The Youth Citizens Action Programme (YCAP) is an annual competition through which learners from high schools across the country create projects aimed at addressing social, environmental or infrastructure issues which they have identified in their schools and communities. These issues range from drug abuse and teen pregnancy to food gardens and anti-litter campaigns.
Over 3600 learners in teams of up to 10 learners each from and all nine provinces participated in the fifth annual YCAP. The programme has showcase events at district, provincial and national level. The project found to have the most impact and sustainability was the Standing Together Against Rape (S.T.A.R) campaign run by the team from Wrenchville High School in Kuruman, Northern Cape at the YCAP National Championship Showcase event held on 28 June 2014 in Durban, KwaZulu Natal in partnership with Empowervate, the Department of Basic Education, Deutsche Bank Born to Be Foundation, UTi SA and Heartlines.
On Friday 14 November 2014, Wrenchville High School hosted the Department of Education from Northern Cape and John Taolo Gaetsewe district, the founder and CEO of Empowervate, which powers YCAP and members of the school and community to their Kick Start event, sponsored by UTi SA. At the event, items the school requested to continue their project as part of their prize for winning the national leg of the programme were handed over, including branded T-shirts, trophies for their awards ceremony at the school, a billboard, bouquet of flowers and spraypaint for their “Wall of Hope”.
After the event, the participants and guests moved to the street near where a woman was raped and murdered two weeks before. A wall was rebranded the “Wall of Hope” and the group started spray painting messages like “real men don’t rape”. Community members came to join in. This was also part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign protesting for the end of violence against women and children. Thereafter, the procession moved to the exact street corner where the woman’s body was found mutilated, and a wreath of flowers was laid down after the local pastor said a prayer and all the learners held hands in a circle.
The event was a great success, as the Founder and CEO of Empowervate and founder of YCAP, Amanda Blankfield-Koseff explained: “The goal of the YCAP programme is to ensure that learners are empowered and motivated to be the proactive change they seek for themselves and their schools and even their communities. What we experienced today from the learners and the passionate change agent teacher, Tsepo Kgatlhane was indexical of our vision coming to fruition.”
As I tried to get the perfect words that could cut deep and I was struggling. Its hard for me to explain what may seem easy to do,driving change. Amanda ,you have grant me confidence to believe that it is possible. I had always felt that I am good at injecting hope,you made me realize that it takes no president to do so,it just takes me to be the change I wish to see. I pray that God grants you c… See More
— with Amanda Blankfield-Koseff.