LoveLife described the annual report highlights, which included a successful pilot of a mobile monitoring tool, the launch of the “Make Your Move” TV programme on SABC1, and the launch of the Nakajani campaign. They had also revamped their system of conducting games, because they wanted to reach more young people. Instead of organizing large scale games, as in the past, they had conducted smaller games in more areas around the country. They had done all this despite a reduction in budget. They were reaching young people at a cost of only R100 per person, compared to the R600 it had cost earlier in the organisation’s life. The CEO reported that LoveLife had also met with the Committees on Social Development and Health.
LoveLife had conducted an impact study that included a mixed methodology study – a household survey, in-depth interviews and 239 social network interviews. The study had shown that one in five young people did not live with their mother and one in three did not live with their father. More people were being tested for HIV more frequently, and the exposure to LoveLife was increasing the risk perception of young people.
Nearly everyone knew about LoveLife, and one in three had participated in one or more of their programmes. Today, 94.6% of young people knew of LoveLife, compared to 85% in 2003. Young people exposed to LoveLife were more likely to communicate with their friends, teachers, relatives and health-care providers than those who had not been involved in LoveLife’s programmes. Of those asked, 85.3% said that LoveLife had saved them from getting HIV. LoveLife had raised young people’s level of critical consciousness, given them self-confidence and promoted healthy emotional development. The qualitative reviews also had people describe LoveLife as a home for them. During discussion, a Member asked about the cost of the survey and noted that a member of the board also worked for the company that had conducted the study. He regarded this as a conflict of interest.
The Members were curious about several aspects of the presentation. They wanted to know why the Limpopo province had a much greater number of participants in LoveLife games than the rest of the country. They also commented that some of them had never seen any of the LoveLife events. One Member in particular was curious to know where these events occurred in his province, because he remembered taking part in them years ago, but not any more. There was also a question of why so much of their funding was going to employee salaries. It was a worry to the Committee, because LoveLife was receiving so much money from the Department of Sport and Recreation, as well as other departments.
The Chairperson welcomed the delegation from LoveLife.
Briefing by LoveLife on 2011/12 Annual Report
Ms Grace Matlhape, CEO of LoveLife, stated that the highlights of 2012 for Love Life included a successful pilot of a mobile monitoring tool, the launch of the “Make Your Move” TV programme on SABC1, and the launch of the Nakajani campaign. LoveLife had interacted face-to-face with one in every three teenagers. By the end of 2011 there were over 8 000 schools registered with LoveLife. There were also over three million total participants in all site-based events. There were partnerships with SRA and the Department of Basic Education, and collaboration with the SA Sport Confederation and OIympic Committee (SASCOC). Events had involved a total of 138 512 participants, and 189 719 people had attended as spectators. Recreational sports leagues had been started in volleyball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, netball, basketball and other sports.
LoveLife had conducted an impact study that included a mixed methodology study – a household survey, in-depth interviews and 239 social network interviews. The study had shown that one in five young people did not live with their mother and one in three did not live with their father. More people were being tested for HIV more frequently, and the exposure to LoveLife was increasing the risk perception of young people. She also discussed the drivers of transactional sex, and its greater likelihood of being performed without a condom.
Nearly everyone knew about LoveLife, and one in three had participated in one or more of their programmes. Today, 94.6% of young people knew of LoveLife, compared to 85% in 2003. Young people exposed to LoveLife were more likely to communicate with their friends, teachers, relatives and health-care providers than those who had not been involved in LoveLife’s programmes. Of those asked, 85.3% said that LoveLife had saved them from getting HIV. LoveLife had raised young people’s level of critical consciousness, given them self-confidence and promoted healthy emotional development. The qualitative reviews also had people describe LoveLife as a home for them.
The Chairperson suggested that they split the presentation in two because it was so long, and asked the Committee to question LoveLife. He said that the study was a study of all young people across racial lines and not just people who lived in Soweto.
Mr M Robotapi (DA) asked why participation in Limpopo was so much greater, compared to the rest of the country.
The Chairperson said that they had so many problems with children going to school in Limpopo that it made him curious as to what made them attend LoveLife events and games.
Ms L Mjobo (ANC) wanted to know why there were no young people on the executive committee of LoveLife, as the organisation was all about young people.
Ms G Sindani (ANC) explained that she was from Limpopo, but she did not even know where LoveLife took place. They needed to have programme that explained to women that they needed to use condoms.
Ms M Dube (ANC) said that she thought the real problem was that children were helping children. She wanted to know why they had not used ubuntu in their programmes.
Mr T Lee (DA) wanted to know where all the LoveLife events in the Eastern Cape were occurring. He could not find them, and nobody could tell him where they were. He had been a school principal for many years so he was involved with young people and the people teaching them, but none could tell him about it. Years ago he had participated with LoveLife and could remember wearing the T-shirts at the events, but he could not find the events anymore and wanted to be able to go take a look at them. He wanted the locations of events to be put in the report.
Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) wanted to know more about the study. He asked about the cost of the survey and noted that a member of the board also worked for the company that had conducted the study. He regarded this as a conflict of interest. He was also curious about the remuneration in the budget and why there had been meeting with the board.
The Chairperson said that some of the issues were more relevant to the Social Development Committee but there were many misconceptions about young people, and sport could help with some of these issues. LoveLife needed to design policies that could deal with those situations and issues.
