S.E.T. for socio-economic growth
The winner of the 2020/2021 for Non-Governmental Organisation Award was won by Outlook Foundation for organising and rolling out empowerment activities to the youth in disadvantaged areas where resources are poor and young people have limited exposure to future or available opportunities and development programmes.
Outlook Foundation is a volunteer-led non-profit organisation (NPO) that focuses on promoting careers and opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The organisation is defined by its community of professionals, all with backgrounds in STEM, and all passionate about the development of young people.
Inspired by personal struggles, driven by commitment, the Outlook Foundation sets its sights on the future
The Outlook Foundation is a volunteer-led non-profit organisation (NPO) that focuses on promoting careers and opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The organisation is defined by its community of professionals, all with backgrounds in STEM, and all passionate about the development of young people.
“At first, the programme didn’t move; we saw no real change in the first seven years,” says Sego Kelefetswe, Founder and CEO of the Outlook Foundation. “Then in 2009, I was invited to join a career exhibition and I was introduced to NRF-SAASTA. Thanks to this connection, we then partnered with them to do the first career outreach in Pudumoe and Morokweng, both in rural North West province, before demarcations.”
This moment defined the next steps for the Foundation. After this, it was introduced to many organisations that included the Water Research Commission, the South African Institution of Civil Engineering and Aviation Development Africa, and has since been part of multiple career outreach initiatives.
“We partnered with the DST [Department of Science and Technology] through SAASTA [South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement] for the revamped outreach aimed at changing the landscape of the learners we reach out to, and created a new format called the Role Modelling campaign,” says Kelefetswe. “The objective was to use science and maths to influence the learners to choose role models in STEM fields. This, plus our engagement with SAASTA on their community initiatives, helped us engage with more learners from various communities.”
Since it started, the Outlook Foundation has been involved in more than 90 projects with more than 77 schools and has reached more than 300 000 learners. It plays a fundamental role in engaging with youth to address South Africa’s shortage of STEM professionals, engages with the youth and shows them the immense opportunities that lie in the field of STEM, and with the technologies of machine learning, data science and data engineering.
The Outlook Foundation has earned its recognition in the 2021 NSTF-South32 Awards. Its work has achieved remarkable results, and its team remains committed to a goal that will benefit South Africa and its people. — Tamsin Oxford
Read the special Mail & Guardian supplement about all the NSTF-South32 Award winners.