Marsh is committed to finding the appropriate role for corporate social investment interventions in responding to the cycle of failing education in South Africa, without taking on the role of government, and finding mechanisms for partnering with government, to achieve shared objectives for education and post-school transitions for young people in South Africa.


New Partners and Opportunities – partners from the network.


As do many such programmes, Boost a School began with a needs analysis; each school was surveyed to tell us what would be most useful. This offered insights into the schools’ perspective on what might be useful to them, and their expectations of corporate intervention. But it didn’t provide clarity in terms of a sustainable strategy for Marsh. Invariably, schools see their needs in terms of material things; chairs, computers, paint, infrastructure, repair, maintenance, equipment. Marsh visited the schools and realised that these needs were symptomatic of deeper and more complex problems. The schools were caught in a cycle of failing education, impacted by issues often outside of their control.

Boost a School harnessed Systemic strategy and Implementation planning to take the strategy from paper to practice. This was consulted at each site and confirmed by participants in an aspirational rather than a deficit approach to school transformation. This prompted the schools to articulate their visions in terms of people and educational outcomes rather than just in terms of infrastructure and material resources. It helped Marsh to begin to understand the contexts, personalities and characteristics of each school, built relationships and provided an entry point for the establishment of local committees to share the task of managing the programme.

Marsh used New partners and opportunities to seek and contract service providers who would customise appropriate interventions to address the needs of each school. Interventions have to date focused on parents, teachers and learners in different ways, but with the golden thread of enabling their improved contribution to a well-functioning school.

In all the schools, formal programmes are supplemented with acts of generosity and kindness that happen because of the exposure that comes with the partnerships.


Boost a School has seen a shift in attribution of value over time as a result of deep and careful relationship building. This is an ongoing learning process, in all the schools, as Boost-a-School grows in stature.

© Fixed 2017 brings a methodology which allows entities embarking on sustainable development to solve the problems of sustainable development by embracing the complex context of their work, generating strategies which respond to that complexity and maintaining principled, systemic, learning approaches to challenges to implementation, as they arise.