LoveLife briefed the Committee on its purpose and rationale. The presentation outlined the entity’s history, staff structure; various campaigns and programmes they were undertaking to prevent HIV and AIDs in young people. Problems leading to high risk, aims and objectives and statistics were given alongside a general overview of loveLife’s performance, but the Chairperson intervened as full financial information was not included.
Members agreed that loveLife needed to return at a later date with a comprehensive financial report dealing with measurable achievements and challenges. Other comments referred to loveLife’s lack of exposure within members’ provinces, stipends paid to groundBREAKERS, their relationship with other institutions, clarity on statistics and loveLife’s dependence on government funding.
Overview and Rationale Presentation by loveLife
Mr Peter Neshipale, Deputy Director-General: Integrated Development, Department of Social Development (DSD), explained that Lovelife was an HIV/Aids prevention programme aimed at young people. Its strateg was to encourage the youth to lead healthy lifestyles and the presentation would look at what has been achieved in this regard. LoveLife was looking for advice from members in terms of going forward.
Ms Grace Matlape, CEO, of loveLife, gave an overview of the organisation’s history. It was established in 1999 after a group of NGOs came to look at how to strengthen HIV prevention programmes targeting young people between 1997 and 1999. Half of all infections were in young people and the organisation was created to promote healthy HIV and AIDs free living among South African teenagers. The entity’s first evaluation was in 2003 where the media component of its work was shown as important in creating awareness. In 2004 its outreach focus was scaled up and in 2008 the ‘Make your Move’ campaign was launched. As a non-profit, the board of trustees was made up of dedicated South Africans from a variety of sectors. In terms of staff, loveLife recruited groundBREAKERS that were provided with a stipend for leading HIV prevention schemes within their communities. There were individuals in the goGogetter programme who supported orphaned and vulnerable children that received a stipend, along with various freelancing writers that provided media content. LoveLife created 2000+ work opportunities per month.
Through its partnership with the DSD, loveLife sustained a nationwide multi-media campaign alongside community level outreach, skills development and psychosocial support programmes. Its founding mission began as reducing the rate of new HIV infections among South Africa’s teenagers by 50% over 5 years. It did not succeed, but it evolved into striving towards an HIV-free generation of empowered young people in South Africa who were in charge of their health, lives and future. It was important to have an understanding of what drove risk. Individual, social and structural reasons included low self-esteem, an uncertain future, peer pressure, lack of parental communications, expectations of womanhood, male sense of entitlement, poverty, marginalization and inequality. These factors lead to risky sexual behaviour such as starting young and having multiple partners. This lead to a generally higher state of risk, with HIV and AIDs being one of them.
Strategic objectives included the promotion of psycho-social wellbeing to reduce vulnerability to HIV, AIDs and TB in key target populations, facilitating youth development and empowerment, preparing young people for socio-economic activity and equipping them with the skills to navigate transitional pressures and build sustainable livelihoods. The GroundBREAKERSprogramme produced dynamic young people with potential and had become an accredited qualification. They were popular with employers and there was an increase in job placements for exiting groundBREAKERS. LoveLife had programmes running in 9,900 schools and 967 sites across the country, with a face to face reach of 33.5% of South African teenagers. Intervention was aimed at those from 12 to 19 years old. Whilst HIV amongst young people was declining, young women and those in urban informal communities were at the greatest risk.
Performance of LoveLife
LoveLife sites were broken down into provinces. The Western Cape had the greatest number at 127 sites. These included NGOs, clinics and outlets driven by young people. In 2013, 1 423 festivals and events were held with 300 159 young people participating. This was a 54% increase from 2012. The summary of financial performance covered all of the funding and was not separated according to their sources, though the total amount received in funding by the DSD was R48 million and included in the annual report.
The Chairperson interjected that the report was not permissible because the Committee was not fully informed. The minutes would reflect they need to understand why funds were transferred to the institution presenting alongside a business plan. The Committee needed concrete indicators showing how funds were spent, how bad the situation was and key performance areas so it could measure the entity’s success. They Committee could only deal with the funding loveLife received from the DSD, not the Departments of Sport and Recreation or Health from which they also receive funding. The decline in HIV and AIDs in young people could not be attributed solely to loveLife’s interventions. The entity needed to be more specific about the areas targeted and the amounts spent. The Committee needed a comprehensive report on loveLife’s finances.
A member voiced her agreement with the comments made by the Chairperson.
