Mark Johnston

Position: NSF Programme Manager

Mark worked as a journalist from 2000 to 2011, before heading overseas to study in New Zealand. After completing a degree in economics and politics, he worked for the New Zealand government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, but decided to return to South Africa in 2016.

Mark is passionate about advancing youth skills development, and believes it is one of the key factors necessary to transform our country.

Academic Qualification: Bachelor of Arts Degree, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (2015)

Majors: Economics and Politics

Niki

Niki Alexander

Niki Alexander

Position: Programme Coordinator

Academic Qualification: Bachelor in Business Administration and Entrepreneurial Leadership, TSiBA (2011)

Other Qualification(s):

  • First Aid Level 1
  • Field Study Program in Social Entrepreneurship

Number of years with Educo Africa: 7 years

Niki is passionate about gender work, education and human development. She is deeply driven by the power and potential in the youth of South Africa, and is inspired to see how young leaders work to make a difference in their communities and take charge of their future.

Educo Africa First Quarter Newsletter 2017

Dear Educo Africa Supporter,

We are delighted to present to you our first newsletter for 2017. We trust and believe that your year started off with a great bang! Educo Africa experienced a number of big changes in the first quarter.

Firstly, we bid farewell to Milly Churchill, a legend within Educo who served the organisation for 19 years. We also said goodbye to Duncan Souchon, a wondrous, adventurous, man of integrity and who gave 10 years of service to Educo.
Educo Africa wishes these incredible human beings love, prosperity and all of the best with their new adventures. Lastly, we would like to congratulate Niki Alexander in her new role as Operations Manager. We are so proud of you!

Educo Africa has also taken on a new project in partnership with Department of Higher Education and Training and the National Skills Fund (NSF). The NSF Graduate and Student Placement Programme will place 170 young people in different work opportunities over the next two years. Educo would like to welcome Mark Johnston, who has joined us as Project Manager for the programme. Read more on page 2.

In the first quarter of 2017 we also successfully ran the TSiBA season, doing courses with both their Cape Town and Eden campuses. We ran a one day team building process for Aspire Youth. Our contract with the Department of Social Development ended in March, bringing to an end our involvement with both the Social Enterprise Programme and Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP). However, our EPWP contract has been extended for another year. This is great news for us, since about 80 percent of the young people that have gone through this programme with us have gone on to get permanent employment with other organisations.

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NSF Graduate and Student Placement Programme
mark2017 marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Educo Africa with the launch of our Graduate and Student Placement Programme. Over the next two years we will place 170 promising young South Africans into paid internships here in the Western Cape, and in doing so boost much-needed skills development in the province.

The programme is a partnership between ourselves and the National Skills Fund (NSF), which falls under the Department of Higher Education and Training. In addition to paying interns’ monthly stipends, funding is available to cover work-readiness training and support materials (for example tools and uniforms), as well as workplace insurance and professional accreditation fees.

Our focus is on learners who need work experience in order to complete their diplomas or degrees (for example N6-level students at vocational colleges, and university of technology students). We will also be supporting graduates who have struggled to find a job because they don’t have the relevant skills on their CVs.

Internships range from 12 – 24 months, depending on the qualification of the learner/ graduate, and the work experience required. It is obviously our hope that after this time host employers will offer their interns full-time employment. But even if they don’t, each young person who has participated in the programme will have gained valuable skills to add to their CV.

In addition to promoting skills development, host employers can obtain points on their BEE scorecards, as well as gaining access to skilled young workers who can be groomed to become future employees at no cost to the company.

If your organisation would like to host an intern – or you know of any companies that may be interested – please visit the Educo Africa website for more details about the programme.

www.educo.org.za or contact Mark Johnston at 021 761 8939 or markj@educo.org.za

Young People Living their Potential – EPWP participant

20161115_132837My Name is Kaylyn Sables and I’m from Bay View. I am a person that loves to
learn new things, to explore and be in nature. I am also a
friendly person that will give people advice where I can or assist in
programmes.

