South African learners showcase their solutions on COVID-19 and societal issues
16 December 2020: Finalists from sixteen schools who come from eight provinces across South Africa presented their projects in the inaugural online Young Active Citizens Award 2020.
“We’re all aware of the ways in which COVID-19 has turned life upside down, so this is an opportunity that the youth were given to make a positive impact on relevant issues we are facing” explains Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, Founder of youth development NPO Empowervate Trust.
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, data from YOUKNOW (PTY) Ltd, higher education certificates to study towards a Higher Education certificate from Boston City Campus & Business College and monetary prizes from DSV SA.
Learners entered as individuals or teams from Grade R to Grade 12 from schools in all nine provinces across urban, rural and peri-urban areas. They had to follow Covid19 protocols and stay safe while doing their projects.
The most common topics chosen were Covid19, Gender Based Violence, unemployment, food insecurity, and mental health. Projects were in the form of portfolios and videos and were done as research, action or creative projects.
Junior Category winners were Constantia Kloof Primary from Gauteng with their creative video project on Gender Based Violence, which raised awareness on the topic. “As their teacher and mentor for this project, I am so proud of these girls.
They did the entire project themselves, from beginning to end. They blew me away with their video…the result of all their hard work. They showed their creativity, leadership and most of all their willingness to do something to make a change in this world. These are future leaders of our country. Thank you, girls, for rising to the challenge and putting together a powerful message in a very short space of time,” says Mrs J. Fleetwood.
Hannah Evan, the Grade 9 team leader from the Intermediate age category team champions from King David Victory Park High School in Gauteng said in their portfolio on how they made positive impact on “Mental Health during Covid-19”: “A highlight for me was watching all our hard work come together to produce this incredible project and I also learnt that I actually love working in a team. Honestly this program is great! Not only did we get to represent our school, but it also gave us a chance to make a meaningful impact. This year has honestly been so full of surprises and such a learning experience that being able to put that into a project to help others is relieving and inspiring. The skills of being able to narrow ideas, brainstorm and structure are ones I will take with me forever.”
The Intermediate category Individual winner Lerato Langa in Grade 8 from Limit Hill High in KwaZulu Natal who did a research project on Gender Based Violence said in his portfolio, “I learnt a lot throughout this project like that most men are ignorant about the situation facing women and girls in their space and also learnt that most people want to take part in this matter. I also re-ignited my ability in public speaking, I have learnt to set goals and to see them through and I acquired time management skills, research and interview skills.”
“The winners for the Senior Category, John Ramsay High School from Bishop Lavis who did a project on Gender Based Violence, really deserved their award. It is one of the Western Cape’s most traumatized areas. These learners have excelled despite the poverty, death and gangsterism which they face daily. It is a life within a life for them to rise above and have the courage with their educator to grace us in a national competition speaks a lot about their determination. They showcased to all us the pride the joy and the excellence of the value they add to everyone’s life. We are humbled and so proud of their achievements. On behalf Metro North Education District we would like to congratulate the learners of John Ramsay for their achievement and may they rise to meet the many challenges with fervour and favour. 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,” says David Leonard, Metro North Education District official.
The Change Agent Award 2020 winner was Lesego Malatji from Soshanguve Secondary in Gauteng who has taken part in The Youth Citizens Action Programme (Y-CAP) at her school for the past three years. She says their projects are all sustainable and she cherishes the personal development she gained from being part of the programme.
“We at Empowervate congratulate every one of the 300 participants who entered this year’s online programme, and we look forward to seeing next year’s projects!” says Empowervate Trust Founder and CEO Amanda Blankfield-Koseff.
Empowervate Trust has been running the Youth Citizen Action Programme (Y-CAP) in collaboration with the Department of Education in hundreds of primary and secondary schools for the past eleven years. In 2019 Empowervate won the CPSI Special Ministerial Award for Innovation.
For more information visit www.empowervate.org @empowervate