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Partners for Possibility (powered by Citizen Leader Lab)

Developing the leaders our nation needs

Partners for Possibility the flagship programme of Citizen Leader Lab, is committed to developing conscious, resilient school principals and business leaders through an extraordinary, action-based process that breaks down barriers, connects people and inspires change.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

Web presence






Target group
August 2023
“We invite every company concerned with the future skills set of school graduates to be part of this Citizen Leader Lab programme, which partners school principals and business executives to make schools better now."

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Comparative studies on school performance in South Africa and in countries facing similar challenges suggest that the quality of classroom teaching and the leadership of the principal are the two in-school factors with the strongest influence on education outcomes.

South Africa's National Development Plan (NDP, 2012) explicitly identifies strengthening school leadership, as a priority in SA.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Through our flagship programme, Partners for Possibility (PfP) launched in 2011, we provide leadership development and support to school principals who lead schools that serve historically under-resourced communities.

Our goal is to support school principals to become successful change agents who can transform their schools into effective environments of teaching and learning. We approach the school as the unit of change and do so in collaboration with private sector business leaders who team up with school principals to support capacity building and the desired change pathway in targeted schools.

Our Theory of Change positions school principals as change agents in their institutions and their broader communities. When they are paired in a mutually supportive learning partnership with business executives and provided with relevant leadership skills training, access to communities of practice and facilitated action learning, they both acquire new ways of seeing, being and doing.

How has it been spreading?

Citizen Leader Lab, a not-for-profit company, was established in 2008 (as Symphonia for South Africa), with a vision for Leadership that builds a better future for ALL.

Our purpose is to develop conscious leadership that builds social cohesion, uplifts communities, and works towards achieving a just society. Our mission is to develop leaders who can catalyse positive change in their institutions, communities, and broader society; facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration to strengthen connections and partnerships across boundaries; create opportunities for active citizenship and engage with key public sectors, with education being a critical focus area.  More than a million people have been impacted through 1,881 partnerships in under-resources schools and has won multiple impact awards.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Please feel free to email pfp@citizenleaderlab.org

Komala Pillay, Chief Executive Officer
Melanie Burke, Chairperson of Board of Directors
Jansie Rautenbach, Chief Operations Officer

Website: www.citizenleaderlab.org

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews
This innovation creatively offers a platform for under-resourced principals to form partnership with business leaders, which will effectively lead to the improvement of principals' leadership.
Partners for Possibility could be scalable not only within under-resourced communities, but it also provides inspiration at a broader level. School leaders are in fact one of the leading factors of change in education.
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Spread of the innovation

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