Our primary focus this year is the BIG 5 sectors: A! Health, A! Literacy, A! Youth Economic Participation, A! Interconnectedness & Inclusivity and Active Citizenship. These sectors were chosen by the ACTIVATE! Network through a series of engagements held across the country in 2017.
South Africa has the most serious HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world, with over six million people living with the condition. Moreover, some of the biggest health risks affecting South Africans include tuberculosis, heart disease, diabetes and prostate cancer. The A! Health Sector represents an effort of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network to respond to unending health challenges affecting communities across South Africa. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers recognises the important role youth can play in contributing towards addressing these and other social challenges.
In this respect, the A! Health Sector primarily sets out to elevate the work of Activators working within the health sector across various levels. The sector has initiated the A! Health Champions, in an effort to equip and empower Activators working in the health sector to be in the forefront of providing innovative solutions to challenges affecting society. The sector has further initiated innovative community engagements including Tavern Hackathons, Clean up Campaigns and various other social media campaigns aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles among communities in general, and youth in particular.
Literacy plays a vital role in the growth and development of any nation, and research has shown that the higher the rate of literacy, the better the potential to succeed. A high level of literacy can reduce poverty and crime, contribute to economic growth, and improve the quality of life. When people can read information regarding social issues affecting their communities, they are able to make informed choices. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers appreciates that the quest for the total liberation of our people begins with how knowledge is acquired, transferred and valued in society. The network has initiated the A! Literacy Sector with the primary aim of impacting how communities in general and Activators in particular engage with information in order to be empowered as functional literate citizens.
Through its GELEZA4Life strategy, the sector sets out to promote literacy as a strategic tool to address the interminable socio-economic challenges facing society today, including poverty, unemployment, and crime to name a few. In this respect, the network has committed itself to creating opportunities for Activators to be equipped and empowered through various platforms to be able to contribute meaningfully into the public realm. Among these platforms are literacy exchanges, webinars, book launches and the annual literacy summit.
Economic growth South Africa has enjoyed in recent years has not created enough opportunities for its young people to use their talents to earn sustainable livelihoods. Just over 40% of South Africa’s population comprises young people, and youth unemployment now stands at more than 27% amongst this grouping. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is committed to connecting young people to opportunities for growth and development. In this light, the network has initiated the Youth Economic Participation Sector with the aim of creating opportunities for improved access to training, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for Activators.
With this in mind, the Youth Economic Participation Sector employs the A! Classifieds and the Entrepreneur Buddy tools respectively to advance the economic participation of Activators. Through the A! Classifieds, the network sources employment opportunities and advertises them on both its website and social media platforms. The Entrepreneur Buddy essentially sets out to connect entrepreneurs within the network to opportunities for development and growth in the form of workshops, seminars, webinars and networking opportunities.
South Africa is a society essentially characterised by inequality, exclusion, marginalisation, fragmentation and oppression owing to a number of factors including apartheid, patriarchy, gender inequality and racism amongst others. Notwithstanding progress that has been made through legislation focused on the promotion of redress and equality in South Africa, much still needs to be done to promote a sense of interconnectedness and create an inclusive South African society. Our efforts to build peaceful, interconnected and sustainable communities across the country must be cognizant of the dire need to address challenges facing the most vulnerable in society including women, children and the LGBTQIA+ community. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers realises the importance of creating an enabling environment for engaging and critical discourse on the complex social conditions influencing the interminable challenges facing society today.
The network has initiated the Interconnectedness and Inclusivity Sector in an effort to empower Activators with key competencies to contribute meaningfully towards advancing peace, interconnectedness and inclusivity within communities across South Africa. With respect to the above-stated, the network has collaborated with Activators and various stakeholders to coordinate a series of hackathons, workshops and imbizos aimed at unpacking structural determinants of gender injustice and gender-based violence in South Africa and exploring possible solutions thereof.
The current generation of young people in South Africa is typically described as lost, apathetic and passive among other things. It is crucial to develop an alternative narrative of young people in South Africa – one where despite the challenges of poverty, unemployment and crime youth grapple with daily, they remain actively engaged citizens. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers essentially views youth change agents with capacity and potential to contribute positively into the public realm. The network believes that this potential must be nurtured and developed in an effort to enhance civic engagement among South Africa’s youth and to promote youth participation within South Africa’s development context.
In this respect, the Active Citizenship sector exists to elevate the work of Activators, who are driving social change through various community and youth development initiatives across the country and beyond. The sector is committed to showcasing Activator led initiatives and campaigns that aim to respond to pertinent social challenges affecting communities. Among these are such campaigns as Sanitary Pads and School Bag donations campaigns respectively. Moreover, the sector seeks to promote civic engagement among Activators through campaigns such as the Youth Making Local Government Work campaign which is designed to ensure Activators navigate the socio-political landscape of their respective communities.