Activate! Exchange – Johannesburg

Activate!Exchange Media Release 11 June 2013

Youth Leaders Take Up the Challenges Facing South Africa with launch of Activate!Exchange in Johannesburg

“We must re-ignite the spirit of 1976 and again stand united as one to make the change our country needs at this time.”This was the rallying cry across the board as young leaders from developmental NGO, Activate!Change Drivers and stakeholders from public, private and other non-governmental sectors, collectively renewed their commitment to confronting South Africa’s challenges at the launch of the first Activate!Exchange in Johannesburg at the Women’s Goal at Constitution Hill today (11 June 2013).

Representing some of the 800 young social entrepreneurs and projects that are currently being supported by the national network, the Activators used this forum held in the run up to Youth Day on 16 June, to highlight the issues facing young South Africans, including the fact that 70% of the unemployed are under the age of 34 as quoted by President Jacob Zuma recently.

Participating in the event’s panel discussion on the role that business can play in supporting young people to bring about social change, Ben Kodisang, Managing Director of financial services group, Stanlib made an appeal to the business sector to find innovative ways contribute to improving South Africa’s education performance. 

“We know that more than sixty percent of the unemployed do not have matric. Stanlib has therefore focused its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) single-mindedly behind education. Our programmes include subsidising university graduates that can offer supplementary Mathematics and English teaching in schools where this is required and where, as a result of the intervention, we’ve seen a marked improvement.”

Over the past 18 months, the company has also rolled out a financial literacy programme that to date has reached more than 30 000 learners from 200 of some of the most previously disadvantaged schools across the country.

 Activator, Calvin Makhubela, participating in the same discussion, endorsed the idea of business finding innovative ways in which to participate in skills and knowledge transfer to young people, including the importance of mentorships.Bernice Hlagala, Head of Youth in The President’s Office, reiterated that government understands that the success of its youth development interventions lies in working with other sectors and volunteers.

The Presidency is taking great responsibility for youth development which has led to the establishment of the Presidential Youth Working Group (PYWG) – a multi sector forum that will afford the President an opportunity to interact with the relevant stakeholders in the youth development space. 

Hlagala said that the PYWG has identified increase economic participation, education and skills development, the professionalization of youth service providers, substance abuse and violence prevention and a national youth service as its critical focus areas.
According to Activate! Chief Executive Officer, Chris Meintjes,  Activate is a network of young leaders known as Activators, who are all actively involved with projects to drive positive change at grass roots level across South Africa. “The distinguishing feature of all these Activators is their ability to mobilise and to engineer innovative and positive transformation in their communities and the country as a whole.”

Activate! systematically supports and builds the entrepreneurial capacity of these Activators through a three-year process. “Activate! Exchange came about through the necessity to establish connections through a working platform for on-going dialogue, and discussion between Change Drivers who have ideas and initiatives and thought leaders who have experience.  By meshing these two together we can provide the right fertile ground that will contribute to the network and its initiatives to grow and flourish,” he concluded 

Applications for acceptance into the 2014 Activate! in-take will open in July 2013. For more information about Activate! And Activate! Exchange go to www. 

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