Youth activism takes centre stage

Youth activism
Youth unite for a better future

Whilst the youth of 1976 fought for freedom and the creation of a democratic state, today’s challenges demands youth activism that is directed towards successfully tackling the challenges of poverty, education, unemployment, HIV and AIDS, personal development and economic freedom. 

Top Ten Social Development Projects for 2014 at ACTIVATE! Innovation Showcase

Projects ranging from environmental education and improved mathematics learning to astronomy-based tourism were among the top ten social development projects for 2014 recognised at the ACTIVATE! Innovation Showcase held in Magaliesberg earlier this year.

Chosen from 87 exceptional social development initiatives that are either already being implemented or are in the planning phases, the top ten were selected by more than 350 youth leaders from the ACTIVATE! network, potential funders and delegates from related social development agencies and organisations.

The annual event provides Activators with a platform to present their ideas on how they aim to address existing challenges in their communities in a bid to secure investors and collaborate with each other.
The top ten were chosen based on the effectiveness with which they are already or could in future, change the social environment in South Africa positively, said Chris Meintjes, CEO of ACTIVATE!

“All the projects on show represented incredibly inspired examples of ingenuity and problem-solving and delegates faced an extremely tough challenge to arrive at the final ten. The common thread that united these initiatives, however, was that they spoke to some of the most urgent issues facing communities such as improved learning, environmental degradation and HIV/AIDS to name but a few. They also indicated the extent to which the Activator network has its finger on the pulse of what the country’s communities are looking for.”
Each project is being supported with seed capital towards its further development.

The projects are:

#Activators for Environmental Education, founded by Matema Thosago, tackles the absence of adequate environmental strategies at a local and national level in South Africa by educating the community and equipping the youth with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that will allow them to become advocates of sustaining the environment for future generations. The project is being piloted in the communities of Mamotintane Village and Motholo in Limpopo and has amplified its visibility by launching a website, becoming vocal on social media platforms as well as developing branded T-shirts and banners.

According to Thosago:
“By tapping into the ACTIVATE! network we have up to 300 potential Activator advocates and channels, who can, in turn, reach 1 000 unemployed youth in the pilot programme.”

#The Greeninland Project, founded by Ubuntuvation Youth Organisation, tackles pollution, the country’s growing carbon footprint and unemployment by encouraging sustainable, entrepreneurial activity focused on this issue.
Now in its 8th month, the group is developing comprehensive printed and web-based information about environmental issues to support the educational and awareness drives they plan to roll out to a school in each of the four provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo, North-West and Mpumalanga.
According to Ubuntuvation Youth Organisation:
“The Greeninland Project is two-pronged in that it educates the community about the importance of the environment whilst simultaneously informing them about the entrepreneurial opportunities associated with waste management.”

#Condom Activists of South Africa (CASA) founded by Phumlani Mkhize and Zakhele Khambule, addresses the economic and social impact that the high incidence of HIV/AIDS and STIs amongst parents and economically active people has on South Africa.

According to Condom Activists of South Africa:
“We educate communities in Kwa-Zulu Natal about the importance of practising safe sex by, for example staging educational events at high traffic areas such as the Inanda taxi rank in Durban CBD during STI’s and Condom week. We also distribute free government condoms and sell branded condoms at key points such as night clubs and youth groups.”

#Five Star Sky, founded by Sydney Mathebula, tackles rural youth unemployment and the under-utilisation of astronomy as an asset. By tapping into this rich natural resource in rural areas as a business concept, it will provide training and employment for local youth while stimulating interest in astronomy.

With the help of the Johannesburg Planetarium and Activate! Five Star Sky launched its first school astronomy club at Dendron High School in Limpopo in April. The club, which has its own telescope and comprehensive reference material on the subject, has approximately fifty learners who service as astronomy promoters in their school and their community and a group of twenty young entrepreneurs interested in the field is being mentored to take the initiative forward.

According to Mathebula:
“We will educate the youth about astronomy and provide resources for them to offer star-gazing, astronomy and storytelling experiences to local people and visitors through hotels/events.”

#ACTIVATE! Youth Application, founded by Natachia Olivier and Nonhlanhla Zondi, is still in the planning phase but aims to ensure that Activators have access to relevant information and can update their social networks on one platform.