Ms Matlhape responded that she had been in Parliament last week, meeting with the Social Development Committee and had had a one-on-one meeting with the Chairperson of the Health Committee. They were trying to keep all the Committees abreast of what was going on in LoveLife. The sports components were only a third of LoveLife’s mission, so using the sport component in Limpopo had much higher reach than the other programmes used by LoveLife. Limpopo also tended to retain their staff for much longer and had a good relationship with the schools. There was a greater attraction to LoveLife in the more rural areas, and LoveLife tended to do more then one programme. She extended an invitation to the Members to go to LoveLife events in their communities and constituencies. They had had to change the model of LoveLife games, and they were now not as massive as they once were because they needed to get to more young people. This model gave them the greatest reach. She said that William Davies, a member of the LoveLife delegation, was much younger then herself, while the other delegates were slightly older young men and women, but this was not the full management team.
The task of making young women use condoms had long been an issue and it was a high priority. They were trying to take away the negative sentiment towards female condoms. It was an opportunity, because it would allow women to be in charge of their sexuality. They were implementing social market programmes for female condoms with many partnerships, including the Department of Health and the United Nations.
In terms of ubuntu and cultural ideas, they used local people as groundbreakers for their programmes in communities. They were opening a new centre in the Eastern Cape and they would send an invitation to Mr Lee. It was funded by VW South Africa. They hoped that this would deal with family planning. Although LoveLife’s focus was on young people, they could not miss an opportunity of working with parents. Their call center had a dedicated line where parents could call. They got parents involved on their radio show.
The study had cost R3.6m. The 2003 study had been R20m, so this was comparatively inexpensive. The member of the board had not been involved in the study at all. She had been in Switzerland at the time. Some meeting had been cancelled because members could not attend, but the required number of meetings of the board had been met. None of the people on the board was paid.
Mr M Robotapi asked what the role of the Departments of Education, Social Welfare and Health were in respect of LoveLife. He also wanted to know what USAID’s relationship to the entity was.
Mr Raxmax Mashigo, Executive Director of Games at LoveLife, said the good work on the ground was not a LoveLife issue anymore, but a community issue. They had strong partnerships with different entities. . This included relationships with local football and rugby associations, and the schools. In 2011, they had met the Committee and it had been a turning point for LoveLine to stop doing their own games. There needed to be increased interaction between stakeholders.
The Chairperson said that the Secretary of the Committee should provide LoveLife with the contact numbers of the Members so that they could go to LoveLife events. They should be in touch with people like Mr MacKenzie (COPE) and Mr Lee. Mr Lee had been a principal, so he knew many people in the education field.
Ms Matlhape said they had been working to implement a school health programme. They needed to stop the perception that Lovelife was just about sex so that they could open up to more schools. They did not receive any USAID funding and did not really have a relationship with them.
The Chairperson said that they could continue with the presentation. Members had already read the presentation, so maybe the CEO could just stick to the pivotal points.
According to the study, 89% had said that LoveLife was a good thing for South Africa and 96% had said that all South Africans should participate in its programmes. In addition three-quarters of young people said that LoveLife needed to reinvent itself to remain relevant to South Africa’s youth.
Ms Matlhape said there needed to be a renewed focus on transactional sex and a need to reduce the rate of pregnancy. They also needed to work with South Africa’s youth and the communities in which they lived, to explain the link between their individual challenges and the wider structural forces impacting on their risk behaviour and their access to opportunities.
Strategic priorities for 2012-2014 were included: scaling up for population-level impact; deepening the targeting of most at risk populations; generating knowledge about young people and risk behaviour; and challenging the structural drivers of HIV head on.
LoveLife had received R59.5m cents from the Department of Health, R43.4m from Social Development, and R23m from Sport and Recreation.
Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) wanted to know what impact non-SA citizens with HIV had on the country. He was very concerned about the extraordinary level of remuneration in the annual report. Almost all of the grant income came from government, and he wanted to know if the remainder was being funded by the same private donors in 2012, or if the number of private donors had been increased.
Mr Lee was also concerned about the remuneration and the budget. Love Life received more money than all the sporting bodies put together. Where would they get money if it were not from the Department? Did they have an overdraft?
Ms Mjobo wanted to know if there was a success story that they could be told about.
Ms Matlhape said that the DOH funding had not been received, which had put a lot of pressure on LoveLife. She wanted to explain what was working, and where gaps existed. LoveLife was scaling up programmes without any additional funding. It used to cost them R600 per young person reached, but now it was less then R100 per person. They had continued to add partnerships that added value, even if it was not financial, and were very happy about their level of cost effectiveness.
She explained that the employees were LoveLife’s “product”, and that they were struggling to retain qualified staff because their salaries were not competitive, and they could not increase annual salaries as others could. Travel and accommodation was a huge part of their output because they operated all over the country. They had tried to cut down the amount of travel, but it had not really worked. It was almost all domestic travel, apart from perhaps one international conference per year.
LoveLife’s reach all over the country was a huge success story. They had increased the scale of LoveLife with less money. They had seen provinces like Mpumalanga and the North West make big strides, and she was also very proud of the cost saving. There had been great success with the texting programmes they had started because young people were much more comfortable using texting as a means to communicate and open up.
Mr Mashigo said that their outreach in terms of sport had drastically increased. The turnaround had let them reach many young people. They still had T-shirts, but they were no longer a “freebie” – one had to earn it by completing a programme.
CEO said that urban informal communities were where HIV was most prevalent. It was a big priority for LoveLife to scale up in those communities.
Mr Dikgacwi wanted to know what they were doing about the problems in the Eastern Cape.
Ms Matlhape said that they wanted to do more, even though money was decreasing. In 2005, they had started a private equity fund which would bring dividends to LoveLife and create a source of income.
The Chairperson it was important for people to come before Parliament and talk about their challenges. They should also tell them how laws that had been passed had affected the entity. He advised them to engage with Mr Lee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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