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Education

This South African Organisation Empowers Young Leaders to Challenge Social Issues


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Education access, reduced inequalities, and putting an end to poverty are all issues addressed by the UN’s Global Goals. And the incredible work being done by the Activate organisation shows us that every one of us have skills and passions that can contribute on the journey to achieving these aims. You can join us by taking action here to support the Global Goals. 

All around the world are young people looking to drive positive change in their communities — they just need the impetus and inspiration to rise up and become the leaders of tomorrow.

And it’s for just that reason that a South African organisation called Activate exists.

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A spokesperson for the Activate network told Global Citizen that it has already helped thousands of young leaders to do good for their communities.

Through the Change Drivers programme, for example, young people (called Activators) are equipped with innovation and project planning skills, according to the organisation’s website. It’s a course that essentially provides young people with a toolkit for how they themselves can bring positive change to their communities.

“They explore aspects of leadership and values; and offer an understanding on how to navigate the socio-political landscape,” the spokesperson said via email.

Members of the Activators network are connected by their passion, skills, sense of self, and desire to address tough challenges that their communities face on a daily basis, they said.

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These challenges range from teenage pregnancy, HIV infections among young people, crime, youth unemployment, and access to education and funding.

“They [members] are actively initiating innovative and creative solutions and actions that can reshape our society,” they added.

With its latest campaign — Power for Good — Activate told Global Citizen that it’s supporting the South African government in calling on all South Africans, international communities, and civil society to all join together and play their part in continuing the legacies of Mama Albertina Sisulu and Tata Nelson Mandela.

“In recognition of the immense contribution of these icons to our liberation struggle, Activate recognises the incredible power that the youth of this country possess to transform communities within which they live,” they said.

With this in mind, the Activate network has initiated the Power for Good campaign — which essentially seeks to inspire youth in general, and Activators in particular, to draw from the lives of Mama Sisulu and Tata Mandela to contribute positively in the public sphere.

The organisation said, as part of the campaign, Activators and citizens are encouraged to dedicate their time, energy, and resources towards taking action and influencing positive change in their respective communities.

And Activate also encourages young people to inspire others into action, by “capturing and sharing these acts on various social media platforms as a way of inspiring communities to emulate their acts of kindness.”

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According to the spokesperson, over 3,200 Activators from all over the country, including rural and semi-urban areas, have been involved with a number of collaborations in business, political, and socio-economic development sectors.

“Thousands of Activators from across rural, peri-urban and urban communities in South Africa collaborating in business, political and socio-economic development across the country towards the successful implementation of the sustainable development goals towards ending extreme poverty," they said.

An imbizo (conference) of about 100 young people will be held to celebrate the legacy of Mama Sisulu and Mandela at the end of the year, to highlight work that has been done throughout 2018.

“The Power for Good Imbizo is essentially grounded on the Activate network’s imperative of creating provocative platforms for critical thinking around pertinent issues affecting society, in order to challenge Activators to set a new narrative and explore the value they hold as change drivers and active citizens,” the organisation said.

The organisation has also been vocal in recent years, calling for an end to gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa.

Activators across South Africa joined together in support of the 2018 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, in November and December.

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The campaign was held to work to challenge the horrifying rate of gender-based violence in South Africa — including statistics cited by Activate indicating that at least three women are killed by their partners every day, and more than 18,000 children are reported to have been raped in the third quarter of this year alone.

The organisation said it has challenged Activators throughout the country to host awareness campaigns and arrange for more people to join in on programmes that spread efforts to end GBV.

It said: “This would teach members of society how to curb violence against women.”