According to Olivier and Zondi:
“The application is a one-stop resource tool for Activators on the go, this application can be downloaded/installed on smartphones for the youth to network, share articles, and exchange information with other Activators. It offers a unique opportunity in that people from vastly different backgrounds and geographically dispersed can be joined by their passion in creating change and become positive models of influence within their communities by the smart use of technology.”

#Ifa Lemvelo, founded by Kopano Ntsoane and Mzwandile Msimang, aims to educate no-fee government schools about the financial benefits of recycling used workbooks to raise additional funds whilst simultaneously creating awareness among learners about the environment.
The project will be launched in September this year with a tree-planting and educational drive about recycling at various schools to motivate them to participate in recycling their workbooks at the end of the school year in December.

Ifa Lemvelo has also been selected to be part of the Spark International Change Maker Programme and The Microsoft Taking It Global initiative and has registered a company, 4MOOLA Social Engineering Pty Ltd, through which they aim to engineer more innovative social solutions for local economic development
According to Msimang:
“By creating an additional revenue stream for no-fee schools, we will help meet their shortage of resources, promote recycling and other sustainable practices as a lifestyle choice amongst black communities. We will integrate environmental education in the school curriculum.”

#Family Maths, Lemohang Modise, Thabiso Majoe, Princess Radebe, Sinikiwe Mqadi,
Nkanyiso Mthembu, Nonkululeko Gwamanda and Delani Ngubo, are working for COUNT, Family Maths project. This project is confronting the challenge of the lack of parental involvement and support in their children's education, particularly with regards to mathematics. Since its launch in 2012 Family Maths has conducted more than 300 workshops (more than 40 since the beginning of 2014) with parents,
learners and teachers in schools and is currently in the process of formulating a partnership with the Community Works Programme (CWP) run by the Cooperative Government of Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)) to expand their project to more areas. A CWP pilot project will be launched at four schools in the third term of this year.

According to Modise:
“Through hosting Family Maths workshops for parents and children at school, churches and homes we intend to improve the results achieved by learners. Activities are based on problems, challenges and puzzles that develop high-order thinking skills, logic and deductive reasoning for example. It is not important that a parent is literate or numerate, because we have structured the program in such that anybody can do enjoy participating in Family Maths”

#Ikasi Youth – Everyday Heroes Club, founded by Nathan Roberts, addresses the negative impact on communities of poorly educated, under-stimulated and misguided high school youth. Ikasi Youth’s ‘Everyday Heroes Club’ is a practical, results- oriented, holistic after school program which aims to drive positive change in the Imizamo Yethu township community of Hout Bay. The team of nine facilitators provide a support structure and safe working environment for high school boys. Developed specifically with township youth in mind, this includes tutoring in English and Maths as well as personal leadership workshops to help them discover and realise their true potential.

According to Roberts:
“We don’t just provide academic support, we aim to equip and empower each young hero. Our desire is to create a programme that can be replicated and rolled out across South Africa.”

#BE28 Youth Movement, founded by Tshepang Mokgatla, is a self-empowerment programme that helps create habits of success in 28 days by getting youth to do one thing that feels manageable consistently for 28 days and with the support of the programme to encourage them to be consistent, resilient and motivated to succeed.
Launched in May this year, the initiative has already received wide-spread support inter alia from media company, Mdumela Media which will develop their website as well as a BE28 app, They are also in the process of launching a branded clothing range.
According to Mokgatla:
” BE28 has the potential to create effective and necessary change through helping the youth access and apply their power.”

#Mobile Educational Bank (Edu-Bank), founded by Nonkululeko Hlongwane, focuses on a child’s basic right to education. It is a mobile structure that houses and distributes educational resources. It re-aligns the educational system to include social development issues around education, poverty and employment, effectively merging academic and social education for better learning.
According to Hlongwane:
“Edu-Bank will supplement the existing curriculum to provide learners with more effective education.”

ACTIVATE! is a network of young leaders and social entrepreneurs between the ages of twenty and thirty who combine their business savvy with a keen sense of social responsibility to drive positive change for public good across all nine provinces. The network was first launched in 2012.



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