YOUTH NETWORK ACTIVATE! CHANGE DRIVERS PARTNERS WITH THE IEC AND GEARS UP FOR THE 2024 GENERAL ELECTION
By Paul Mabote for ACTIVATE! Change Drivers
Knowledge is power! We are living in the information age where access to critical information is the new gold! It befittingly follows then, that the phrase “each one teach one” is of unimaginable importance, since what you know and learn (or don’t) can mean the difference between your success and failure in life.
Where do you go to report a faulty electricity meter; an irregular power outage or a burst sewerage pipe which can be a serious health hazard to you and your loved ones? Enter Civic Education.
ACTIVATE! Has partnered with various key stakeholders to develop a programme that is dedicated to recruiting and capacitating Youth Civic Education Champions. These are Activators (young people who form part of the ACTIVATE! Network) from all corners of the country whose objective is to educate their respective communities on everything that has to do with how to hold the different spheres of government accountable and make government work for the people.
Training the trainers
27th April was not only a day when South Africans celebrated Freedom Day, but a day when the 18 ACTIVATE! Civic Education and Policy Champions converged for a three-day training at ANEW Hotel in Roodepoort, Gauteng, to undergo training on Civic and Policy Education. The training takes place off the back foot of a strategic partnership between ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP South Africa) and IEC South Africa, who have a shared commitment to rally the presence of the youth vote for the 2024 General election.
The sessions which were featured throughout the training weekend included IEC Voter Education, Structure of Government, a session on IDP and an introduction to facilitation. The Champions expressed themselves like the radical activists that they are in engaging sessions which included a policy education session and a session with thought leader Seth Mazibuko on Youth mobilization.
Addressing the lively youth cohort Executive Director of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers who lead the Civic Education programme, Tebogo Suping drew the attention of the room to the material conditions of the day that reinforced the need for Civic education led by young people, particularly in their respective communities.
“Tied to the current landscape of South African communities, we are seeing increased levels of poor service delivery and increased poverty cycles, all of which unfortunately breed disillusionment and hopelessness among our youth. It is important that we revive our communities and create the much-needed sense of awareness that is necessary to tackle the challenges that we are facing, discouraging the culture of dependency and encouraging instead the culture of active citizenry. This, to ultimately achieve collective accountability among citizens and public representatives.”
The Champions expressed their views, experiences and expectations of the programme.
Kabelo Motlhophe is an Activator and ward councillor under the Mogale City Local Municipality in Gauteng. He said “My expectations for this weekend are to have my Civic and Policy knowledge base increased so that I can also go back and impart the same knowledge to the youth in my community. This with the hope that they will recognize the power of their voices.”
Angela Mogorosi, a 2016 Activator from an organization called Queer Generational Movement, based in the North West had this to share: “The youth in my community is indifferent towards the idea of voting. That is largely due to them being uninformed. I acknowledge the important responsibility I have of educating them on the voting process, the contents of the IDP and how the different spheres of government work and interlink.”
“We have been complaining as citizens that things are not working out but we have got such beautiful policies and it would be great for me to learn more about them at this training, and also to engage with my fellow activators that are here.” This is the view of Activator Selokela Slu Molamodi, who continued: “I am also excited to see how everything is going to unravel as far as civic education is concerned leading up to elections because that’s the one issue that we have in the country being that our citizens are not as informed as they should be.”
Frans Ntsoereng is a 2012 Activator from Vaal in Gauteng. He said: “I am fortunate enough to be involved in the translation of this powerful tool. I am translating the entire ACTIVATE! Civic Education booklet from English to Sesotho and this will then be followed by an audiobook and hopefully, in the future, we will then be able to translate the English version into other local languages.”
The training, which was a follow-up to its successful pilot last year, ended on the 30th of April, with the Champions going back to their respective communities equipped with drive, zest and power to lead and facilitate Civic Education Workshops in their respective communities across the nine provinces of the country.
“You, as youth leaders, all have the most important work to do between now and the day of the elections in 2024. Go out there and make it count!” said Suping in closing.
About the author:
Paul Mabote is a member of the ACTIVATE! Change drivers writers hub, a creative artist, and storyteller and a member of the ACTIVATE! Network.
ACTIVATE! is a multi-sectoral youth development network with a national reach. The organisation provides youth leaders with the tools to connect, exchange ideas, and be empowered to take an active role in bringing about change in their communities. A total of 4325 young people from throughout South Africa have participated in ACTIVATE!’s leadership development programmes.
Young people who join the network are known as Activators, they share a purpose, commitment and responsibility to create a better, more just South Africa for the benefit of everyone, including themselves. Activators also leave a footprint in their immediate communities as active change drivers.