I am currently involved in an initiative where we adopt a learning child programme from our disadvantaged schools and become a sponsor for his/her education by paying for school fees for the annum, providing uniform, providing tutoring services and/or stationery/books or anything that will assist the child at being motivated to go to school and experience school life to its fullness. This is an opportunity for us to do our little bit and contribute what we can to assist a struggling young child through schooling.The programme is structured for us to adopt a learning child for a period of minimum a year up to whatever years we feel comfortable and able to sponsor.Sponsorship is not payable to the learning child’s parents but it is payable directly to the provider i.e. to the school for fees or to the uniform store for uniform or to the tutor for tutoring lessons etc. The programme is also structured that we are in continuous knowledge of the learning child’s progress at school as the whole point of the programme is to ensure that the child’s performance and experience is enhanced. The parent and the teacher has full knowledge and support of our sponsorship and communicate with us about the child’s performance. We will meet the parents of the child so to make a relationship not only with the child but parents as well. It is important to see the environment the child is coming from in order to help appropriately.
Another Programme I am currently involved in is Activate Leadership and Public Innovation Programme.
The basis for this initiative is that:
Many of our most difficult social problems (HIV, crime, domestic violence, substance abuse and corruption) have a common root - a perceived lack of real and imminent possibility in life. Developing a new cadre of youth leaders represents a ‘nexus strategy’ that tackles this common root by changing the way in which young people respond to their circumstances while building social cohesion at the same time.
In highly polarised societies such as South Africa, individual empowerment often results in the benefits being captured for private gain – with little direct benefit to society. The experience of India is that a key strategy for public innovation is to create social and economic connections between the poles of society.
While the focus on economic empowerment is important, there need to be constructive channels of engagement and civic participation for those who continue to feel left out.
There will always be personalities who dominate the political landscape, but we need to develop a deep collective leadership that operates at community, sub-national and national level.
There have been significant youth development efforts over the past few years, driven both through Government departmental initiatives and through civil society organisations. What is missing is a national network which allows the best programme graduates to continue to develop as leaders and to link to each other in ways that sustain the transformation of South African society. This initiative provides a mechanism for amplifying the youth development effect of respective Government departments and linking together Government and civil society efforts in a synergistic manner.
The three key objectives of the programme are to:
Build a strong sense of identity among the young leaders, focused on the common goal of public innovation;
Build a mind-set of innovation, able to place problems in context and use ideas to solve them;
Create opportunity for personal growth and development for participants, which can serve as a precedent for other young people.
The outputs of this programme will most tangibly be felt through the network of vibrant and engaged young leaders contributing to, and driving, public innovation. Beyond these outputs, however, the programme aims to shift the discourse around the role and opportunities for young people in South African society, provide excellent role models of committed and creative problemsolvers, and begin modelling a shift in all sectors of society towards proactive, innovative solutions. Ultimately, we aim to see increased efficacy in service delivery through instilling innovation at critical points, increased accountability for service delivery through activating young people’s voices, and the expansion of opportunity for young people to be powerful agents of change across South Africa and beyond.
Activate! Programme Synopsis
The Activate! programme supports young leaders to hone their abilities and to step up to tackle some of toughest problems facing their communities around the country.
By inspiring action, Activators! are catalysts for positive change and aspire to:
Spark public innovation
Drive innovation at local and national levels
Connect with each other to achieve more through their combined efforts
Grow a dynamic network of leaders and points of influence across communities around South Africa
Develop a deep sense of community and a strong desire to solve social problems
Build teams with complementary skills to tackle big scary challenges
Take action and make things happen
The Activate! programme must support young people who have a positive vision, who are determined, motivated, equipped, fired up, passionate and driven to get things done.
Activate! is leadership for the purpose of public innovation, not as an end in itself. We are growing connections across social, economic, racial, geographic and other divides and the result is a charged up network of change makers attempting to reach a critical mass
The results of the Activators! activities on the ground and the positive impact that results within communities around South Africa will be the measure of our success.
The overarching aim of the Activate! Programme is to inspire a network of youth who recognise their individuality, celebrate their commonalities, respect their differences and are bold enough to take positive risks to shape their future as individuals and as a network of activist-activators.
A number of attitudinal shifts are implicit in the Activate! programme:
A shift from an IF/THEN mentality to a NOW/ HOW mentality.
A shift from seeing our options and opportunities as EITHER/OR to a THIS / AND understanding of the choices and actions that are available to us. It is valid to address incremental change. It is equally valid to address root causes – the two are not mutually exclusive.
Everyone, at every level, every day, has leadership potential and opportunities. You do not have to be a member of economic, political, academic, intellectual or creative elite to be a change agent in your own society and context.
In an increasingly globalising world, two opposing trends are emerging; international socio- political and cultural uniformity and radical adherence to cultural, political and national identity and difference. The Activate! programme argues a third position: that the very basis and motto of the South African emblem and constitution a !ke e: /xarra //ke "Diverse People Unite" is a radical ideal and challenge.