Buzz Women South Africa: what comes after a leadership programme

#whengoodwomenmeet

How do I even begin to describe the immense impact that a Female Leadership Journey with six amazing women from the Netherlands and a team of female powerhouses from Wellington, South Africa can have on a person?

Why not start from the beginning
Flying from Amsterdam to Cape Town, with one mission in mind: learning and working alongside the (all female!) NorSA team to create even more impact as an NGO that focusses on fighting poverty amongst children.

Together we embarked on a journey to explore how NorSA could become more entrepreneurial and financially sustainable, wondering whether Buzz Women could be an impactful program to launch in South Africa, whilst simultaneously working on personal leadership questions and fundamental career choices related to the participating women.

As you can imagine, backpacks were filled with big questions for women with big dreams and ambitions, and we wanted answers in just a few days.

When good women meet
Let the bonding begin, it was time to get to the core of questions like: who are you as an individual woman; beyond your job title and business card? What are childhood messages that still impact you today? Partly in Afrikaans but mostly in English. Afrikaans sounded strangely familiar to the Dutchies.

What we saw, and the stories we heard
For almost two days, we immersed ourselves in NorSA’s mission by seeing their work in action; it offered context and ended up touching everyone right down to their core. We visited townships, played with kids, talked to foster moms, and witnessed lines of children waiting to be fed.

The stories about alcohol and substance abuse amongst women and men were endless, we saw how the NorSA mamas take care of children that are not their own; still giving it their all, from the bottom of their big hearts.

I had a hard time wrapping my head around the things we were confronted with. Analyzing these issues or having an opinion about them doesn’t help, but I already knew that. It became very clear that it’s simply impossible to fully understand the complexity of poverty in this context, and how to do something about it. That such a natural female instinct of wanting to solve every problem out there simply doesn’t work. These women don’t need a quick fix solution, they need to be seen for who they are and need extra helping hands.

So, what now?
This week touched me on so many levels. I experienced what community really feels and looks like. Realizing that the way children play is the same everywhere around the globe, no matter what you have or don’t have. As long as you’re given the time and space to be a child, and that’s what NorSA takes care of, extremely well. They add color to the lives of children who came from nothing, and now have everything a child needs: love, comfort, education and security.

Whilst absorbing all of these impressions, we came up with answers to the big questions we posed at the beginning of the trip. Those answers enabled us to draft a clear plan to lift NorSA to a more entrepreneurial level and set an agenda to develop a women empowerment program with frontrunner women from the community, to help lift the community as a whole. We have committed ourselves to make both happen.

You’re probably still wondering how my week was, right? Well, I always dream big and am fully dedicated to realizing those dreams. Step by step.

Buzz Women South Africa: female leadership programme for game changing women

What happens when #goodpeoplemeet

In a week from now, my dear colleague Daria and I will arrive in Wellington, South Africa. It’s about to happen: the Buzz Women Journey South Africa 2019! A female leadership program for game changing individuals. No family Easter brunches, matzos or egg hunts for us this year. Instead we welcome six amazing women from the Netherlands to South Africa where we will introduce them to eight local powerhouses of NorSA; an NGO fighting poverty with a focus on kids. We will meet on Monday night and will officially kicking off on Tuesday the 23rd of April.

I still have to pinch myself to make sure that this is actually work. Travelling to South Africa and working on challenges and questions that matter, with a group of incredible women. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Who are these women
Our journey began last week at Better Future during our kick off dinner with the group of Dutch ladies. It felt a bit uncomfortable to share your hopes, and showcase what your user manual entails, but that’s ok. Now we know who’s on board and what we can expect. Some of them know each other from before, and others don’t.

I was, and still am, impressed by the energy and wisdom that sat around the table that evening. What surprised me the most was the fact that most of these women seemed oblivious to their own impact, yet fully dedicated and ready to dive into the deep end to be of use to NorSA. Along the way remembering to reflect on their own movements forward in work and life. Doubtful of their own capabilities, and humble to say the least. The NorSA team definitely can’t wait to meet them and are ready to dive head first into this project.

Tell me more about NorSA
Marietjie Bezuidenhout lives and breathes compassion. She started NorSA 10 years ago, determined to fight poverty in her country. She set her sights on making sure kids who grow up without a dad, or mum, have access to the education and medical care they need and deserve. All this to avoid ending up like the generation before them.

During this trip we have a twofold of questions and challenges to be addressed

  1. How could NorSA become more entrepreneurial and financially sustainable?
  2. How would Buzz Women be an impactful program in South Africa and what is required to make it a success?

Buzz women delivers education right to the doorstep of women at the bottom of the pyramid. Founded in India six years ago, operational in Gambia since 2018, already hit the 100.000 women milestone, and now aiming to impact 10 million women worldwide by 2030.

What now
Pumped, ready and excited to make this happen we can finally start packing our suitcases. Knowing it’s going to be impressive, inspirational, yet tough at times, this will lead to something we can’t predict. That’s the magic of Better Future.

Text by Annemarie de Jong