learn to read and write at school. 

The project focuses primarily on children and educators in Early Childhood Development (ECD) phases as it has been shown through research that children develop their most important foundational skills by the age of five.

“This makes it an important window for high-impact interventions which can set the right learning foundation and provide lessons that last a lifetime. The project currently running in the Eastern Cape provides children with access to vernacular and English literature that is easily understandable for developing minds. Each child owns between 25 to 50 books. It also offers educators, parents, and guardians high quality literacy methods to implement at home or in the classroom to further support the learning environment,” Matjila explains.

This year 47 ECD sites and practitioners were selected and registered for the 2022 project implementation. Approximately 1 000 children are enrolled.

Penreach: Empowering school leadership and governance

Launched in 2020, the Penreach Courageous Leadership Development Programme (PCLDP) is funded by the LCT and implemented by Penreach NPC. Its focus is on setting optimal school environments by upskilling teachers, principals, School Governing Bodies, and other leaders – and is operating in Mpumalanga, servicing three educational districts: Gert Sibande; Nkangale; and Enhlanzeni, reaching 124 primary schools and constitutes 248 principals, deputies and 500 heads of department. The effective leadership of schools through the whole school management team (SMT) has a direct impact on teacher effectiveness and learner performance. 

“Many school leaders are promoted into positions of heads of department, or higher, without proper training and support. This programme is hinged on supporting and promoting effective leadership and governance in schools to ensure better outcomes for both the school and its learners,” Matjila says.

Conn3cted App – Career guidance at learners’ fingertips

What began as a face-to-face psychometrical career guidance programme in 2018 targeting the most vulnerable and under-resourced schools has evolved into a digital offering in the form of the Conn3cted app.

Powered by the Career Buddy Trust and in partnership with the LCT, the Conn3cted app is designed to assist the most vulnerable and excluded beneficiaries from quantile 1-3 (non-fee-paying schools). Over 2018 and 2019, the programme reached over 4 600 learners with the face-to-face online learning platform. In 2020 the numbers increased significantly to 9 100 due to the programme being fully online.

It has also helped more than 6 000 learners to collectively make over 30 000 connections to various career opportunities in the form of bursaries, places to study and careers to follow.

Liberty Group Limited is a Licensed Life Insurer and an Authorised Financial Services Provider (no 2409).


Related Posts

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles