Solving the Worlds Problems

July/Aug 2021

Over a 5 week period, Belle and Co. facilitated a hybrid design thinking workshop with two cohorts of Life Choices Coding Academy students in Cape Town. Problems being tackled included among others: Environmental Pollution, Youth Unemployment, Lack of Ubuntu, Crime, Gangsterism, Developing SMMEs, and Service Delivery.


Each group broke down their problem using a problem tree, and gained a deeper understanding of the key issues but speaking to experts, the public at large and others.


After understanding the problem a little better, each group had to come up with a key insight that got turned into their key question they were looking to solve. After which each group was encouraged through various brainstorming techniques and inspiration, to come up with 50 new ideas.


On the last day, groups were given a few hours to come up with their key idea and to create a prototype for presentation to the rest of the class including invited guests from outside.


Prototypes ranged from Interactive Art Exhibition to immerse yourself in the lives of others; A rehabilitation and education centred called Aqua Cure for marine animals; An eco-fashion line using everyday waste; An Entrepreneurship school for ex-offenders; A mobile app for predicting public transport issues; A mobile app to connect unemployed youth to job opportunities and internships (locally and abroad); A community clean up co-operative; educational campaign on civic rights; a centre for GBV; and a financial literacy game modelled on Monopoly.

Creators Hubs Sudan 2021

5 June 2021

The second online “Running Creative Hubs Programme” 2021, was launched earlier this month (5 June 2021) as part of the New Spaces capacity development offered to 4 Creators Hubs in Sudan (Music Hub, ArtTech Hubs, Womens Hub) supported by the Goethe Institut. See intro video below on the New Spaces Programme:

Goethe New Spaces Project Co-ordinator

Programme facilitators:

  • Belle and co Associate, Mutsa Samuel, based in Zimbabwe, is the Founder of UbuntuLab, Africa’s first and only personal Growth Hub that deals with the holistic development of emerging market entrepreneurs, influencers and institutions.
  • Belle and co Director, Belisa Rodrigues, based in South Africa, is the founder of a mission-based social enterprise called Belle and Company Pty Ltd offering training, research and consulting services to creative and social enterprises across Africa.

June Programme outline (Timezone GMT+2):

SESSION 1 Discovering Your Hub Personality

Saturday, 5th June 2021 10 am -12 pm

SESSION 2 How Hubs Change Hearts and Minds

Saturday, 12th June 2021 10 am -12 pm

SESSION 3 Sustaining yourself, your hub and your community

Saturday, 19th June 2021 10 am -12 pm

SESSION 4 Futures thinking: Resilience, Risk and Reaching out

Saturday, 26th June 2021 11 am – 13 pm

SESSION 5 Your Culture of Celebration

Saturday, 3 July 2021 10 am -12 pm

July, August, Sept, October Programme:

Monthly Webinars with guest speakers, Individual and Hub Coaching Clinics.

November Programme

5-day, in-person Creative Sustainability Bootcamp in Khartoum.

Meet some of the Creators Hub participants here:

Music Hub, Sudan
Art Tech Hub, North Darfur, Sudan
Screen shot from Session 2 “How Hubs Change Hearts and Minds”, 12 June 2021

Social Enterprise in Schools

10 May 2021 – 17 May 2021

Belle and co. was offered an amazing opportunity through the Social Enterprise Academy South Africa, to work in their Social Enterprise in Schools Programme supported by the British Council. This is the first time a programme of this nature has been run in South Africa, which has had a longer track record in other countries such as Scotland, Australia and Malawi among others.

As a Social Enterprise Academy facilitator, our job was to facilitate a Continuous Professional Development session with 2 champion teachers and 1 principal from each of the 10 participating schools, as well as to run the first pupil’s workshop to get them excited for their 6 month enterprising journey.

The programme aims to introduce learners from grade 4-7, to the exciting world of social enterprise, encouraging them to come up with ideas that will simultaneously generate an income and help their community.

The programme runs from May 2021 – December 2021, ending with a Dragons Den competition among the top participating schools as well as a closing award ceremony.

Watch this space!

Digital Delivery Refresher SEA Zambia/BongoHive

30th April 2021 | Online Session

Belle and Co. was approached as a senior Social Enterprise Academy (SEA) facilitator in South Africa, to design and deliver an online Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Programme for SEA Zambia facilitators and staff. This session was customised to respond to the current needs of SEA Zambia who wanted the latest digital delivery techniques, and refresher of the SEA pedagogy as it relates to online learning.

Below is a screenshot of one of the session activities, crowd-sourcing activities that suit differing learning styles of potential learners online.

Cover Image: The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry @BongoHive Zambia’s First Technology and Innovation Hub/ 27 Nov 2018/ Credit: Tim Rook / REX / Shutterstock

Commonwealth Scholarship Alumni

23 & 27 February 2021

Belle and co. was asked to facilitate two workshops for alumni of the Commonwealth Scholarship Programme on the 23 February and 27th February 2021. Thobeka Poswa and Belisa Rodrigues designed and co-facilitated workshop processes to connect alumni with one another, ascertain what alumni are looking for in a post-scholarship engagement experience, and for alumni to commit to one action that will pay it forward in their community and in their area of expertise.

Launch of DICE Digital Fund – meet your “match-makers”

1 December 2020

The launch of the DICE Digital R&D fund was announced today! And this week a series of “drop in clinics”, as well as “match-making sessions” will be held online to help organisations find a suitable partner/project to apply to this fund.

