South African children given a platform on COVID-19 and societal issues

South African learners are invited to share their ideas on how to get through the big issues of 2020 by entering the Young Active Citizen Award 2020.

“We’re all aware of the ways in which COVID-19 has turned life upside down,” explains Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, Founder of youth development NPO Empowervate Trust. “And perhaps this is most true for our children who are living through something that none of us have ever experienced. There’s no precedent for this.”

A key means of making sense of uncertainty is through discussion, exploration and action. For this reason, the Empowervate Trust has launched the Young Active Citizen Award 2020. The aim is to give South African youth a voice by providing tools to make an impact. Learners are incentivised by a selection of rewards including tablets and monetary prizes.

“So many of us have felt powerless during this difficult season in our nation’s history,” says Blankfield-Koseff. “Through participation in the Young Active Citizen Award 2020, youth have the opportunity to make an impact as active citizens rather than helpless bystanders. In this way we hope to see them growing in confidence as to their role in our country – not only in the future, but right now.”

Learners can enter as individuals or as part of a team and are categorised according to their grade (Grade R to Grade 4; Grade 5 to Grade 7; Grade 8 to Grade 10; and Grade 11 to Grade 12). They have to follow Covid19 protocols and stay safe while doing their projects of course.

There are two potential topics to explore:

  • Covid19 and Youth – How we can adapt to the changes Covid19 has brought, feelings around lockdown, how to cope with new school rules, physical and mental health, hygiene, how to catch up missed school work, how to socialise safely etc
  • Questioning and combatting one or more of the following societal issues
  • Racism
  • Gender Based Violence
  • Xenophobia
  • Food insecurity
  • Unemployment
  • Mental health

Projects will be in the form of portfolios and videos and can be done in one of these three formats – research (research into the problem and what has caused it along with recommended solutions); action (a campaign with actions that have been taken to create awareness or foster change in the school or community); or creativity (singing, dancing, acting, poetry etc regarding one of the above topics.

The Young Active Citizen Award 2020 is run by Empowervate Trust and its major sponsor DSV SA. The Trust exists to assist the transformation and social cohesion of the country through the empowerment and motivation of the youth.

Empowervate Trust has been running the Youth Citizen Action Programme (YCAP) in collaboration with the Department of Education for eleven years in hundreds of mostly public primary and secondary schools. In November 2019 Empowervate won the CPSI Special Ministerial Award for Innovation.

Learners (or their parents, guardians or teachers) can download a registration form here: https://www.empowervate.org/young-active-citizen-award-2020/

After registration, entrants will receive YCAP toolkit to assist with their entry. Entry forms must be sent in by 15 September 2020 to receive the toolkit and guidelines and projects must be submitted online, by post or courier by 1 November 2020.

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Amanda