An Interview Ms Mlambo Ngcuka: The Value of a Partnership….

Recently, the Tiger Brands Foundation officially handed over the keys of newly constructed kitchens at two schools in Bergville in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal. This particular project was in collaboration with a partner NGO; Umlambo Foundation.

Umlambo Foundation, an NGO established in 2008 to invest in the leadership and management development of school principals to improve the quality of education in public schools for the ultimate benefit of all learners. Their work is perfectly aligned to TBF’s mandate to support schools with effective school management teams and committed school governing bodies.

Kelvin Glen, Director of the Tiger Brands Foundation believes partnerships are essential to develop a practical community programme which can be replicated and sustained effectively. It seemed fitting to view the Foundation from a partner’s perception to assess mutual benefits or areas for improvement. In an open discussion with founder of the Umlambo Foundation, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka shared her thoughts.

Is this the first partnership with an NGO?

Yes but more specifically it was a non-academic partnership. The schools we work in face many challenges, infrastructure being one of the most critical. We have not had the opportunity to assist schools to address other areas of need. It is also not our area of focus so we have not actively sought to find partners where together we could tackle whole school improvement and development.

What makes a partnership with TBF unique?

TBF monitors their programme on an ongoing basis to measure its value and impact. This is important to develop a functioning model and where sustainability lies at the core of the model. Umlambo works with the schools in terms of leadership and management to skill our educators in creating a healthy place of learning – together with TBF’s programme, it truly is a healthy place of learning. The management team are well equipped to deal with the challenges, find solutions and now, feed their vulnerable children.

How much value does this partnership bring to Umlambo Foundation?

We believe it creates an aspirational element for other schools to work towards. Rural and/or non-fee paying schools in our country face many challenges – almost inconceivable for those fortunate to attend and work in government schools. The principals and educators in these schools are often, our unsung heroes as their commitment to their schools and learners is remarkable and, generally with very limited resources. This is one of the driving factors for the Umlambo Foundation; to boost the capacity to learn in a safe, well managed school. Children need to be at school. Implementing the TBF programme at more schools impacts directly on our vulnerable children and this is vital.

Will Umlambo Foundation seek similar partnerships in future?

We will always focus on our primary activities as that is certainly the starting point; as TBF recognised in Woodford & Hoffenthal Primary Schools – these schools are well managed with an active engaged school management team and governing body giving donors/funders or partners the confidence their investment will be valued and taken care of.

To maximise the impact of any partnership, it is important for the Foundation to assess each partnership to ensure the collaborative approach delivered on pre-determined objectives and goals. It is through this collective pooling of resources, the TBF can fulfil its vision to play a thinking, co-ordinating and delivery role with various stakeholders going forward. It is rewarding to note the Umlambo Foundation found equal value and worth in a partnership with the Tiger Brands Foundation.

For more information please contact Kelvin on 011 840 4654 or email

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