As our country enters a national lockdown following a call by the South African government to limit the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF)’s wishes to express its support and compliance of this directive. NMCF would also like to take this opportunity and assure all friends, donors and stakeholders of the organisation of its continued mission during this period.
In the past week leading up to the announcement by Honourable President, Cyril Ramaphosa, on March 23, 2020, NMCF had already taken measures to protect its staff and various stakeholders including programme beneficiaries, by requesting staff to work remotely where possible and restricting physical interactions.
Our flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, the second dedicated children’s health facility in the region, also implemented various strategies in the lead up to this period. This includes measures to protect patients, families and staff at the facility informed by guidelines from the Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation and National Institute for Communicable Disease.
Our work on the ground promoting the safety and protection of children and sustaining their families’ livelihoods remains pertinent particularly in these challenging times when they are the most vulnerable among us. Aimed at capacitating families to cope with vulnerable situations we remain confident that our interventions will play a fundamental role in supporting them during this challenging period.
In support of the call by the South African government to “flatten the curve”, we further urge all South Africans to abide by the restrictions imposed by our government during the following 21 days. This will ensure that our health system is not overburdened and that together, we strive to combat the spread of Covid-19.
We further encourage our broader community to exercise necessary hygiene by frequently cleaning surfaces, practice covering coughs and sneezes in the crook of their elbows and washing hands frequently and supporting children to do the same.
We would also like to remind our supporters of the urgent need to continue supporting the important work of NMCF to alleviate some of the challenges presented to our most vulnerable communities due to this pandemic. Whilst, we cannot accept physical donations at this time, we encourage those who feel moved to pledge their support by visiting the donate page on our website to offer a contribution.
In these times, we must remain hopeful and optimistic. In the words of our founder, Nelson Mandela, we are all reminded that, “Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward.”
Our children deserve no less. May God bless South Africa
The work of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) is about children, their families and communities. To reach these children, the Fund has partnered with local based organisations. These organizations have good men and women who are committed to visit families, hold community meeting, facilitate trainings and workshops. All these is done in the name of improving the quality of life of children and young people of this country. We thank them for their work and commitment.
This good work is currently challenged by – COVID – 19 viral epidemic. This is a virus that is highly infectious and will probably spread rapidly throughout our country.
Due to the National State of Disaster declared by Pres. Ramaphosa on Sunday, 15 March 2020 stemming from the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the Fund support Small Projects Foundation, one of the partners, on key steps that need to be taken to protect beneficiaries and staff from infection by COVID-19 virus. The message is for to all partners in the space of children’s programmes
Steps to be taken:
Internal staff: 1.) Education of all staff on COVID-19 infection symptoms and ways to prevent infection. 2.) Provision of materials for essential hand washing by staff after every social contact, use of toilets and public spaces. 3.) Reduction of meetings, gatherings, public travel. 4.) In line with the early closure of schools-allow leave for staff to care for own children and families. 5.) Develop low risk service provision modes including call centre, pamphlets, voice calls, social media contact.
Beneficiaries: 1.) Limit meetings and contact to prevent infection of beneficiaries. 2.) Each staff member to ask beneficiary before starting whether any signs of fever, coughing, difficulty breathing in themselves or contacts recently. If yes, advise beneficiary to stay at home and call COVID 19 Helpline. 3.) Ensure each staff member maintains social distance (1,5 m) during home visits and preferably meet out of buildings.. 4.) Ensure staff members stay at home if exhibiting any symptoms of fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle pain or unusual tiredness and call the toll-free helpline 0800029999 for advice and or testing. 5.) Stop any non-critical daily visits to immune-compromised or vulnerable households or work in larger groups until staff are fully capacitated and are taking necessary precautionary measures. 6.) Ensure that all beneficiaries and COVID 19 exposed are treated with kindness, dignity and confidentiality and offered support going forward.
Encourage and advises partners to offer staff official leave. This will ensure that measures are in place to prevent further infection, allow staff to support and educate their families
We therefore request your understanding and support for us to take these measures.
The Fund also note that this will result in some targets and deliverables not being met.
More points to consider:
1.Know COVID-19 infection symptoms
2. Know how to prevent infection
4. If feeling ill, stay at home, call hotline and inform your supervisor immediately
5. Ensure that your family is informed and supported
6. Find creative ways to serve our communities through phone, whatsapp, call centre or one on one sessions.
7. Stop holding meetings with large groups of people (more than 20). Also, before each meeting. Check if any of the participants have COVID-19 symptoms or contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms – if yes, cancel meeting with that person and refer to Hotline and suggest self-isolation
8. Share facts about COVID-19 and safety with beneficiaries including COVID -19 Hotline: 08000 29999 or Whatsapp: 0600123456
9. Keep project staff healthy by making sure they know how to avoid infection and are supported if infected
10. Protect confidentiality
11. Treat all with dignity and compassion
12. Support all who may need advice, guidance or help
The most at risk include:
Remember, you are uniquely skilled to bring hope, information, care and support to families, beneficiaries and communities in this time.
The boards of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust (the Trust) wish to announce the resignation of their Chief Executive Officer Ms Sibongile (Bongi) Mkhabela. This comes after faithfully serving two decades at the helm of our organisations.
Bongi’s tenure is one characterised by immense achievement and impeccable leadership. It is the kind that makes this announcement difficult but commands all due gratitude and reverence.
