HEARTLINES pilots UK based Youth Leadership Academy for community transformation

Israel Makoe

HEARTLINES is piloting an innovative Leadership Academy that’s been successfully used for 20 years in the UK to grow leaders and transform schools and surrounding communities.

The Leadership Academy’s programme, which has been adapted for South Africa, brings participants together for an intensive values-based leadership development experience over 6 days and nights.

HEARTLINES Leadership Academy been piloted with two disadvantaged South African schools – one rural, the other urban – and with a group of mentors and mentees who are part of HEARTLINES Youth Mentorship Initiative (which gives support to people wanting to mentor a young person already in their lives, instead of matching them up with a youngster that they don’t know).

HEARTLINES’ Stacey Dlamini says, “The model for HEARTLINES Leadership Academy is based on an inside/ out approach, in that each person has greatness within them, which needs to be elicited. By drawing this greatness out participants come away with the confidence to be leaders, and the personal commitment to living out good values, thus bringing about positive change in their own lives, their school and community.”

Each of the HEARTLINES Leadership Academy’s 6 days focuses on one of 6 values – Awareness, Focus, Creativity, Integrity, Perseverance and Service. Training is undertaken by experienced South African facilitators who have adapted the UK’s Leadership Academy’s programme to South African culture, history and geography.

The HEARTLINES Leadership Academy programme being piloted in South Africa is modelled after the UK’s Columba-1400 programme. This programme, which is one of the most evaluated in the UK, has a proven track record. A recent evaluation of the UK programme found that:

  • 97% of students described how their experience had given them tools that they were now using to overcome challenges and difficulties in their lives.
  • 91% reported that the experience had had a positive impact on their attitudes to school and school work.
  • 87% of students made changes in their attitudes and behaviours that were needed to help them to achieve more of their potential.
  • 79% reported that things have improved for them in their lives outside of school since their experience.

The home of the Columba-1400 programme is the Isle of Skye, as an important part of the programme is around the “pedagogy of place”, or the importance of learning from the context in which one is in. The South African pilot events were held at Rourke’s Drift Lodge, in Kwa-Zulu Natal’s battlefields, which provided rich material for learning.

HEARTLINES will now be conducting extensive evaluation of the impact the Academy has had on the lives of participants, and the knock on effect this has in their school and community.

Says Ms Dlamini, “We believe that the leadership training experience offered by HEARTLINES Leadership Academy will be much longer than a week. By showing that the impact is ongoing, as the positive effects ripple outwards, we hope to secure enough funding to establish a permanent HEARTLINES Leadership Academy.”


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