Mhani Gingi and A2B partnership to transform ECDs

Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network and the A2B Transformation Movement have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together in the training and tooling of Early Childhood Development (ECD) principals in the Cape Town area to transform their ECD centres into Eco-systems for Change.

The ‘Power Partnership’ of Mhani Gingi and A2B brings together two passionate social entrepreneurs who have each made unique contributions in the field of human empowerment.  Founding Director of Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network, Lillian Masebenza, and Vivienne Schultz, founder of the A2B Transformation Movement and methodology, have both achieved recognition as Ashoka Fellows for their social entrepreneurial efforts.

The A2B principles, methodology and measuring tool that will be implemented in the partnership have also been acknowledged as an international best practice by the Ashoka Foundation.  The A2B model is a developmental system designed to combat disempowerment.

Vivienne Shultz of the A2B Transformation Movement and Lillian Masebenza of Mhani Gingi sign the Memorandum of Understanding.

Supporting vulnerable groups

The Mhani Gingi and A2B partnership will entail a pilot programme to be delivered to ECD principals in Western Cape communities.  The initative is spearheaded by Mhani Gingi Trustee, Joan Wright, a passionate educationist and leader of Mhani Gingi’s Social Responsibility Programme which supports vulnerable groups in society.

The A2B Transformation Movement and methodology developed by Schultz has empowered more than 3 000 individuals and 80 organisations in South Africa, through a home-grown solution which addresses issues of disempowerment through a model for developing occupational intelligence.  This is also referred to as ‘the science of RESPONSIVENESS’.

Schultz’s model has been honed over the past 21 years with children, adults, educators and corporates in South Africa.  The results achieved, according to Wright, have been both “ground-breaking” as well as sustainable.

Eco-systems for Change

With an academic background in human science, Schultz found her unique contribution to the world in the development of her operating system for non-governmental organisations and intervention methods and tools that require disempowered people to “take power back and play out their full dominium role on the earth.”

 Different applications for the A2B Operating System include the Ecosystems for Change model for social enterprise development.  It has been implemented at the unique Macassar Pottery studio; at Kabusha Recycling Project, which recycles oil, vegetable matter and other products to create the fuel substitute, biodiesel; and at Wolwekrans farm in the Western Cape.

The miracles of transformation of a person

“The miracles of transformation of a person from DEPENDENCY and ENTITLEMENT to SELF EFFICACY confirm that every form of learning facilitation should ideally adopt neuroplasticity and occupational intelligence developmental approaches,” said Wright.  The Mhani Gingi and A2B partnership pilot programme aims to transform the seven crèche owners to become social entrepreneurs and ‘eagle’ breeders.

 Optimal child development – a foundation for achievement

Wright sees the challenge this way:  “The period of early childhood sees the greatest brain growth and development (up to 90%) and provides the foundation for the achievement of individual potential, health and productive citizenry.  It is also the period of greatest risk if conditions are not right for the child’s optimal development.”

As South Africa faces staggering unemployment statistics and a future where small businesses or entrepreneurship will have to cater for the majority of employment in the country, Wright cites panellists at the Trialogue CSI Conference 2016, who commented:  “Basic education doesn’t provide the work skills that we as corporates need.  This goes beyond the CV, it’s about life skills, and this means PRACTICAL INTELLIGENCE AND WILL TO ACT.”

“It is the new intelligence, and the only intelligence that can get humans to sustainability, called Occupational Intelligence,” Wright explains.  The ability to become a self-driven, motivated entrepreneur, with volition and high ‘response-ability’, can be attributed to the early neural pathway development and growth and a firmly entrenched sense of self-worth in a child, she attests.

The need for the planned intervention is dire.  “We have taken A2B practitioners to ECD centres run by level 5-qualified ECD practitioners – and have not observed more than 10% of the intervention that will breed EAGLE-adults as opposed to chicken-like adults,” Wright said.

Acknowledging the inherent value of people 

Providing hand-outs perpetuated the dependency cycle, reinforcing a mindset of ‘I can’t, so you need to give’ and leading to the current socio-economic situation.  “There is one message, and one message only that a disenfranchised person needs to hear, and that is, that ‘I have value,’” she said.

This encapsulates the A2B philosophy and value exchange system that runs over a minimum of three years.  The aim is to move the principals from A-dependent levels towards independent B-level functioning, whilst acknowledging their inherent value as humans from the outset and engaging them in value exchange.

 “This ecosystem, specifically designed to ‘incubate’ eagle-breeding practitioners, along with the carefully tailor-made toolkit, is an opportunity to participate in the journey from DEPENDENCE TO DIGNITY TO INDEPENDENCE,” Wright said.

 Power Partners

“With the current interventions and input, we are not seeing the expected ROI (return on investment), in other words, optimised Humans.  The impact is way below the input and effort given and we are not reaping the fruits of all that has been sown. Despite schooling and academic qualifications, there is an inability to respond ably to tasks, and a lack of consciousness of ‘self’ in relationship to the task.

“At our ECDs we need to work smarter, not harder, and achieve the Pareto Principle – that 80% return on the 20% investment (input into the children’s neurological make-up),” she adds.  This is the turn-around that Mhani Gingi and A2B Transformation hope their ‘Power Partnership’ will achieve.