”We need to do something” is a comment often made by society. But instead of just thinking about it, Kathy and Danny Brink put their thoughts into action. Kathy and Danny Brink were taking their foster daughter to meet their biological mother for the first time. Whilst waiting for the social worker to arrive they noticed that grannies and small children were waiting for food and clothing parcels which gave Kathy and Danny the idea to start Little Brinks.
Thus, Little Brinks, an NPO based in Cape Town, began – with the vision to ensure that each and every child and baby has a place of safety, food and clothing. Now, absolutely dedicated to making a difference in the lives of these little people, the registered NPO aims to help those who cannot be heard or speak for themselves.
Business-driven action learning (BDAL) within the USB Executive Development Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP) focused on achieving leadership development and true organisational transformation. As part of BDAL, an SMDP syndicate group, Synergy, chose Little Brinks. Speaking exclusively to Sola Ogunsakin and Jhadrian (JD) Carolus, we learnt about their experiences.
For JD, the highlight of BDAL was that, as a group, Synergy was able to realise and implement what they learnt from attending the programme. This was done in the form of establishing a food garden through a partner organisation. He shares, “Little Brinks was able to manage their garden with their own people that were trained as part of the project, in order for it to be sustainable, at no cost to them. It is one thing to put together recommendations to pass a course but to actually be able to start a sustainable garden at Little Brinks was priceless. This was done in partnership with another NGO, Soil For Life, and TFG. They were able to have their first successful harvest soon after implementation! They planted vegetables in order for them to consume and cut costs on food expenses, with the option of selling those veggies – if they were to have any surplus, thus generating additional income. They had more successful harvests and the garden is still going strong!”
Olusola continues, “The notable outcome for the partner organisation was using the available, untapped resource that they already had, such as land – to generate funds to run the NPO.
The result for the partner organisation was notably a source of self-generated, sustainable income, as opposed to relying on once-off donations from external funders.”
On a more personal aspect, Olusola mentioned that, “The highlight of my experience was interaction with different people from different countries who have diverse backgrounds with the aim to achieve a common goal. The contributions, inclusion, support, disagreements and consensus were phenomenal. The impacts of the project on my personal life were “the conscious urge to always give a helping hand!” and also the value in identifying untapped resources to generate passive income. USB-ED has helped me to bridge my competency and developmental gaps, such as improving my innovative mindset, and empowering me to think “without the box.”
Furthermore, JD adds, “I would definitely recommend this course, especially if you have done the Management Development Programme! My maturity and thinking towards my work obligations and personal career has grown, and has already had positive impacts with regards to the knowledge gained from this course! Engaging in studies again has both reminded and encouraged me to set goals for myself. It has helped me to keep pushing towards putting in the time and effort into reaching whatever it is that I wanted to achieve. I was enlightened by the support and patience of my wife, Lize, during this time, since this programme impacts more people than just the students and faculty staff. It proved that the commitment and dedication that I put in, will result in what comes out. Having done the Management Development Programme, I was able to come somewhat “prepared”, but COVID-19 certainly changed that. It taught me not just to be health-conscious and to be appreciative, but also that change is very real. How I respond to challenges and opportunities and what I derive from them is what matters. Lastly, working in a syndicate team really inspired me – there is so much to learn from each and every team member. It was good to see the natural leadership, dedication and teamwork that developed as well as the respect for one another. Their skills and experience were appreciated.”