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Aligning CSI initiatives with national priorities

Collaborating with government positively influences the way the corporate sector as well as sports federations and institutions make a sustainable contribution to sports development in schools, particularly in underprivileged areas, according to Vusi Dlamini, Group HR Director for Tsogo Sun.

“The Department of Sports & Recreation together with the Department of Education have created a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines government’s objectives in 16 selected school sporting codes – and aligning sporting programmes within civil society with these objectives will ensure that the overall impact on sports development is significantly greater than could be achieved by these sectors individually,” says Dlamini.

Shanda Paine, Group CSI Manager of Tsogo Sun, says that government’s inclusion of sports and arts into the National Development Programme has made sport a national educational imperative, and one that Tsogo Sun has embraced in its Sports Academy and Arts Academy that impact many schools in disadvantaged communities.

Tsogo Sun believes sports and arts change lives and bring about new attitudes, and has joined forces with like-minded organisations to develop community programmes that are aimed at making a tangible difference in the lives of underprivileged communities – enabling change by creating reasons to be enthusiastic about the future. These extensive programmes have already had a positive impact on thousands of learners across the country.

Tsogo Sun’s key programmes are in line with the objectives and purpose of government’s existing School Sports Framework priorities, which include mass participation, identification of talent, making sure that marginalised communities are not excluded, enabling coaching the coaches programmes, and integrating extra-curricular activities back into schools, while facilitating events and opportunities in the areas of chess, arts, soccer and education programmes.

The Tsogo Sun Moves for Life chess programme has been implemented at more than 70 schools all over South Africa and more than 50 000 learners are learning through play with the potential to improve the learning of Maths, Science and Life skills says Mrs Afrika Msimang, trustee of TSML, “Our aim has always been to build children into well-shaped citizens. Chess is a tool that helps equalise the playing field. I believe this is evident in Tsogo Sun’s strategy of engaging the youth of today.”

The Tsogo Sun Arts Academy forms part of the extra-curricular activities of 12 schools in the Diepsloot, Mayfair, East London and Nelspruit communities, teaching 480 students the basics of drama and dance, together with a structured life skills course to empower the youngsters to make sound choices throughout their lives. The company is an active member of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), and Michelle Constant, CEO of BASA, emphasises the important role that the arts play in building character and skills: “The arts act as a key entry to other skills. So using the arts in education supports social capital, imagination and growth of EQ in a child.”

Tsogo Sun has partnered and aligned its CSI soccer initiatives with the South African Football Development Agency, which has developed its Vision 2022 Football Development Plan to align with government’s National Sports Framework. Says SAFDA CEO, Dr Robin Petersen, “We have a vision built on pillars which aim for similar outcomes, such as benefits in terms of physical activity and grooming responsible citizens and life skills as a by-product of this sport. Central to this development philosophy is our focus on mass participation, mostly through school leagues and the pursuit of elite performance.”

As a basic fundamental, Tsogo Sun is committed to education and development. Through its Learning Academy, the group constantly educates and develops staff, provides bursaries to students and gives young people access to national historic and educational facilities such as the Apartheid Museum, as well as supporting complementary programmes such as the Primestars, Columba Leadership, Olwazini Discovery Science Centre and a number of bursaries at schools and tertiary institutions.

Says Paine, “Education is an important pillar in our CSI programme and we have several initiatives that focus on the holistic development of the child at school, all of which include the development of life skills to fulfil their potential.”