Imagine a South Africa with young people who are empowered and motivated, who are active and responsible citizens, who believe in themselves, and who contribute meaningfully to the economy.
Right now, the picture is far more dismal, and the country’s young people have a lot to contend with. The majority have first-hand experience of unemployment, poverty, domestic violence, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and a host of other social challenges. For many, a poor education means they remain trapped in these debilitating circumstances.
Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, founder and CEO of non-profit organisation, Empowervate Trust, says her organisation’s vision is to turn the tide on this bleak reality. “Our flagship programme – the Youth Citizens Action Programme (YCAP) – is aimed at nurturing new generations of empowered and motivated youth who become active and responsible citizens.”
The programme is run in collaboration with Department of Basic Education and with the support of Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation and DSV Mounties South Africa. Every year, thousands of young people from primary and secondary schools are empowered to solve or lessen various social, environmental, educational or economic problems within their schools or communities.
They are supported in their endeavours with a YCAP Toolkit, which is a project management and values guide, and workshops that impart various skills such as teamwork, leadership, time management, communication, public speaking, IT and basic financial management skills to the young learners. They are also given a platform to showcase the projects they have created at district, provincial and national level.
Blankfield-Koseff says that over 30,000 learners have already been impacted by the programme over the past nine years. “Importantly, the skills they learn on the programme will equip them for positions of power, whether they become business people, politicians, teachers, employees or social entrepreneurs.”
She calls on corporate South Africa to support Empowervate Trust’s vision and empower more young people to engage in active citizenry. “It’s in their interest to cultivate young people who are engaged in their communities and who can contribute meaningfully to the country’ socio-economic growth.
“Not only will corporates be helping to promote social cohesion, prompt school-goers to transform their own lives and nurture a new generation of engaged, socially conscious and productive youth, they will be able to fulfil their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) requirements as they relate to Socio-Economic Development (SED). By directing their SED budget to Empowervate, which is a Level 1 entity, they will achieve five points towards their B-BBEE scorecard and a Section 18A certificate, allowing them to claim tax back.
“After all, B-BBEE is intended to be more than just a tick-box exercise. If implemented properly, it should be an economic enabler aimed at reducing poverty, eliminating inequality and including the previously marginalised into South Africa’s mainstream economic activity.
“Empowervate Trust is offering corporates the opportunity to contribute towards a truly transformative programme that engages school pupils and inculcates values that will give them the necessary insight, strength and accountability to fulfil various leadership roles in our society,” concludes Blankfield-Koseff.