Creative Learners

Creative Learners
Learning Brief

The Shine Trust

The Shine Centre as a Social Franchise Model

Category: Creative Learners | Reading Promotion | 15 August, 2013 - 12:00


Since 2009, the Shine Centre has delivered a literacy model aimed at Grade Two second language children who are learning to read and write in English. This is a whole school intervention, where children identified as needing support are taken from the classroom during the school morning and are partnered with a trained volunteer for two hours a week. This additional support may last for up to two years and each child’s progress is tracked every six months.

The results in our five centres have been positive, with children making significant improvements in literacy and language development.

As awareness of the Shine programme and methodology grew, more and more individuals and organisations began to approach us to ask for assistance and/or to use our programme .This provided us with a challenge: to use this opportunity to help us achieve our vision of a nation of readers, while at the same time, protecting the integrity of the Shine ‘brand’.

We knew we had a proven methodology that worked, and were very aware of the scale of South Africa’s literacy problem. We wanted to share our learning and experience, so that others wouldn’t have to “reinvent the wheel”. We also knew that we didn’t want to build a huge organisation to service those needs. But at the same time, we didn’t want other individuals and organisations using our name, whilst implementing their own version of our methodology. And then there was also the dilemma of how much control we wanted / needed to exert?

In the paragraphs that follow we briefly describe the journey we embarked on and our eventual arrival at a Social Franchise model…

In response to the initial requests and enquiries around our programme, we developed and began facilitating workshops for interested parties.

The workshops covered the basics of how to set up and run a literacy centre using volunteers, and the concepts of Paired and Shared Reading. We saw this workshop as ‘Part One’ of a two part series. Those who were interested in moving further, who could prove to us that they were able to set up a centre, recruit volunteers and run the programme, would then be invited to ‘Part Two’. This workshop dealt with the key components for the success of the Shine programme, which included the specially designed Shine literacy games.

However, on completion of Part Two of our training, individuals and organisations indicated to us that they wanted and needed more i.e. closer affiliation with Shine, more training and support and to use our assessment tools and operations manuals. We were very excited by these developments as we had successfully established four new centres in 2009, but we also lacked the capacity and infrastructure at the time to expand further.

At this stage we began researching ‘Social Franchising’. We became acutely aware of the balance between control and flexibility. Initially we felt that we should adopt a more flexible approach as each centre needed to run independently, but we soon realized that volunteers in centres in other provinces assumed that they were part of a Shine Centre, even if the centre was called something else! We believe that this could have been a result of centre managers attracting volunteers through talking about Shine’s reputation and results. We also noted that there were too many ‘small’ changes being made to our programme. This was problematic as it could potentially have had an impact on the accuracy and consistency of assessment results.

It was then that we made the decision to create a more formal ‘social franchise-type’ arrangement with franchisees, which were now to be called Shine ‘Chapters’. This agreement included an eleven page contract and a condition that Shine is part of the monitoring and evaluation process of the programme twice a year.

We now have four independent centres who are ‘proud Shine Chapters’ and four independent centres who have chosen to be ‘inspired by Shine’ but wanting no legal connection to us.

We look forward to reporting back to you and noting which model best suits Shine and most importantly which model is best serving its beneficiaries, the children who need it most.

Unit 2 Devonshire Court, 20 Devonshire Road, Wynberg, Cape Town 

 (021) 797 3883

In Short

Social franchising could be an important strategy for programmes to expand their services. In this learning brief the Shine Centre briefly describes the journey they embarked on and their eventual arrival at a social franchise model for their programme. 

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