As Southern African countries continue to experience development challenges, partnerships between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social investors have become essential in addressing social problems. One of the critical elements of such partnerships is a social compact. In this blog post, we will explore what social compacts are, their utility, and the social investment approaches that can be used to strengthen partnerships with NGOs in Southern Africa.
What are Social Compacts?
Social compacts are agreements between different actors, including the government, private sector, civil society organizations, and citizens, to work together towards achieving specific goals that benefit society. These compacts are designed to address social issues such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, and access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and water.
Social compacts are essential because they provide a framework for cooperation and coordination between different actors, ensuring that they work together towards a common goal. By doing so, they help to create a shared vision of the future, which is necessary for driving development in Southern Africa.
Utility of Refreshed Social Compacts
Over time, social compacts may need to be refreshed to reflect the changing needs and priorities of society. Refreshing social compacts is essential because it allows stakeholders to re-examine their goals and strategies, identify areas of success and areas that need improvement, and ensure that they remain relevant and effective.
Refreshing social compacts also provides an opportunity for stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue, build trust and collaboration, and develop innovative solutions to complex social problems.
Social Investment Approaches
Social investment approaches are strategies that social investors can use to partner with NGOs to address social challenges. Here are some social investment approaches that can be used in Southern Africa:
Impact Investing: This approach involves investing in companies or organizations that have a social or environmental impact. Impact investing provides capital to organizations that are addressing social problems while also generating financial returns.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): CSR involves businesses taking responsibility for their impact on society and the environment. This approach includes activities such as philanthropy, volunteering, and community development.
Social Enterprise: Social enterprises are businesses that prioritize social or environmental goals over financial returns. These organizations use innovative business models to create sustainable solutions to social problems.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPP): PPPs involve collaboration between the government and private sector to deliver public services or infrastructure. PPPs can be used to address social challenges such as healthcare, education, and water supply.
Examples of Social Compacts in Southern Africa
The National Development Plan (NDP) in South Africa is a social compact between the government, private sector, civil society organizations, and citizens. The NDP outlines a vision for the country's development over the next 20 years and identifies specific goals and targets.
The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) is a PPP between the government of Lesotho and South Africa to provide water to South Africa. The project has created job opportunities, improved infrastructure, and contributed to economic development in Lesotho.
The Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in South Africa is a social enterprise that provides job training and placement services to young people. The organization has helped over 500,000 young people find employment since its inception in 2011.
Closer to home, the partnership between GrowZA and Xylem Inc. Africa is an example of how social compacts can address water management challenges in Southern Africa. This partnership aligns with SDG 6, and leverages Xylem Inc. Africa's resources to support sustainable water management practices across Africa. It demonstrates the impact investing approach, and showcases the importance of refreshed social compacts to identify new areas for collaboration and innovative solutions.
Social compacts are essential in driving development in Southern Africa. By working together, different actors can create a shared vision for the future and develop innovative solutions to complex social problems.
Social investors can use different approaches such as impact investing, CSR, social enterprise, and PPPs to partner with NGOs in addressing social challenges. Refreshing social compacts is necessary to ensure that they remain relevant and effective in addressing the changing needs of society.