Posted by Ashleigh Marais | November 30, 2017
There are many steps and hurdles the FoodForward SA team faces when dealing with beneficiary organisations. Find out how they vet and ensure compliance of their beneficiary organisations.
The process of assessing beneficiary organisations (BOs) is an ongoing challenge for FoodForward SA. However, a stringent vetting process is necessary to ensure that food is being distributed fairly and that BOs are being run as their operators say they are.
Llewellyn Visser is one of Food Forward SA’s BO co-ordinators who is tasked with visiting homes and shelters. He shares his day-to-day experiences and how he ensures the quality of the BO:
- What planning and admin goes into each BO visit?
On average, I visit six BOs every day, so I usually plan my visits around a certain area. I plan my route to ensure that I spend enough time at the BO, to get a good feel of what they do and how they have grown. The BOs are sometimes very difficult to find, especially when they are deep in the townships.
- What are the advances FoodForward SA have made in its vetting process?
When I started at FoodForward SA, everything was paper-based. We completed all visits and assessments on paper, then we had to reload it over onto our share drive. Now, we’ve launched the FoodForward SA platform to help manage our beneficiaries and donors.
We now have all of our assessments, automated visit schedules, BO database and all records on our online platform. Once I schedule the visit, I log onto the platform and assign the BO’s form to my tablet and complete my visit directly on the BO’s profile via the platform.
The beautiful thing about the platform is, any visit we now do and complete using the platform (assigning it to our tablet), overrides all previous information keeping everything up-to-date.
- What are the common challenges faced by BOs that you visit?
Their infrastructure is not aligned to their vision due to lack of finance. They also need help changing their approach to donor seeking from a reactive approach to a more proactive strategy, where there is greater self-reliance.
- What do you look for on the tour of your BO’s premises?
What I mainly look for is evidence of feeding, such as pots and bowls – but not your normal household pots and cutlery – and that there is a safe storage area for our food donations, along with a kitchen area. I also talk to the beneficiaries about the impact that the regular meals has on their lives.
- Are BO officials accommodating to questions you have?
Generally, they are all accommodating, as they are excited and anxious when we visit. Most of them are proud and want to show off their progress since the last visit.
- Do you ever get a second opinion on a BO?
Word spreads very quickly once I do my first visit. They’re all aware that I’m here for an entire week doing visits and if my gut tells me something is off then I opt to get a second opinion from anybody in the immediate surrounding area. I ask them if they’ve heard of the BO and if they do indeed feed their beneficiaries as often as they claim.
- How are you impacted when you visit a BO?
It’s a truly humbling experience; I count my blessing when dealing with our BOs. I have seen the struggle they go through on a daily basis and witnessed the suffering of people. I now have a hand in helping thousands of people receive a meal daily. Giving back to the community and watching as hundreds of thousands of mouths are fed with the help of the organisation I work for, definitely puts a huge smile on my face.