Norkitt Education Leadership Initiative (NELI)

The Norkitt Education Leadership Initiative (NELI) works to promote democratic participation in public education, as well as reduce inequality by working with School Governing Body (SGBs) to build their capacity to better run their school, attract community support, and have the confidence, skills and networks needed to create accountability.
2014South Africa

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

Location Data

Western CapeCape TownPeri-Urban, Urban

Through NELI's School Support Programme, SGB members are engaged to build capacity and balance power dynamics for improved school governance. The NELI model of school support is designed as a two-year partnership during which the program provides hands-on capacity building support to a small cohort of SGBs; as well as support to an extended network of SGBs through the SGB Collective forum.

In addition, NELI works to foster a broad-based understanding of SGB roles, responsibilities and potential to improve equality in the South African education system through their Research, Advocacy and Networking Program.

A NELI school partnership is phased as follows:

The NELI team drives phase 1. It begins with the collaborative SGB assessment process using the SGB Assessment Tool. The assessment will identify priority areas for improvement and, together with the school, we will draw up an action plan for NELI support activities for the primary phase of support.

The partner school drives phase 2. These 12-months afford the school an opportunity to maintain their change momentum, for themselves, through adhoc SGB training and support requests.

Activities may include the following interventions, determined by each school’s needs:

  • SGB functionality workshops;
  • Vision and Mission review support;
  • Strategic Planning facilitation and assistance;
  • School Stakeholder Engagement workshops;
  • Assistance with a review of School Policies;
  • Budget assistance;
  • Fundraising training and support;
  • Sub-committee support; and
  • SGB Election preparation assistance.

Once the schools complete this 2-phase partnership they transition to a NELI Network school. The relationship with NELI continues through the SGB Collective, which brings together the SGBs of public schools in a particular neighbourhood to learn from one another, share their successes and frustrations, leverage collective resources, escalate their problems, and access additional training from NGOs.

Our case study demonstrated the ability of this structure to shift the balance of power in member schools by emboldening the members to hold other actors in the system (SMT and Provincial Education Departments) accountable as they are now less isolated. 

NELI’s innovation is to build good governance in basic education so that these other interventions can take hold, using a systems-based approach to the problem that is rooted in law, policy, politics and principles of good governance.Achieving scale while maintaining impact.

Who we work with: