A significant period in the life of BRIDGE is ending as our CEO Vuyiswa Ncontsa moves into a new phase in her professional life. Vuyiswa has been the Chief Executive Officer at BRIDGE since September 2016. She has steered BRIDGE safely through the good times – such as BRIDGE’s 10th year anniversary in 2019 – and through the harder times, in particular the turbulent waters of 2020 and the navigation of all the ongoing challenges faced by NGOs as a result of the pandemic.
From the beginning, BRIDGE has been a learning organisation, not only for its community of practice members and other stakeholders, but also for its staff members. Vuyiswa actively continued this tradition, by finding funded opportunities to upskill staff members in various areas and by her leadership style. Her approach to management and leadership gave all staff an opportunity to stretch themselves, while at the same time an openness to engagement ensured guidance was given when needed. One of her greatest skills was listening to and integrating all input into the work of BRIDGE at both the strategic and operational levels. Vuyiswa managed to successfully combine BRIDGE’s role as a catalyst for cooperation for greater impact in education with on-the-ground insights into the factors at play at school and practitioner level. This understanding has helped strengthen many of our programme-level relationships with a number of partners.
Vuyiswa will be taking up her new position at the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA) on 1 July, where she will be Regional Director for Southern Africa. In the short term, senior programme managers Thandeka Rantsi (ECD) and Patience Voller (School Leadership) will be at the helm. BRIDGE wishes Vuyiswa every success in her new journey.
“I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for the opportunities I have been given at BRIDGE. It has been an honour to serve the many stakeholders in education, with the support of the BRIDGE Team, the board and all our funders. I have had first-hand experience of how former BRIDGE staff have continued to support the work of the organisation, evidenced by the relationships maintained by my predecessors and every staff member who has left the organisation. As I exit at the end of June, I look forward to being part of this active alumni that has been instrumental in contributing to the strengthening of the capacity of education NGOs.” – Vuyiswa Ncontsa, June 2022
“Vuyiswa, you led from the front and were not afraid to dip into the trenches from time to time. You always took part in the initial stages of any project, making at least one site visit and inspiring confidence in the stakeholders, funders and us as the team. That was you walking the talk. A quote from Rosalynn Carter, activist and American First Lady, seems apt here: “ A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but where they ought to be.” – Patience Voller, on behalf of the BRIDGE Staff