By Charndré Emma Kippie

Breaking The Cycle of Poverty in SA

When Scott Clarke founded Amandla, he was committed to finding a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem: how to break the cycle of poverty in Philippi, a township in which only 50% of children graduate high school, and only 2 in 10 go on to university. He, thus, adopted a community-driven approach to creating learning opportunities by supporting a cross-sector collective of effective leaders, and building their capacity to drive change in the community. 

Girls face even greater challenges: one in three women are HIV positive, and the fastest-growing segment of those infections come from younger women and teenagers. Feeling overwhelmed by these statistics, Scott felt a need to contribute positively towards reducing these numbers and actioning significant change. 

The name ‘Amandla’ is part of an African call-and-response meaning “The Power Is Ours.” At heart, that is the philosophy that Scott has embedded in the Amandla Development. He calls out to Philippi’s youth, to the local community, and to global supporters. Amandla Development reminds the public that the power to change the world for the better is in our own hands. We have to use it, now, and work together as a community in order to break the cycle of poverty.

Scott has a background in capacity building, fundraising, scaling operations, and feasibility studies. Prior to founding this project, he obtained a BA degree in Political Science at Yale University. He also attended New York University, obtaining qualifications in Public/Nonprofit Management and Public Policy Analysis. 


Amandla Development in Action

The Amandla Development works towards breaking generational cycles of poverty and transforming the lives of young people. Children in the Philippi Township, South Africa, face brutal levels of poverty. Housing is haphazard, opportunities are scarce, and statistics have proven that HIV infections claim the lives of one in three young women.

Amandla’s Community Solutions and Resource Access Programme are driven by data, uniting a wide selection of community resources, and includes a peer mentorship programme which is geared towards recruiting recent graduates to teach younger teens critical life skills. The development also provides mentors with professional training and experience in the field. 

Amandla Developments’ strength comes from understanding that, just as a pernicious web of interconnected challenges can completely change the trajectory of a young life, so, too, can interconnected forces work together to assist in keeping young people safe, in school, and ready for today’s job market.

The Amandla Development zooms in on 3 specific areas levels, working towards long-term change, namely Street Level, Community Level and Government Level. The development is funded through a variety of supporting organisations, such as the Networking HIV & AIDS Community of Southern Africa NPC (NACOSA), the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project and the Positive Action for Children’s Fund (PACF). 


Working Towards Breaking The Cycle

Safe Space: Providing an anchor in a chaotic world, offering classes in music and dance, quiet study space, physical and mental health care, and sex education.

Community Solutions: Coordinating the Philippi Collective Network – a consortium of over 50 organisations dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and tearing down barriers to learning.

Resource Access Programme (RAP): Gathering information on resources, making it possible for young people and their communities to discover what help is available and how to access it.

Shared Measures: One of the keys to making a successful impact has been Amandla’s focus on research and data. The organisation’s data collectors go into the community to discover real numbers and statistics which guide its actions.


Address: 62 Lillian Ngoyi Drive Samora Machel, 7785
Phone: +27 (0)61 547 1704



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