Grant Edmond

Grant Edmond

Cape Town, South Africa

Passionate about education and community development. I believe in using education as a tool to achieve meaningful and sustainable development outcomes.

As a South African citizen, I have grown up mindful of the social and cultural inequalities experienced across much of the developing world. I am passionate about implementing innovative solutions for community upliftment in a locally relevant and sustainable way, and believe it is essential to provide the youth of a developing country such as my own, with the educational tools necessary to create and maintain a socially just and sustainable future.

My varied experience and education, has helped guide my passion and commitment towards social upliftment, education and developmental change in South Africa. With a dream to use my business acumen to bring meaningful transformation to Cape Town’s low-income settlement of Langa, I co-founded Just Grace in 2012 - a non-profit company aimed at effecting tangible change through engaging active citizenship.

With an overarching goal to increase social inclusion and global citizenship across the community, Just Grace uses a holistic education approach (such as the flipped classroom and metacognition techniques) to bring dynamism and active participation into our learning environments.

In my current role as the organisation’s Executive Director, I am actively involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of all programmes offered by Just Grace. Just Grace continues to impact the lives of thousands of local community members in the categories of youth development, community development, family strengthening and psychosocial support to achieve a zero-dropout rate across Langa’s high schools. In all of Just Grace’s work, we strive to incorporate innovative solutions to education that would often only be available to wealthy learners at private schools.

As I work towards accelerating social empowerment and education in the Langa community, I am constantly reminded of the importance of developing a deep understanding of social, historical and cultural contexts when working within a particular community. At Just Grace, we provide our beneficiaries with the resources and know-how to create their own innovative solutions and paths towards success, empowering community members to live out their full potential in all aspects of life.

Our mission at Just Grace is to foster geographically focused change in a small community, by providing school-aged youth with the skills and tools they need to become successful candidates for employment. Against this backdrop, children are better prepared for the future and are more active and engaged global citizens.

In a region that is burdened with political and economic inequality, mental illness and substance abuse, it is important to implement educational innovation that focuses on an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, as opposed to following a generic educational model. By using a long-term, community-based approach to mitigate mental and physical illnesses common to the Langa community, Just Grace has been able to successfully mentor thousands of beneficiaries through the implementation of innovative educational initiatives.

Throughout my non-profit work, I have received awards such as the South African Shining Star Award for my Contribution to Education and, the Survé Philanthropies Award for my Contribution towards Social Justice in Education.

Combining my philanthropic passion with my accounting education, I founded Colourful Accounting in 2018 - a leading Cape Town social enterprise aimed at improving employment opportunities for aspiring accountants from underprivileged backgrounds. On top of this, I consult for a variety of tertiary institutions where I advocate for a more inclusive and accessible approach to education that encompasses learners from less-privileged backgrounds.

I strongly believe that the success of a country’s economic and social future is determined by the quality of education offered to its youth. I am excited to collaborate and pool research and resources across the NGO, public, and private sectors to form a unified voice for education. I am thrilled to be representing South Africa as a HundrED ambassador for innovative education, where I hope to share South Africa’s innovations and resources with the rest of the world while learning and collaborating with other ambitious educational partners.

Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?

I am excited to collaborate and pool research and resources across the local and international NGO, public, and private sectors to form a unified voice for education. I believe in supporting and implementing educational innovations to move towards a more just and sustainable future.

How can education support students to flourish?

Holistic education equips students with the required skills to become active citizens for change in their communities. It can foster global citizenship and the use of creative thinking to engage with the world in a way that allows for all members to flourish.

What role does innovation play in education change?

Traditional education methods have been slow to change and there are many exciting education innovations that provide well-researched evidence of achieving outcomes more effectively and efficiently than before. In addition, education methods should be responsive to the changes that take place in the world to prepare students for a future that may look different to the past.

Three HundrED innovations you love. (and Why?)

Speed school - allows students a fair chance to flourish despite past (and present) hardships that they may have faced Agora - radically shifts the way we think about and implement schooling HEI schools - a great example of how an education innovation can be designed with large scale impact in mind