Youth Citizens Action Programme – Powered by Empowervate

Limpopo Province crowned winners of 2013 Youth Citizens Action Programme National Championships

(Cape Town, 30 September 2013) Grade 10 learners from Hanyani Thomo Secondary School in Mopani district, Limpopo Province were awarded the grand prize of R10 000 towards expanding their active citizenship empowerment project, at the final round of the Youth Citizens Action Programme that took place at the Metropolitan Golf Club in Mouille Point, Cape Town on Saturday 28 September.

Teams of participating Grade 10 learners from each of South Africa’s nine provinces were required to identify a social challenge that adversely affects their school or community, and develop and implement a strategy to overcome it. After district and provincial elimination rounds, finalists from each province participated in the national championships in Cape Town.

Winning learners, Lungile Makgubela and Miyelani Manzini, explain, “We chose the topic ‘Going Green’ as we realise that caring for the environment starts with us. The successful roll out of our strategy involved recycling waste, developing a clean-up policy, planting trees and a vegetable garden whereby poorer members of the community could generate an income, and a clean-up of the surrounding wetlands. We generated awareness of our campaign through the local media, posters, petitions and meetings with tribal officials.”

Makgubela continues, “The impact that the YCAP project has had is the creation of a cleaner culture amongst our fellow learners, and realisation of the need to be a responsible citizen. As part of the project we were required to develop a business plan of how we will spend the national prize money of R10 000, and we cannot wait to get started!”

Derick Layani, mentor of the learners at Hanyani Thomo Secondary was ecstatic, “These students have worked extremely hard at making a success out of their project, and in the process have inspired their peers to get involved in finding solutions to the daily challenges they are faced with.”

Russell Girls High School from Pietermaritzburg, KZN was placed second in the competition and received R7 500 towards the success of their project. Redshedisitswe High School from Fezile Dabi district in the Free State claimed third place, receiving R5 000. A trophy was presented to the winning school and Certificates of Outstanding Performance and gift bags were presented to the participating learners.

YCAP was successfully launched by NPO Afrika Tikkun in 2010 and now powered by NPO Empowervate in partnership with Deutsche Bank Africa Foundation, The Department of Basic Education and Heartlines. The annual initiative has since developed into an exciting and interactive competition that encourages youth to be proactive and forward-thinking, and has seen the participation of 1 080 schools across South Africa.

According to YCAP Founder and CEO, Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, typical challenges that the youth choose as topics include abuse, (substance abuse as well as emotional abuse, such as bullying and peer pressure), teen pregnancy, safety and security, environmental issues (such as litter problems and vandalism), knowledge and learning, morality and honesty.

“This annual competition is about so much more than winning,” explains Blankfield-Koseff. “We are effectively encouraging active citizenship from a young age. Each year we look forward to seeing these young individuals implementing some truly innovative solutions.”

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About Youth Citizens Action Programme

The Youth Citizens Action Programme is a successful initiative that was incubated at NPO, Afrika Tikkun in 2010, and was initially started as a pilot project in four provinces. The programme has since been rolled out to schools in all nine provinces across South Africa, targeting under-performing high schools in particular in order to uplift them.Participating learners are required to compile portfolios of evidence in their groups of up to ten learners per group. Two of these learners then present their portfolio at the district level elimination rounds during August and September. The winning schools from the provincial competitions receive R5, 000 to be used for the expansion of their projects, and are sponsored to represent their province at the national championship event in Cape Town, where an esteemed panel of judges decide on the overall winner.

YCAP is powered by Empowervate in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, Heartlines and Afrika Tikkun, and is sponsored by Deutsche Bank Africa Foundation.

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