Nobody could’ve imagined the turmoil that the year 2020 would bring. The civil society sector was greatly impacted by the government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Social distancing measures, curfews and the subsequent lockdowns, impeded on organizations’ ability to work in communities, advocate and mobilize. Youth Lab was no exception, and we spent time learning how to adapt to a new way of working, connecting and leveraging social media to reach youth.
As part of our strategy to stay connected with youth and document their experiences with Covid-19, we introduced weekly Twitter Chats to unpack the social challenges that youth are grappling with parallel to the pandemic. We covered a number of topics guided by experts, from understanding the dynamics of e-learning to adapt to lockdown measures, accessing SRHR when hospitals and clinics are overcrowded, taking care of mental health and wellbeing during the lockdown and government support for youth-owned businesses affected by lockdown regulations. We hosted two major virtual events in June and again in September looking into the legacy of apartheid in the education system and how to recenter African intellectual labour in celebration of Heritage Month. You can catch up on both vents here: https://iono.fm/e/889494 and https://iono.fm/e/931724
In July, we launched our first response program to Covid-19 in collaboration with Brave Together and the spotlight was on mental health. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s website, SADAG received more calls since the start of lockdown from people feeling anxious, lonely, worried and depressed. Many callers are stressed about a combination of issues including the spread of COVID-19, finances, relationship problems, job security, grief, gender based violence and trauma. The Psychology First Aid program connected young people with trained counsellors over four weeks to unpack practical ways of coping with anxiety and stress.
The Grandpa Spaza Academy made an official comeback in September taking spaza shop owners through a four-week business training program to help them manage their resources and grow their business. The second cycle of the academy adopted a digital approach and made use of an online platform to deliver the program; giving us the opportunity to embrace digital technology while minimizing contact in line with Covid-19 regulations. We’re incredibly proud of this innovative milestone which allows participants to learn from the comfort of their homes or shops while staying safe.
Although the storm isn’t over yet, we’re excited for the new year and for the opportunities we’ll have to make a positive contribution in the lives of young South Africans. We wish you a prosperous and healthy year ahead.
The national fiscus is one of any government’s tools for good governance and ensuring the development of a country and its citizens. Youth make up a large and important demographic in African countries as they represent a large segment of working age people, are a consumer base and have the greatest potential to generate new knowledge and new industries. Similarly, young people also bear the greatest burden of social ills. Poverty, crime and unemployment disproportionately impact young Africans. Thus, governments have a responsibility to account well for the impact it makes on youth.
In partnership with the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Development in Africa, Youth Lab has hosted Youth-sensitive budgeting workshops in South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana with parliamentarians, local councillors and political party representatives. The workshop is an interactive learning process designed to illustrate ways that the budget can be used to resourcing youth interventions directly and meet the needs of young Africans indirectly. The workshops cover topics including understanding youth transitions, understanding budgeting for governance and youth-sensitive allocations.
is the message of Agenda2063, a 50 year Africa plan that outlines the shared vision of the African Union for the future of the continent. With 7 Aspirations Agenda2063 acknowledges the capabilities of young Africans and demographic dividend youth represent at the forefront of the Africa’s development vision. In 2015 and 2016 Youth Lab have participated in various activities of the African Union Commission.
Attended by young Africans from all regions of the continent events like Africa Youth Day and the Intergenerational Dialogues hosted by the AUC Youth Division present opportunities for young people to interact with African leaders about youth-driven solutions to Africa’s problems. Youth Lab has developed a relationship with the African Union Commission’s African Governance Architecture in developing its Youth Engagement Strategy on democracy and governance. Through doing work with the AUC, Youth Lab strengthens its commitment to youth development and building bridges between young people and decision makers.
On the 15th April 2016 Youth Lab partnered with Mabo Foundation in Uitenage to host a PIN Youth Assets Workshop. Twenty young people gathered from various parts of Uitenage to share experiences of the challenges faced by youth in their community and together mapped out the existing and potential strategies for development in the community. In the workshop young people identified teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and joblessness as the greatest challenges faced by young people in Uitenage.
They identified 15 different social and economic assets such as NGOs, government programs and businesses that positively contribute to the community. While none of the young people at the workshop had heard of the NDP before, when presented with key goals set in the plan, the youth participants identified goals in the chapters on “Economy and Employment” and “Building safer communities” as the goals most aligned with the challenges and aspirations in Uitenage.
More importantly in developing strategies to address youth challenges, realising the need for greater collaboration between NGOs in the community, participants committed to developing an active citizens network that would invite all community based organisations and interested youth stakeholders to work together on projects such as a new youth development centre and a job seekers program. Youth Lab have committed to host the inaugural meeting of this forum.
Youth Lab is a youth policy think tank that works to improve youth capacity and mainstream youth participation in community building and policy making. Our goal is to find young peopl where they are, and work together so that youth voices can be amplified and youth work can be supported.
Youth Lab is a registered non-profit company (NPC), with 100% of the ownership being young, black women
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