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Keeping up the momentum of support during Covid-19

Published: Apr 3, 2020 7:00:00 AM South Africa Standard Time

31 March 2020 – The Covid-19 pandemic has swept across South Africa rapidly, and the government has acted just as swiftly to try and curb its spread, closing schools from 18 March and putting the country on lock down for 21 days from 27 March. It has also put a variety of measures in place to help support and mitigate the impact of the virus on South African individuals and businesses during this uncertain time.

In the wake of calls for the private sector to also play its part. Momentum Metropolitan Foundation has proactively committed its support to its network of non-profit organisation (NPO) partners and broader South African NPO communities, who are now under severe strain.

“Since the coronavirus first landed in South Africa, we have reached out to our NPO community to understand the impact of the pandemic on their specific organisations and how we can best support them to minimise the impact of the virus on them now and going forward,” says Charlene Lackay, Group CSI Manager at Momentum Metropolitan Holdings.

Momentum Metropolitan Holdings has already committed R5 million to supplement resources to the public sector, as well as provided insurance to government workers taking care of Covid-19 positive SA citizens repatriated from Wuhan.

Momentum Short-term Insurance has also given its clients early access to R26 million in future no-claims and safety bonuses to help alleviate their financial burden. The company has given clients the option to donate their bonus to the Solidarity Fund to support efforts in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation has now made over R4 million available in emergency funding to among others, the Red Cross and UNICEF, and its strategic partners working to enable youth employment.

The Foundation has teamed up with its existing partner platform, Forgood, to find out what the needs of the more than 400 causes are for immediate Covid-29 related support. Together they identified six NPOs, including Kids Haven and JHB Welfare, that the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation is giving immediate support to.

Momentum Metropolitan Foundation has also changed its own policy around volunteering. “We realise that many of our staff want to help, but the lock down means that they aren’t physically able to – so we have now enabled virtual volunteering, and have pledged to reward and match online donations too. All the funds dedicated to volunteer events will now be directed to donations to ensure that we can continue to support important causes who are even more vulnerable than usual under the current circumstances,” says Lackay.

Since changing its focus in 2018, Momentum Metropolitan has been working with NPOs that enable young individuals to both enter and thrive in the job market; enabling them to actively take part in the economy. Many of the young individuals who fall part of these respective programmes are at risk during this pandemic, as not being in employment or training for a month or two could prove to be catastrophic.

That is why it has opted to support its youth employment partners to keep the network of social support and learning going. Momentum Metropolitan Foundation is, for example, helping to provide connectivity through Wi-Fi and devices to the Life Choices Academy, which works intensively with youth from the Cape Flats in the Western Cape and provides courses in coding front-end, coding full stack and coding Java, as well as professional development and soft skills training to ensure that students are given the full set of skills they need to be placed in meaningful jobs.

For other partners like Rhiza Babuyile in Diepsloot, Alexandra, Tembisa and Orange Farm, the support is broader and covers enabling testing at mobile clinics for Covid-19, education campaigns on the virus and support with health and food security. In facilitating remote learning, the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation has also migrated our Consumer Financial Education Programme to an online space so learners can still have access to financial literacy courses.

“Ultimately, we are looking at what the overall role of CSI and emergency funding from organisations like us will and should be going forward because if there is one certainty, it is that there will be another pandemic in the future. Rethinking how the sector approaches this will allow us to look at how to build resilience into smaller organisations so that future emergencies do not devastate the work they do,” says Lackay.

The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated that it is critical to act collectively and collaborate to be able to curb the impact of the virus. “This is why the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation is committed to working together and providing critical support to our partners and the wider NPO community – to ensure that they weather the storm and continue the important and life-changing work they do,” Lackay concludes.


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