Columba Leadership’s purpose is to transform the culture of schools to change the trajectory of youth.  Our programme focuses on leadership development and youth engagement for youth employability and school strengthening.  

Our funding comes from corporate South Africa as well as local and international trusts and foundations. A total of R129 226 667 has been invested in this organization since 2009. 

Merchants Group partners with the non-profit Columba Leadership to deliver the Columba Youth Development Programme. This values-driven programme aims to activate the potential of young people from underprivileged communities by equipping them with problem-solving, collaboration and communication skills to become effective leaders and improve their employability. The programme also inspires young people to be agents of positive social change in their schools and communities. Through Columba, Merchants engages with a few schools each year and remains involved until the principles of the programme have become embedded into the school culture, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the programme. The programme engages various stakeholders, including principals, teachers, learners, the Department of Basic Education, and Merchants’ executives and staff. Through its participation in the programme, Merchants Group gains insight into the youth market and is able to develop an alternative employee pipeline by building relationships with young leaders before they enter the job market.