Empowervate is a youth development NPO that works towards empowering and motivating young people to become contributing citizens of South Africa, able and willing to change the nation. Today we are a well-established organization. But how did it all start?
Empowervate was born 7 years ago from an annual “The Big Talk” youth dialogue. The Big Talk events took place in Cape Town in 2007 and in Johannesburg in 2008. These dialogues were aimed at encouraging grade 10 learners from under-resourced high schools across South Africa to voice their views and share their experiences about the challenges and hardships that they face every day.
“Learn through struggle to accept and respect yourself and others, learn to humble yourself, but never forget to be proud of who you are and where you are coming from,” was the message of The Big Talk speakers in Johannesburg. 2007 and 2008 “The Big Talk” dialogues were a huge success and soon afterwards they were transformed and expanded to what we know today as Empowervate and YCAP.
As Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, the key coordinator of “The Big Talk” youth dialogues said, the events were so powerful and influential among the participants that they simply had to be expanded. The youth left the events inspired, motivated and with an added sense of how vital their role is in creating their present and future success as well as that of South Africa.
Following the 2008 dialogue event, donors asked Amanda to create a more action-based programme. The Empowervate Trust was created and from within that, the pilot Youth Citizens Action Programme (YCAP) project was launched in 2009. At the time, YCAP was much smaller and involved only 4 South Africa provinces, but the competition-based programme quickly progressed and now over 3600 learners from 360 schools from all 9 provinces of the country participate each year.
Check out the video on how it all started here: