Kwantu is a Cape Town based social enterprise. Our name comes from a Xhosa word meaning 'Place of gathering'.
We started Kwantu in 2009 to look at ways of making development programmes work better. At the time we saw clearly that development programmes needed to improve in many ways. We saw major challenges in the following areas:
- Data quality (For example missing, late, in-accurate or in-consistent data)
- Using data for learning and management (Data was often collected for donors, not to use to improve the programme)
- Monitoring and evaluation in a silo (Staff responsible for monitoring progress were often separate from staff implementing or managing the programme and their work not widely understood)
- Efficiency and effectiveness (Programme processes were often poorly documented and rarely reviewed to look for ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness)
- Transparency and accountability (Data collected and generated by programmes was rarely published in a way that was accessible to citizens, partners and other stakeholders)
- Citizen engagement and feedback (Citizens affected by the programme were rarely engaged in meaningful ways or provided with mechanisms to give feedback)
To help address these and related problems we have focused on two areas:
Configurable software platform
We strongly believe that technology has a key role to play in improving how development programmes work. However, one critical barrier is the cost. Software is expensive to implement and support. This can make it in-accessible to NGOs and governments that are running development programmes. Over the last six years we've invested in developing BetterData, a fully configurable software platform. This makes it possible to implement a bespoke system to manage a development programme without any software developers. This reduces the cost by an order of magnitude, making this kind of tool far more accessible.
We've adapted tools and methodologies developed for business process mapping to apply to development programmes. Process mapping offers a more holistic way to analyse and document development programmes. Private sector organisations have documented ... When applying this methodology to document development programmes we have seen missing data rates drop to less than 1% and in-consistent data issues cease to be a problem.
We combine our expertise in these two areas to help NGOs and Governments to document their programmes clearly and use software to improve how they manage key processes in their programmes and operations. This approach makes it easier to collect, analyse and present data for management, learning and evaluation.
We work in partnership with you on funding proposals or as part of a consultancy to implement systems that improve the effectiveness of your work. Our work is guided by the following values:
Social development specialists
We work exclusively with NGOs, Governments, Donors and others involved in delivering social projects. This focus brings us expertise and experience that save you time and money and enable us to bring real benefits to your work.
Long-term partnerships for social change
Social change takes time. We build capacity to use information communication technology through long-term partnerships. We believe this will translate into greater impact in our partner’s work.
We recognise that technology can intimidate. We listen patiently and communicate clearly, avoiding the use of technical jargon. We commit to respond promptly and professionally at all times.
Process leads technology
We focus first on understanding and documenting the key processes in your work. These help us understand if and how technology can be layered on top to increase impact.
We collaborate openly with partners to develop innovative responses to big challenges. We translate this innovation into easy to use products that help our partners solve pressing problems in their work.
Building world-class software in developing countries
All our software is designed, developed, tested and hosted in developing countries. This keeps us rooted in the context where our partners work and supports our commitment to social development. Kwantu is also certified as a level three contributor to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa
Committed to quality
We work hard to impress our partners with our service, expertise and outstanding value for money. We invest continuously in improving the quality of the work we do and the service that we provide. We also hold insurance for Professional Indemnity for Information Technology and Public and Products Liability.