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  • DUT Alumni

DUT AND FEENIX AIM TO FORGE A STRONGER PARTNERSHIP TO IMPROVE THE LIVES AND LIVELIHOODS OF THE DUT C


The Advancement and Alumni Relations Office at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) hosted a workshop with one of its sterling partners, Feenix, at the ML Sultan campus on Monday, 4 September 2023.


The Advancement and Alumni Relations Office has adopted the University’s ENVISION2030 objective of establishing beneficial partnerships to improve the lives and livelihoods of the DUT community and society. One of the Advancement and Alumni Relations Offices’ exciting partnerships is with Feenix, a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) that was established in response to the #FeesMustFall movement that spread across campuses in South Africa in 2015 and 2016.  This movement highlighted the extremely excessive cost of tertiary education and the impact financial stress has on student success rates. Feenix’s primary objective is to assist students in ensuring that they graduate debt free through a secure crowdfunding platform and their Skills Development Bursary programme with businesses.


Welcoming the Feenix and DUT guests was the Director of the Advancement and Alumni Relations, Mr Zwakele Ngubane. “Feenix is powered by Standard Bank, and Feenix have been our partners for several years now and we have been working very closely with Feenix. Through our partnership, we have assisted many DUT students financially, particularly with current tuition fees and historical debt. They (Feenix) are here to share some of the opportunities, some of the ways we can engage better with Feenix so that we can maximise on how we can assist our students better when it comes to tuition fees and other student related matters,” he said.


He welcomed DUT’s Finance colleagues who are at the forefront in dealing with the processing of documents for students for submission to Feenix. Mr Ngubane then handed the podium to Feenix’s Tammy Green, who is the Student Advancement Manager at Feenix.org.


She gave an overview of Feenix’s partnership and the impact with DUT, and the potential partnership agreement. She explained that Feenix is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.3: to ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational, and tertiary education, including universities.


Ms Green explained that Feenix supports the ‘missing middle,’ the postgraduate candidates and those with historical debt to create a safety net for students who cannot access government or other traditional funding. “We provide support to students across the 26 public universities. There are over 10 000 students on the Feenix platform to date, and over 3500 students fundraising on the Feenix platform in 2022,” she said.


Additionally, the diversifying opportunities for students such as crowdfunding where students fundraise for their outstanding university fees by sharing their story on Feenix’s crowdfunding website, she spoke on skills development and bursary management as well as the wrap around support that is available for students to receive access to holistic development support so they can thrive in university and the working world.


“Over and above assisting students to meet their financial needs, we (Feenix) offer students guidance and peer to peer mentorship through our annual student ambassador programme. Feenix students can upskill themselves on how to fundraise for their fees and develop their professional and personal brand. They also have access to a world-class financial literacy platform via Blackbullion South Africa,” she stressed.


She added that the impact in terms of total funding raised from 2017 to date was R170,125 million; and 3810 students were impacted across all 26 public South African universities. “This is all thanks to the courage of our students, generosity of our donors and commitment of our university partners,” she said.


She further relayed that Feenix are committed and immensely excited to introduce initiatives to the DUT community as part of their commitment to fostering student advancement and engagement.


“Feenix is positioned well to grow the third-stream source of income through student fees while offering a very real, personal experience to a donor who prefers a visible connection to every rand and cent spent. There exists enormous potential in appealing to a previously dormant market (e.g., alumni’s, SMME’s, everyday individuals) and even greater potential when doing that in partnership with universities. Feenix is dedicated to support relationships and offer practical guidance to universities in the following critical value creating areas of student recruitment, fundraising, and advancement, financial administration, and Holistic student support. These are crucial areas of investment in ensuring your students can effectively use Feenix to settle study fees with your institution,” she stressed.


In terms of how Feenix can strengthen its partnership with stakeholders like DUT, Green commented that this can be achieved through gaining trust and establishing partnerships with stakeholders. “Furthermore, sharing relevant information about Feenix on student platforms; and encouraging university stakeholders-sponsors, alumni, associations to fund students on the Feenix platform,” she said. After the exciting presentation, there was a robust networking session, concluding with a vote of thanks by Mr Ngubane.


Pictured: Attendees at the workshop.

Waheeda Peters

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