Stay FLY - exploring impact measurement in NGOs funded by CSIs in South Africa: A case study on fun learning for youth (FLY)

Thesis / Dissertation


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Countries are racing to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and NGOs play a critical role in advancing their achievement. Inclusive and equitable quality education (SDG 4) is a crucial driver for accomplishing six other SDGs, which are health and wellbeing; gender equality; poverty reduction; peaceful societies; resilient cities; and sustainable consumption. However, along with unemployment, inferior education is the highest contributor to multidimensional poverty in South Africa. Thus, NGOs complement the efforts of government to meet SDG targets where the latter falls short. Even though the role of NGOs is undisputed, these organisations face sustainability challenges. In fact, the NGO space is competitive, and resources are limited. Moreover, although accountability and impact measurement would increase the chances of NGOs receiving funding, the lack of an impact measurement framework threatens their sustainability. Access to impact measurement and relevant data would provide credibility to NGOs and an opportunity for understanding the influence of their social investments, which would lead to long-term partnerships between them and donor funders. The case study described in this dissertation focussed on Fun Learning for Youth (FLY), an NGO that provides complimentary tutoring in mathematics and life skills to high school learners and supports them at higher education level. The objective of FLY is for individuals to join the programme as learners from Grade 8 until Grade 12, receive tertiary funding, complete their studies, and return to become tutors. The intention of the study was to explore the rationale behind FLY's investment impact measurement and understand the process followed. The thematic data analysis revealed that the rationale for measuring the impact of FLY's investments was to provide motivation to donors for the existence of the organisation; ascertain FLY's impact on learners; and determine areas that need improvement. In addition, the study found that FLY has adequate impact measurement tools for university students funded by its bursary scheme. However, the thematic analysis indicated that the organisation could improve its impact measurement at high-school level, by using a well-thought-out framework. Therefore, a framework was recommended for FLY to strengthen its impact measurement at this level. The model could be generalised, and therefore adopted by other NGOs.