Pepkor and Do More Foundation collaboration

Published: FY2024

Introduction: Driving sustainable growth
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has evolved to highlight the significance of collaborations between corporations and non-profits in achieving sustainable development within communities. This case study explores the partnership between the Pepkor group and its affiliates – Ackermans, PEP, and Pepkor Speciality with the Do More Foundation, showcasing how their collective CSR efforts contribute to the well-being of communities and align with Sustainable Development Goals.

Background: A unified approach to CSR
The Pepkor group has seamlessly woven CSR into its operations, advocating that the prosperity of its business is linked with the welfare of the communities it serves. This belief is shared by the Do More Foundation, which aims to bring about lasting positive change by addressing social challenges with sustainable strategies.

Forging a partnership for community impact
The alliance between Pepkor and the Do More Foundation emerged from a shared commitment to making a tangible difference in key societal areas such as early childhood development, economic empowerment, and nutrition. By combining Pepkor’s resources with the Foundation’s expertise, the partnership seeks to tackle some of the most pressing issues South African communities face.

This case study underscores the power of collaborative CSR initiatives to foster community development, illustrating the potential for corporate and non-profit sectors to work together towards a common goal of sustainable societal progress.

Ububele: Targeting underserved ECD centres with Ackermans
Ackermans, in partnership with the Do More Foundation, spearheads the Ububele initiative, a programme dedicated to instigating sustainable change within communities through focused support in early childhood development (ECD). Central to this initiative is the Ububele Schools programme, which aligns with Ackermans’ holistic approach to community engagement, employee well-being, community participation, and environmental stewardship.

A key aspect of this partnership is the targeted support for ECD centres that are not receiving government subsidies, often leaving them marginalised and underserved. The Do More Foundation is instrumental in identifying these centres and providing them with nutritious porridge meals to address the critical link between nutrition and effective learning.

This focus on non-subsidised ECD centres highlights the commitment of Ackermans and the Do More Foundation to reach the most vulnerable segments of the community. The Ububele initiative aims to lay a strong foundation for their future growth and learning by ensuring these young learners have access to quality education and essential nutrition. With ambitious plans to expand and provide 1 million meals, this partnership exemplifies the potential of strategic collaborations to significantly, scalable impact early childhood development in underserved areas.

Pepkor Speciality nurturing the township economy
The Township Economy Project, spearheaded by Pepkor Speciality in collaboration with the Do More Foundation, is a strategic initiative to uplift young women entrepreneurs in South African townships.

The programme, spanning 12 months, seamlessly integrates theoretical business education with practical training, ensuring participants develop a robust set of entrepreneurial skills.

Focusing on women aged 18 to 35, the project complements the educational priorities showcasing the importance of providing mothers and young women with avenues for professional and entrepreneurial growth. In its inaugural year, the initiative supported 40 entrepreneurs from Hammarsdale and Rustenburg, chosen for their strategic importance to Pepkor’s operations and the Do More Foundation’s community objectives.

The Foundation’s role extends beyond identifying participants; it actively fosters local support and ensures the programme’s integration within each community, enhancing its sustainability and impact. The programme’s culmination features a ‘Shark Tank’- style competition, where a select group of participants pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts. The Do More Foundation oversees the allocation of awarded funds, ensuring they are used effectively to spur business growth.

Site visits have revealed the resilience of these entrepreneurs, many of whom are the primary providers in their families, facing significant challenges yet determined to succeed. With plans to expand into a third community, the Township Economy Project reflects Pepkor Speciality’s commitment to fostering community development, women’s empowerment, and a culture of resilience and growth in South Africa’s townships.

Pepkor Speciality empowering youth and the disabled: The #DoMorePlay Toy Programme
Pepkor Speciality, in partnership with the Do More Foundation, drives the #DoMorePlay Toy Programme to enhance early childhood education and empower disabled youth. This innovative project focuses on creating high-quality, educational wooden toys designed to stimulate cognitive development in young children while offering valuable economic opportunities for people with disabilities.

Through the programme, young people with disabilities receive donated wood and undergo training in carving and painting, skills they apply to craft educational toys. The sale of these toys generates a vital source of income for the participants, aiding in their financial independence and fostering personal and professional growth.

The #DoMorePlay Toy Programme exemplifies a model of inclusivity, seamlessly blending educational support for children with empowerment for youth with disabilities. By involving these young individuals in productive work, the programme not only aids their self-reliance but also enriches children’s learning experiences. This dual-focus approach highlights the commitment of Pepkor Speciality and the Do More Foundation to building an inclusive society where diverse community needs are met and opportunities for holistic development are widely available.

Pepkor Speciality: From clothing donations to livelihoods
Pepkor Speciality, in partnership with the Do More Foundation, is repurposing donated clothing to empower local women. Participants in this project engage in detagging, debranding, and preparing these items for resale, turning donations into a viable source of income that supports their financial independence and contributes positively to the local economy.

The project kicked off with a cash donation that facilitated the acquisition of the necessary equipment, setting a solid foundation for its operations. In its second year, the initiative expanded to include a container-based store, enhancing security and merchandising capabilities. This transition from simple beginnings to a more structured retail model underscores a deep-seated commitment to fostering sustainable community development and making a lasting impact on the lives of those involved.

PEP’s collaborative impact with the Do More Foundation
PEP has forged two impactful collaborations with the Do More Foundation to drive positive change in communities, focusing on early childhood development and food security.

The ‘Repurpose for Purpose’ initiative is a prime example of this collaboration. Working with Barrows, a leading organisation in point of sale, marketing, and printing, the Do More Foundation has created educational resources for under-resourced communities. These materials, developed with the expertise of 13 ECD specialists, aim to enhance the cognitive abilities of young children. By creatively repurposing excess business inventory, such as unused spaces on printed materials, high-quality learning tools are produced cost-effectively, ensuring valuable educational support reaches those in greatest need.

In addition to educational support, PEP and the Do More Foundation have significantly promoted food security in Hammarsdale. Introducing Agri-Food Gardens at ECD centres showcases an innovative approach to sustainable food production, challenging the conventional requirements for extensive land use. These gardens, established with the help of local partners, have become a vital resource for over 50 ECD centres in the area, fostering self-sufficiency and healthier eating practices.

This holistic approach to community support exemplifies how businesses can contribute to addressing pressing societal challenges in meaningful and sustainable ways.

The Pepkor and Do More Foundation partnership: Driving sustainable impact through strategic CSR
The partnership between the Pepkor group and the Do More Foundation exemplifies the impact strategic CSR can have on community empowerment, economic growth, and the enhancement of early childhood development. This alliance has met immediate community needs with innovative solutions and laid the foundation for enduring societal progress, challenging and expanding the traditional scope of CSR. Pepkor, with its vast network of retail entities, brings substantial group muscle to the table, driving sustainability with vision. With its rich track record and deep understanding of community needs, the Do More Foundation complements Pepkor’s strategy. They can tailor projects, and their passion for co-creation and eagerness to dive deep into community dynamics exemplify this partnership.

The relationship between Pepkor and the Do More Foundation is built on mutual trust, shared values, and a collective commitment to making a meaningful impact. The Foundation’s knack for designing bespoke projects that align with Pepkor’s strategic vision ensures that every initiative addresses community needs and resonates with the group’s sustainability goals. This synergy is further enriched by the Foundation’s openness and willingness to integrate Pepkor into the heart of its operations, fostering a transparent and collaborative environment where ideas flourish and solutions emerge.