Interview with Nchimunya Chipo Hamukoma: Chipo is the Head of Funder Relationships and Strategic Projects at Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. She has been a leader at Harambee since 2021, which is also when Nhlanhla Ngulube joined her team as an LGT Impact Fellow in the role of Research & Impact Specialist.
Why did you decide to host an LGT Impact Fellow in your team?
“Harambee had a really great experience with the previous Fellow – Laura Marras. With the support that Laura brought first to the Finance team and then to the Impact team, we realized that the Fellowship program is able to find candidates that we aren’t able to find for ourselves. It was very compelling to us that LGT VP is able to find that exact match of skills that we need. Particularly in the non-profit space it can be quite challenging to recruit talents with the level of technical skills from the private sector combined with the passion and excitement, who consider the Fellowship experience as a valuable win for themselves as well. Our experience with the LGT Impact Fellowship was that it provides a great mix of people and brings that potential into the room.”
What were your expectations?
“We were generally hopeful when we started the recruitment, but when our team interviewed Nhlanhla, our expectations rose quickly and we knew that we wanted to onboard him permanently. We saw him as someone with high cultural fit and high ability to do the role. Furthermore, what was particularly exciting for me was to see his professional growth over the past year, particularly his growth in confidence. When someone new joins you are never sure how and where that person fits it, hence Nhlanhla was supporting different teams throughout the organization in the beginning. But throughout the year, he quickly became our M&E specialist. Whenever a team had questions about donor information, reports, etc. Nhlanhla has become the number one pick within the organization.”
Which were the Fellow’s most important qualities?
“Nhlanhla came out with an incredible skill to communicate about impact, a sharp research mind and high attention to detail – a strong combination that I like to call the “Nhlanhla magic”. His research orientation is extremely valuable for example in practical pilots that we are currently running for our Micro-enterprise program. Even if we have to study very complex issues, he brings in his “Nhlanhla magic” and always finds a way for us to understand, which is sufficiently scientific and rigurous but not too onerous for a delivery oriented organization such as Harambee. Moreover, I value his high pace and high energy.”
What did you and your team learn from the Fellow?
“Nhlanhla is the first person that I have formally managed in a full line manager capacity. What I learnt personally is how much change is possible. We were able to have conversations about frictions and it was Nhlanhla who pro-actively reached out to seek feedback and was always happy to implement the feedback. I really learnt from him the power of communication. He showed me the value of pausing and reflecting about the positive outcome for both of us and going through the process patiently. He showed me the value of managing thoughtfully and as the team was growing, I managed to avoid a lot of hiccups, thanks to the learnings made by managing Nhlanhla.”
How would you describe the Fellowship program to an organization that is thinking of hiring a Fellow?
“The LGT Impact Fellowship is an opportunity to get high quality strategic talent that you need at levels that are challenging. Fellows can act as a lever for the growth and change that your organization is seeking. The Fellowship is an opportunity for someone with a very specific skillset to grow into your organization; an opportunity to try out a resource that you normally don’t have the budget, only to realize that the value they bring is crucial for your organization. Sometimes non-profit organizations get so busy to do the work that you easily get lost in details, without being able to do the strategic work that is actually required to achieve the impact you aim for in the long-run. The Fellowship allows you to have the people that can take you to where you want to go and enable the work that might get missed in your day to day work.”
Would you like to share anything else?
“We are very grateful to have this great Fellow as a part of our team. Nhlanhla added the thing that we didn’t know we were missing, so just a thank you to LGT VP to helping us in finding Nhlanhla.”
About Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator
- South Africa has a 48% youth unemployment rate – one of the highest in the world.
- Young people lack the skills, information, networks and social capital to find and sustain employment, leaving them excluded from the economy
- Employers claim they cannot find suitable entry-level talent
- Since 2011, Harambee helps the most vulnerable young people in South Africa access economic opportunity. In 2018 it expanded its work into Rwanda.
- Harambee provides work-seeker support to unemployed youth – how to search for work, write CVs and prepare for interviews – thereby increasing their employability.
- It partners with government and over 550 employers across industries to connect youth to entry-level work opportunities. Harambee assesses the competencies of each candidate to match them to jobs where they are most likely to succeed. It then provides targeted training to close the work-readiness gap of each placed candidate.
- In addition, Harambee helps employers fine-tune their interviewing skills so they are better able to asses a young person’s capability and potential, beyond previous work experience and qualifications.
- In order to increase the number of net new jobs available for young people in the economy, Harambee also works with government and business coalitions to design incentive structures that will bring increased investments to industries that are likely to hire youth.
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