Ms E Wilson (DA) commented that no member was able to report on loveLife’s activities within their provinces, highlighting the need for the full report. Could loveLife explain some of the information on their franchises? How were they funded? How was it classified? Members need to go through the report intensively because finances were their biggest concern. She was in full support of the Chairperson.
Ms S Kopane (DA) asked about the stipends paid to groundBREAKERs. How much was it exactly? There was a problem with standardisation across the country but loveLife did not address it. As for the farming community, how were they reached? The presentation suggested the same problem in accessing them but one of the resolutions of the Committee was that loveLife should be working with NGOs in the community. One of the frustrations with the National Development Agency (NDA) was their skills overlap, what was loveLife’s relationship with the NDA in capacitating NGOs? She agreed that members were primarily concerned with money. The Committee needed a strategic plan that refers to the challenges loveLife faced.
The Chairperson said loveLife needed to respond to strategic objectives set by the DSD.The Committee oversaw the DSD, which in turned monitored loveLife and trasnfered money to it. The Committee needed to ensure there was no overlap between loveLife and other institutions such as the NDA, SITA and educational establishments because resources were limited. Why was Lovelife partnering with other institutions? There was no indication on what funds have been received from which department.
Ms K De Kock (DA) wanted clarity on trends in HIV incidences. Did incidence mean the same as infection rate? Is that the same as prevalence rate? All of loveLife’s work was aimed at reducing prevalency rate amongst young people and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) had indicated that this had not happened. However, was this the only institution doing research on this matter? Was other research coming to the same conclusion? Millions had been spent but there was no concrete conclusion. Did loveLife intend to become less dependent on government funding in future?
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) agreed that it was difficult to analyse loveLife’s success with the lack of a financial report. The Committee needed to see the problems faced by loveLife but the document it had provided was more relevant to the Department of Health, making it difficult for members to interrogate what was happening. Members needed to see what funds were transferred from the DSD and exactly how they were utilised.
Ms B Abrahams (ANC) agreed with the Chairperson’s comments. The Committee needed to see the finances.
Mr S Mabilo (ANC) agreed with the Chairperson.
The Chairperson referred to loveLife’s programmes in schools. It was more relevant to the Department of Basic Education. It was the DSD funds and the Committee could not allow a situation where loveLife was using it to work in a school that was accountable to the principal because they had nothing to do with social development in terms of accounting or funding. When power was delegated for an institution to do something on behalf of a department the legal team remained responsible.
The Chairperson said she had personal experience of seeing one maternity ward where12 and 13 year olds came from deep rural areas and around 25 of them were not allowed to breastfeed. This would suggest they were HIV positive which did not link with what has been presented. The statistics did not necessarily talk to poor parenting, family disintegration or drug abuse. Once young people were under the influence of drugs or drink, they could not properly use a condom. In terms of research methodologies and drawing conclusions, loveLife must be very careful and very realistic – especially with HIV. It needed to be transparent in terms of whether it was winning or losing the fight against HIV and AIDs. The DSD was in hot water in so far as this particular funding was concerned.
Ms Wilson agreed with the Chairperson. LoveLife appeared to have lost its focus in that it had expanded to cover training and development, job recruitment and leadership programmes too. In terms of its global leadership exchange, which countries and organisations was it partnered with? Who is it accredited to?
The Chairperson said there would be no more questions. Referring to the DSD, she said that when it transfered so much money the Committee would expect a report and once it had been accounted for it would send another cheque. LoveLife’s objective was promoting healthcare and its prevention tactics focused on youth and stopping further infection. She was not happy with the presentation at all, but fortunately the Committee members had the political maturity to get it correct. She would personally speak to the Minister of Social Development and the Committee would decide what actions to take once it had a formal, authentic report on loveLife.
Adoption of Minutes
Ms Mogotsi moved for the adoption of the minutes for the 10 September 2014. Mr Mabilo seconded the movement.
Mr Mabilo moved for the adoption of the minutes for the 15 October 2014. Ms Kopane seconded the movement.
Mr Mabilo moved for the adoption of the minutes for the 17 October 2014. Ms De Kock seconded the movement.
Ms S Tsoteli (ANC) moved for the adoption of the minutes for the 22 October 2014. Mr Mabilo seconded the movement.
Ms Wilson moved for the adoption of the minutes for 29 October 2014. Ms Mogotsi seconded the movement.
The meeting was adjourned.