Approximately 18 million South Africans will wake up today to yet another day of hunger and undernourishment. Hunger is an unrelenting and urgent problem across the globe. Yet SA Harvest Chairman, Gidon Novick, says: “Hunger is a solvable problem in this country.” Ten million tons of food go to waste every year. “We must create access to the excess,” explains Novick. This vision launched SA Harvest, a non-profit organisation which redistributes surplus food that would have gone to landfill to ensure hungry and malnourished South Africans receive nutritious meals.
Novick, previous CEO of Discovery Vitality and founder of South Africa’s first low-cost airline, kulula.com, and more recently a niche hotel brand, Home Suite Hotels, is well versed in tackling challenges. He understands that a challenge of this magnitude requires innovative systems and the best in industry talent. Fortuitously, Synthesis Managing Director, Michael Shapiro heard about SA Harvest and immediately resonated with its mission. Synthesis is an innovative software development and consulting company that has been a key technology partner to leading businesses across South Africa and Mauritius. Shapiro approached SA Harvest to see how he and his team could assist.
This resulted in Synthesis working with SA Harvest on crucial aspects of the non-profit’s scalable technology platform, using AWS, that will enable the rescue and distribution of excess food across the country. In this regard, the core challenges are to efficiently capture from whom, when and how much food is collected and to whom, when and how much was delivered; to measure the nutritional value of each parcel of food delivered; to ensure that the entire system is in line with the safety protocols laid down by the relevant laws; to connect those in need with those who have on a national basis – and much more. Technology is crucial in addressing these challenges.
Moreover, the system will geo-locate all registered SA Harvest beneficiaries in order to collect an array of pertinent data including who they are feeding, how they are implementing their nutritional requirements, how they are implementing the necessary safety protocols and, importantly, what their growing needs are on a real-time basis. Inter alia, this will enable SA Harvest to have detailed impact information to share with their benefactors and other relevant role players.
“When we announced this project to the Synthesis team, I was amazed at the response. Everyone wanted to be involved in both a personal and professional capacity. We have placed some of our most senior team members on this project to ensure its rapid success. Technology makes possible and plausible what previously seemed too daunting to tackle. I am proud and excited for Synthesis to be a part of feeding the millions of hungry South Africans and to be partnering with SA Harvest,” concludes Shapiro.
For more information on the innovative work Synthesis has done for its blue-chip clients, contact:
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Synthesis is a true South African success story. Synthesis believes that providing innovative solutions based on emerging technologies will help their clients become globally competitive. Synthesis focuses on banking and financial institutions, retail, media and telecommunications sectors in South Africa and other emerging markets.
In 2017 Capital Appreciation Limited, a JSE-listed Fintech company, acquired 100 percent of Synthesis. Following the acquisition, Synthesis remains an independent operating entity within the Capital Appreciation Group providing Cloud, Digital and RegTech services as well as corporate learning solutions through the Synthesis Academy.
About SA Harvest
SA Harvest is taking a revolutionary approach to ending hunger by addressing the systemic causes and leveraging innovative technology, while simultaneously tackling the immediate need through the effective solution of rescuing nutritious food and delivering it where it’s needed most.