Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

How one woman is empowering future women leaders in Africa

2017 Better Begins With You winner Philippa Bridger helps to run NextGen, a program to empower the next generation of women leaders in Africa.

Related topics Workforce Purpose
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The better the question

How can one woman raise a generation of girls?

Many of South Africa's brightest girls are not being supported to fulfill their potential.

South Africa is the second largest economic contributor to the African continent. However, its history of separation and struggle continues to hinder the advancement of the economy, society and individuals. In some parts of the country, many of the best and brightest girls do not have the opportunity to attend university and lead fulfilling careers.

One of our people is committed to turning around the lives of these young girls. But how can one woman raise a generation of girls?

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The better the answer

Mentoring for future leaders

A program to empower the next generation of women leaders in Africa.

Five years ago, the EY member firm office in Africa launched NextGen, which is a program to empower the next generation of women leaders in Africa. From the start of the program, Philippa Bridger, from the EY member firm office in Cape Town, has dedicated her life to South Africa’s girls in need, acting as a mentor, friend and teacher. Since she first joined the program, Philippa has more than tripled the number of girls enrolled, created engagement and awareness in her office, and helped grow EY's involvement in the program across South Africa.

She provides tutoring, life skills and basic food items to girls between the ages of 15-21. In the community schools that the NextGen girls come from, she also provides food parcels to the children who have no parents to look after them.

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The better the world works

Successful women ambassadors

A strong support network of future women leaders to empower the next generation of girls.

More than 30 of the girls she has worked with have gone on to pursue degrees in fields such as medicine, engineering, accounting, forensics and microbiology. Once they leave university, Philippa connects the girls with professional mentors to help them build their careers. She also sets the foundation to help the NextGen girls apply to work at EY in the future. For many of the girls, their lives have been transformed in ways that they had never dared to imagine.

Philippa’s goal for the program is to create a cycle of positive impact and to expand the program into the rest of Africa, particularly the Eastern Cape.

The NextGen girls grow up surrounded by successful EY women who invest their time and resources to improve their lives. In turn, they create a new generation of successful women to serve as much-needed ambassadors to the girls in their communities.

Philippa has shown that in EY, Cape Town’s girls have somewhere to turn, people who will care for them and a strong support system of successful women, no matter how hard their circumstances may be.