Em­pow­er­ment well be­yond the board­room

Cape Times - - NEWS -

WIPHOLD’s in­vest­ment into the de­vel­op­ment of women ex­tends well be­yond the board­room says chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Non­to­beko Ndhlazi.

Although es­tab­lished to en­hance eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment for black women, it has also pri­ori­tised ini­tia­tives in ed­u­ca­tion and sport to help fu­ture gen­er­a­tions reach their goals. This was driven by the wis­dom ex­pressed by for­mer Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela when he said: “Ed­u­ca­tion is the most pow­er­ful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

WIPHOLD es­tab­lished the Women De­vel­op­ment Trust Fund in 2004 to as­sist black girls and boys from dis­ad­van­taged schools with a ter­tiary qual­i­fi­ca­tion. The bur­sary, which cov­ers the stu­dent’s tu­ition fees, text books, ac­com­mo­da­tion and a monthly stipend, is open to young South Africans study­ing B Com Ac­count­ing, Char­tered Ac­count­ing, Ac­tu­ar­ial Sciences or Engi­neer­ing. Stu­dents are se­lected mainly on the ba­sis of their aca­demic achieve­ment but con­sid­er­a­tion is also given to how they par­tic­i­pated in their school com­mu­nity.

“The fo­cus is on nur­tur­ing scarce skills in the fields of ac­count­ing, ac­tu­ar­ial sciences and engi­neer­ing,” Ndhlazi adds.

To date 112 bur­saries have been awarded to needy and de­serv­ing stu­dents.

As fur­ther ev­i­dence of its com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion, WIPHOLD hosts reg­u­lar ca­reer aware­ness workshops at high schools around the coun­try, tar­get­ing mainly ru­ral ones. Pupils are ex­posed to dif­fer­ent ca­reer op­tions as var­i­ous pro­fes­sion­als are brought in to en­gage with them.

WIPHOLD is es­pe­cially fo­cused on in­tro­duc­ing learn­ers to ca­reers within the science and tech­nol­ogy fields, which have tra­di­tion­ally been be­yond the reach of many black learn­ers.

“Our in­ten­tion is to en­gage and men­tor the learn­ers, em­pha­sis­ing the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion, dis­ci­pline and drive to suc­ceed,” she adds. “We want them to know that if they are com­mit­ted to learn­ing they can be­come what­ever they want to be.”

WIPHOLD, she says, is also a proud spon­sor of the NGO Cam­paign For Girls, a na­tion­wide holis­tic de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive aimed at learn­ers in grades 11 and 12 from ru­ral, town­ship and ur­ban ar­eas. Launched dur­ing 2010, the cam­paign pro­grammes fo­cus on self-de­vel­op­ment, ca­reer de­vel­op­ment and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment. More than 200 girls have been as­sisted so far.

In ad­di­tion to ed­u­ca­tion, WIPHOLD also believes in the im­por­tance of sport in the de­vel­op­ment of young peo­ple.

One of its proud­est en­dorse­ments to date is its on­go­ing spon­sor­ship of South African icon and ath­let­ics star Mok­gadi Caster Se­menya since Oc­to­ber 2010. In turn, the world cham­pion and Olympic Gold and Sil­ver medal­list is an of­fi­cial brand am­bas­sador for WIPHOLD.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Louisa Mo­jela says, “We al­ways wanted Caster to con­cen­trate on her tal­ent and not be over­whelmed by the at­ten­tion. Our en­dorse­ment is an op­por­tu­nity for her to keep her feet on the ground and use them to do what she does best.”

This year WIPHOLD also turned its at­ten­tion to women’s ten­nis and par­tic­u­larly the de­vel­op­ment of po­ten­tial pro­fes­sion­als. The com­pany’s part­ner­ship with Ten­nis South Africa (TSA) pro­vides fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to high per­for­mance women’s ten­nis and cov­ers three new ini­tia­tives:

A trav­el­ling squad of six to eight fe­male play­ers in the un­der 16 age group, who will play se­lected Ju­nior In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion events in Africa.

An an­nual Next Gen camp and tour­na­ment for up to 32 of the coun­try’s emerg­ing young fe­male play­ers.

A high-per­for­mance squad of eight to 10 fe­male play­ers, which will act as a feeder squad to the South African Fed Cup team.

SA Fed Cup Cap­tain, Rene Plant say the spon­sor­ship will go some way to en­hanc­ing ten­nis de­vel­op­ment: “We are on a mis­sion to re­vive women’s ten­nis in South Africa and WIPHOLD’s in­volve­ment, on the back of our re­cent Fed Cup pro­mo­tion, is an­other ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment in this space. We are grate­ful for their sup­port and hope it is the start of a long re­la­tion­ship.”

Mo­jela, a pas­sion­ate ten­nis fan and an of­fi­cial pa­tron for women’s ten­nis in South Africa, says, “We’ve got the next gen­er­a­tion in this coun­try that’s very tal­ented. It would be great if we could give them a lit­tle push to achieve what they want. So much money is pumped into other sports, but so lit­tle is put into ten­nis.”

The maiden WIPHOLD “Next Gen” train­ing camp and tour­na­ment was re­cently com­pleted at the Bryanston Sports Club in Jo­han­nes­burg. The four-day in­ten­sive train­ing camp and tour­na­ment brought to­gether 24 of South Africa’s lead­ing fe­male ten­nis play­ers in­clud­ing na­tional Fed Cup play­ers, Ilze Hat­tingh, Minette Van Vre­den and Lulu Ntuli. There were also a num­ber of US based Col­lege play­ers as well as sev­eral emerg­ing ju­nior play­ers.

South African icon and ath­let­ics star Mok­gadi Caster Se­menya is an of­fi­cial brand am­bas­sador for WIPHOLD which has spon­sored her since 2010

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