The first organisation founded by Madiba, the Fund celebrates 25 years in 2020. In marking this milestone, our boards would therefore also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Bongi’s leadership role in growing the Fund’s endowment over the years to ensure its work continues for many years to come. Thanks to her contribution as a visionary, and her staff, the heart of the organisation, our role as a social development agency in the region remains relevant.
Perhaps one of Bongi’s greatest accolades was fulfilling the mandate of the board of the Fund to lead the establishment and the operations of the Trust with its mandate to raise the capital funds required to design, build and equip only the second dedicated paediatric facility in Southern Africa, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH).
NMCH marks three years of operations on 21 June 2020.
Over the past few months, our boards have jointly dedicated a considerable amount of time and effort to finding a suitable candidate to lead our organisations beyond the jubilee anniversary of the Fund.
As we all wish Bongi the very best for the future, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Kone Gugushe as CEO of the Fund and the Trust, effective 04 March 2020. Her biography is included in this correspondence.
We are confident in Ms Gugushe’s wealth of experience and reputable leadership qualities will guide the Fund’s strategic focus at this critical milestone whilst building on Bongi’s legacy as well as the vision of our Founder.
This will include strengthening Madiba’s vision for his legacy organisations for children (the Fund, the Trust and NMCH) by promoting synergies, collaboration, sustainability and alignment.
Building on her remarkable life journey to date, Bongi will also continue to fight for the most vulnerable in our society and impact on the lives of children by remaining a trustee of the Fund and a member of the board of Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
Before her departure on 31 March 2020, Bongi will hand over her duties to Ms Gugushe, who will benefit from the transfer of first hand institutional knowledge.
We wish Ms Gugushe all the best in her new position and call on our stakeholders to celebrate Bongi’s contribution as well as the Fund’s 25th year anniversary.
Details to mark the jubilee celebrations will be announced soon.
Ms Konehali (Kone) Gugushe has a passion for African development and youth empowerment. Much of her career thus far has been dedicated to developing corporate governance and social responsibility for the benefit of children and communities across the region. Kone believes in a people-centred approach to leadership. Her tenacity has paved her journey cultivating meaningful relationships throughout her professional career whilst taking on diverse roles.
By profession Kone is a, development Chartered Accountant (SA) with more than 20 years working experience, spanning over the financial services sector and development finance. After graduating from Rhodes University and University of Natal, she commenced her career with articles at the audit firm Moores Rowland in Cape Town, following this with a secondment at their New York office gaining valuable international exposure to the US auditing environment. On completion of articles she worked at various banks including Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank (now Standard Bank CIB), JP Morgan and Nedbank, gaining experience in credit risk management and investment analysis. She also gained exposure to private equity management through her time at Safika Holdings.
With a passion for development, Kone spent five years heading up the Nedbank Foundation, the primary CSI arm of the Nedbank Group. During this time, she had the opportunity to drive the CSI strategy of the bank which mainly aimed to make the group a catalyst for upliftment in our communities, with a major emphasis being placed on sustainability.
Following her time at Nedbank, Kone expanded her development finance experience when she joined the Land Bank as the Chief Risk Officer in 2015. While her primary responsibilities related to the identification, mitigation and management of all risks for the bank, Kone also emerged as quite a dynamic leader for the bank, capable of being deployed to various other areas including Acting Company Secretary, Acting Chief Financial Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer. Through her career, Kone has developed a broad range of technical expertise and strong leadership qualities. Not only does she have a holistic understanding of the risk and governance issues impacting organisations, she is committed to good governance, active stakeholder management and leading with integrity.
Kone’s vision is to be an active participant in shaping a better future for generations to come, particularly contributing towards better social cohesion and community development.
Kone has participated in a number of functional and management related leadership training as part of her professional development. She is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative (ALI), which is part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. In 2014, she received the Emerging Old Rhodian Award from her Alma Mater Rhodes University. This award is aimed at honouring young Rhodes University Alumni who have excelled early in their career and shown potential for continued success. She is also a non-executive board member for several organisations and is a council member of the University of Johannesburg Council Member.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) join the global community in mourning the untimely loss of Shaun Johnson, the founding Executive Director, of our sister legacy organisation, The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.
To us, Shaun was more than a colleague but a friend and confidante whose absence remains surreal. Just last year, our organisations jointly celebrated the centenary of our founder, Nelson Mandela, in the United States and the incredible manner they continue to serve his vision since their establishment. We could have never imaged that at this time, he wouldn’t be with us.
A true patriot, Shaun’s contribution to the realisation of our democracy as an avid anti-apartheid activist and journalist will forever live in our memory. His humility, in spite of all he had accomplished in his short life, could never be tamed, always serving with purpose and empowering those around him. A former Rhodes-scholar himself, Shaun was truly passionate about developing young people as future leaders for our continent.
CEO of NMCF, Sibongile Mkhabela says, “Shaun was the ideal leader to take the vision of our founder forward through his work at The Mandela Rhodes Foundations and as interim CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. It was not hard to see the promising leader Madiba saw in him.”Shaun remained committed to Madiba’s vision for our continent including that of a better future for children, through fostering collaboration across his legacy organisations and promoting the work of the Fund and NMCH.
To further strengthen these relationships, Shaun ensured that the legacy organisations were represented in the selection committee for the Mandela-Rhodes programme, so they collectively played a part in endorsing our future leaders.
He will be sorely missed.
Our prayers are with his wife Stefania and daughter Luna Johnson and the many countless lives he has touched.
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