Rallying South Africa towards the common good

The Social Employment Fund offers a unique opportunity for a ‘whole of society’ approach.

The Social Employment Fund offers a unique opportunity for a ‘whole of society’ approach.

Published Nov 6, 2023


South Africa has a rich and diverse social economy that has thrived for decades. It includes NGOs, Hospices, creches, religious organisations and other civil societies and community-based organisations.

These organisations play a highly active and important part in augmenting the role of government in addressing the social challenges related to health, education, tackling gender-based violence and more. It is mainly these organisations that the Social Employment Fund partners with.

The Social Employment Fund (SEF), which is managed by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), was launched in October 2020. In this time it has delivered many important results, including providing temporary employment to at least 89,000 individuals.

The SEF has also been producing a range of positive results in several thematic areas. For instance, it is increasing access to care for victims of gender-based violence; improving community health services, allowing more children to attend art and craft classes and so forth.

The SEF was set up to strengthen partnerships with non-state actors, as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach to tackling unemployment. It aims to strengthen and augment the existing efforts of civil society organisations, undertaking ‘work for the common good’ in communities – focusing on health, education, Early Childhood Development, informal settlement upgrading and more.

How does the Social Employment Fund work?

Following Requests for Proposals, Strategic Implementing Partners (SIPs) are contracted to deliver work that contributes to the common good.

The SIPs are required to employ at least 1,000 people, when they are awarded these incentivising partnerships at a local level. Participants are paid for 16 hours of work each week. At present, the SEF is working with 37 SIPs, who each operate in a variety of thematic areas such as community health, education, greening, placemaking, arts and culture, etc. These SIPs in turn partner with over 1,000 community organisations and structures.

It is these partnerships that create real, tangible and measurable economic change within communities. With the continued partnerships between our SIPs, the IDC and government, the SEF will continue to fund impactful community initiatives that aim to create work that serves the common good.

The Social Employment Fund offers a unique opportunity for a ‘whole of society’ approach, to tackle the scale of the problem. So right now, the SEF and its SIPs are seeking partners in the private sector and beyond, to take this approach to the next level. The Fund has robust screening, reporting and accountability systems able to meet the most stringent of audit requirements – creating a mechanism for fund management that supports these goals.

Visit: www.socialemploymentfund.co.za to learn how you can partner with us.