Belle and Co. has been asked to assist in the match-making process! Match-making sessions will take place on the 3rd, 4th & 8th December 2020.

The fund offers 20 grants to support the development and delivery of 20 co-designed ‘digital experiences’. Organisations registered in the following countries are eligible to apply and submit a joint proposal from two (2) different DICE countries. These countries are : Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa and the UK.

More information on the website here:

Joint applications are due by: 15 December 2020.

Web Extract:

We are delighted to announce the launch of the DICE Digital R&D Fund on 1 December 2020.

This Fund will offer 20 grants to support the development and delivery of 20 co-designed ‘digital experiences’ that contribute to the DICE programme’s mission and ethos.

The Fund will also support the creation of a community of practice across the 20 partnerships to share learning from the digital experiences.

The value of each of these grants will range between £7,000 – £15,000.

The 20 grants will be awarded to 20 pairs of organisations, known hereafter as ‘DICE Digital Partners’, which will co-design and co-deliver a digital experience. 

About the digital experiences 

The digital experiences should: 

  • be delivered between February and May 2021
  • be designed by, with and/or for groups that are often disadvantaged in the economy, including but not limited to youth, women or people with disabilities
  • be tailored and produced for specific groups, such as creative social entrepreneurs, artists and policy makers
  • enable the DICE Digital Partners to enhance and improve their own digital confidence, capabilities and infrastructure
  • create genuine connection and camaraderie between the participants.

Please find a full list of requirements for the digital experiences in the Guidance Notes for Applicants, attached below. See also Info and support for applicants section below (click on the title to see the text).  

Who can apply?

Organisations that wish to apply must be based in a DICE country (Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa and the UK) and must submit their application together with a partner organisation in another DICE country. (See ‘Info and support for applicants’ below for support in finding a partner).

We cannot accept applications from organisations applying without a partner organisation or from applicants that are not legally registered in a DICE country.

How Might We…?

25 November 2020

How might we tackle youth unemployment, or create safe public transport for women who are experiencing Gender Based Violence, or How might we lead young people away from Gansterism and Drugs? These were some of the tough or “wicked” problems Cape Town students were trying to solve in their design thinking teams over the last 3 weeks at Life Choices Coding Academy under the facilitated guidance of Belle and Company.


Learners had to dive deep into their problem statement, interviewing the public about their experience of the topic and deepening their understanding of the root causes using a Problem Tree.


Returning with new found insights, and converging on one part of the problem, groups had to ideate 50 ideas using techniques learnt in the session. Post-it notes abounded, and groups defending their ideas until only 1 solution was chosen per group.


After a week of thinking and refining their solution, the day came to manifest their idea in a prototype – actually making a product or service! Many prototyping techniques were explored from wire frames, paper prototypes, story boarding, adverts to news of the future!


5 Groups presented their ideas to a live audience consisting of their peers and Lifechoices staff members. Audience members commented on the groups innovations and encouraged groups to actually implement these ideas out in the real world. Recapping the last few weeks, learners were surprised how creative they could be, and also commented on the intensity of the process that required them to do a lot of critical thinking before getting hands on and creating something out of nothing. Ultimately the key lesson learnt was around innovation, creativity, mindset change and team work.

Some images from Prototyping Presentations:

Upscale Sudan (Social Enterprise Incubation)

Belisa Rodrigues (as an Associate Tutor for the Social Enterprise Academy), has been co-designing and facilitating the Upscale Sudan incubation programme over the last 6 months, where 80 Sudanese social enterprises have an opportunity to undertake monthly modules building out their business knowledge and practice.

The modules we have delivered online include, among others: Module 3: Self-leadership; Module 4: SME Strategy; Module 5: Customer & Product Development; Module 6: Building & Developing Teams.

Here are some sample images of online activities and assignments over the past few months:

Supported by the British Council Sudan, the Upscale Sudan Programme is an acceleration programme seeking to support social enterprises through group trainings and mentorship approaches. The primary objective of the programme is to facilitate the transfer of business skills and knowledge to the early stage businesses as well as increase sustainability and growth chances of those businesses.

Digital Lab Africa Bootcamp

October 2020

9 winners of the Digital Lab Africa #4 2020 edition, were taken on a week long immersive bootcamp experience as part of their incubation programme benefits.

This included attending key sessions at the FakÚgesi Virtual Festival “Power to the Pixel” as well as an intense pitching preparation workshop (over a few days) with Belisa Rodrigues from Belle and Co., to prepare them for a live pitching session in front of producers, investors and others interested in collaboration, held online on the 30th October.

Live Pitching event:

The 9 winners of Digital Lab Africa 4th edition pitch their exciting projects in their respective category: Animation, Immersive Realities, Video Games, Music, and Digital art.

Bokang Koatja (South Africa) winner in the animation category

Natasha Nayo (Ghana), winner in the animation category

Ridwan Moshood (Nigeria), winner in the animation category

Tristan Mocke (South Africa), winner in the video game category

Robert Mensah (Nigeria), winner in the video game category

Melisa Allela (Kenya), winner in the XR category

Joey Ekunwe (Nigeria), winner in the XR category

Sizo Hlophe (Eswatini), winner in the music category

Lara Sousa (Mozambique), winner in the digital art category