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Carnegie3 News rounded up some conference participants and asked them what the most important lesson was that they had learnt this week.

Dr Teboho Pitso, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Vaal University
“I have learnt that there is potential for the successful implementation of the National Development Plan, but potential is not an opportunity. Commitment of resources, time and energy could help us convert the potential to the opportunity.”

Associate Professor Annemarie Hattingh, Department of Science Education
“The heart is there. All the goodwill is there. Tons of knowledge on how to start doing what is right for the country has been said. Now we need hardworking men and women as well as learners to make the potential a reality.”

Liesel Bakker, Ikamva Youth
“I have learnt so much from other NGOs about how they keep things sustainable. Some of them are doing really interesting things in creating income generation.
But the best thing I will take away with me is the people I have met and what I have learnt about what else is happening out there. Often as an NGO, you work in isolation. It has been so interesting to learn that other people grapple with the same issues we do. “

Debbie Lees, Monash South Africa
“Together, our NGOs and the private sector are making a huge impact on society. There needs to be a physical space from which all the ideas and practices can be drawn – so that everyone can benefit.”

Cornel Hart, University of Western Cape
“The most powerful feature of this conference has been the incredible sharing of information and this demonstrates the power of networking. I hope that Phase Two of Towards Carnegie III can be about the implementation of policy.”

Natasha Gabriels, Agricultural Research Council, University of Western Cape
“For me, this conference was about a change in thinking, about looking at new ways of doing things. For instance, what I found really interesting, in the session on carbon reduction, was a whole discussion about carbon-saving and how poor communities can benefit from this. There’s a change-over from the traditional way of doing things, and looking at new ways of being kinder to the environment but also making sure that poor people can benefit.”

Josephilda Nhlapo-Hlope, National Planning Commission Secretariat
“Maybe I am stating the obvious, but what I have learnt is that there are so many innovative ideas that could be implemented in our country – and there is a pressing need for academic researchers and policy-makers to talk more closely with each other.”

Professor Viviene Taylor, NPC Commissioner and Professor of Social Development at UCT
“I have learnt that South Africans on the ground are getting on with it. They are struggling, competing for resources and making inroads into the problems. What we are not doing is profiling the work that is taking place on the ground, so there is a huge disconnect between national processes and very localised initiatives and that disconnect gives people perceptions that nothing is happening when indeed a lot is happening. It is important for us to look at how we can strengthen what is happening so that the benefits can be spread across to many different communities.

Francis Wilson, Conference Director
“The one thing I have learnt is that there is real power in this country to change the situation we’ve got. If we start working together and building networks and partnerships we’ll generate that real power.”
Judy Favish, Institutional Planning Department, UCT
“I have learnt the importance of working across silos, and trying to work out what needs to be done to facilitate that.”

Katharine Hall, Conference Co-ordinator
“Policy was made at this conference. The DDG of Social Development announced a kinship care grant that civil society has been working towards for years. This has been worked on in backrooms for years but has been confirmed here at Towards Carnegie III. It’s happening. ”

Mlungisi Cibini, University of Fort Hare
“I learnt a lot. We think we can do anything with land, but in fact you should look at the land and make sure that you produce out of the land that you’ve got, whether it’s small or big.”

Professor Crain Soudien, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town
“We have to find ways of bringing sites of knowledge – universities, the world of practice, and the authority of the state – together in much more deliberative ways. But we have begun here, and that’s a really important thing.”

Dr. Makgoshi P. Masipa, University of Venda
“We have to change the mindset of poor people in terms of receiving, and instead promote a hands-up approach. People have to understand that they have to work very hard in order to put a plate on the table.”

Lindiwe Tukane, Bulungula Incubator
“In our interventions, we need to go into the communities from their strength-base: not approach communities as weaklings, but through their strengths, so that we can enhance these, and then work together to improve their weaknesses”.

Dehran Swart, Senior Project Manager (Research Education and Safer Systems): Paraffin Safety Association South Africa
“I was motivated and discovered the strength to carry on doing what I’m doing and I found connections with many people and institutions working to overcome poverty.”

Madney Halim, Programme Manager, Community Based Development Programme.
“The overwhelming scale of the conference, bringing together all public sectors committed to doing one thing to achieve one goal, ensures confidence for success. This commitment enables space to do the work we need to do. Timbali had a brilliant presentation to share ideas for project management.”

Professor Kola Odeku, University of Limpopo School of Law
“This conference has brought about a renewed awakening from everyone and their will to solve the issue of poverty. If this commitment can be translated into implementation using political power, the problem will be solved”.

Professor Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor, University of Free State (on Twitter)
“Carnegie 3 here in the Cape might just be the strategy that helps SA turn the corner on poverty and inequality. ”