SECTION BExecutive Summary
Since 2001 Common Purpose South Africa has piloted and run three programmes inJohannesburg – Matrix, Navigator and Your Turn – with the aim of leadership, partnership andcommunity development. It has realised this aim by exposing a highly diverse group of currentleaders, emerging leaders and Grade nine learners to both challenging debate and hands-onexperience of the issues with which their city currently grapples. I have evaluated the success of these programmes by a series of in-depth interviews with a variety of the project’s stakeholdersand the results are presented in this report.Internationally, Common Purpose has become known for its rigorous and innovative model of engaging with city issues and it is clear that this model has been very successfully adapted to theSouth African context. The content of all three local programmes is evocative, well-researchedand extremely relevant to the development needs of both the city of Johannesburg and of participants themselves. The manner of presenting material is original, experiential and effectivein creating a safe and energetic environment in which participants can confront their own andeach other’s prejudice while taking a look at elements of their city that most of them know little or nothing about. As a result, graduates consistently remark on the intensity of experience as well asthe breadth of exposure that they receive from the programmes. Most add that Common Purposeoffers the only programmes in South Africa with this level of engagement, exposure andexperiential learning.The impact of these programmes can be seen in the raised levels of awareness, leadershipdevelopment, higher levels of optimism, new projects, greater networks and partnership skill,increased appreciation of city officials and improved diversity tolerance reported by theoverwhelming majority of graduates, most of whom are from previously excluded groups. Thesuccess of Common Purpose lies in its creation of a steadily growing and connected pool of cityleaders with these attributes.My evaluation of this project is notably positive in relation to its relevance, effectiveness,sustainability, replicability and contribution to the Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF) principles.
While recruitment strategies have successfully targeted black and female participants I havesuggested that greater effort be made to include the trade union sector as well as to makeprogrammes more accessible for disabled people. Other recommendations that I have madefocus principally on extending the impact of the programmes by making available moreopportunities for participation and networking to the group of committed and aware communityleaders that Common Purpose has created.