My experience in the EPWP Programme was absolutely helpful. I
had no clue what was happening until I learned how to do office work,
filing and how to prepare for courses. There was so many things in this programme that changed my attitude. I see my life in different lenses now! Being part of this programme I have gained confidence in what I have to do and most importantly prepare for my future.

What have I been up to in the EPWP Programme?
I have been admin support for Niki Alexander for the EPWP Programme and assisting in various other programmatic admin. In this role, my administrative skills have increased. I have also developed personally. Each day I discover something new about myself.
My contract ended in the last quarter, however, with the work that I have put in Educo Africa acknowledged what I have done and renewed my contract.

What is my dream/ vision?
The vision for myself is to look at life differently and take all the help I get from
each and everyone and put it into action. To make a success of my
life and looking for more opportunities for the future.

October Newsletter 2016!

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Dear Educo Africa Supporter,

In 1986, Paul Simon sang ‘she’s a rich girl she don’t try to hide it, diamonds on the soles of her shoes, he’s a poor boy, empty as a pocket, empty as a pocket with nothing to lose’ with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. After only a view days in South Africa, Simon was able to sense and articulate one of the fundamental challenges of South Africa – incredible wealth disparity. 30 years later, and despite enormous strides we as a people have taken, this fundamental issue remains as poignant as ever, as highlighted by the youth call around the country for free education for all.

This month Educo Africa honour’s all of the voices in the ‘Fees must Fall’ debate, from the students to the leaders and staff of the institutions, to the government; to even the silent voices of the security personal. So much of the work in South Africa starts with listening. This is what Educo Africa was created to do, to create platforms for people to listen and express to one another their truths in an empowered, non violent and constructive way, without taking from the content of what needs to be said to move forward. We honour those committed to peaceful and rigorous engagement.

This month our newsletter features one such voice from an Educo Africa alumni, EPWP intern and TSiBA Gradui Mlungisi Bundwini on the issue of fees in higher education. Elsewhere, October saw the Sihambela Phambili Programme run the Road Trip 4 Change 2016 project in the Eastern Cape. Sanelisiwe Anathi Lurai shares with us her experience of being part of this inspiring and impactful project. Education without Borders had 12 inspiring young people explore with their cameras a Photographic Weekend at our beautiful base camp in the Grootwinterhoek Nature Reserve. Finally, we celebrate achieving our target of training 200 young people in the Social Enterprise Programme for the Department of Social Development. Read about Madoda Kumalo’s account after attending of these workshops.

October was also a month where we as staff took some time out as staff for a day, practising care for self. “ Being selfish is not a selfish act”. Enjoy some pictures from this day and other courses days in October.

In the final verse Paul Simon sings ‘She said honey take me dancing but they ended up sleeping in a doorway, under the lights and the bodegas on upper Broadway, wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes’. May we as South Africans continue to see the hope in bringing our worlds together despite our differences and fears.

Educo Africa is a youth development organisation started in South Africa in 1994. The first phase of our overarching programme uses wilderness experiential learning as a profound platform for young people to experience their inherit potential. The second phase is a youth movement supporting young people in living their potential, with a specific focus on social and environmental wellbeing.   VISION Young people understanding their roles as powerful agents for change – actively, confidently and positively contributing towards a better global community.   MISSION To develop in young South Africans a sense of vision, initiative, contribution and personal responsibility, with emphasis on taking charge of the future through active citizenship and community building, collaborative leadership, a spirit of Ubuntu, and care for the environment.   EDUCO AFRICA CORE VALUES Diversity – means for us To act in our highest integrity and respect, authenticity and from a place of love for all difference and uniqueness. Openness – means for us To accept challenges as opportunities for experience and learning while being non-judgemental toward everyone and all things. Enthusiasm – means for us To live and pass on our work and vision with passion, care and joy. In doing so we strive for excellence. Inter-connectedness – means for us To treat our inner and outer nature with mindfulness and appreciation, to protect it and care for it, acting in an ecologically sustainable and health conscious manner.

My view on #FeesMustFall Campaign

We live in a world in which the ever rising cost of tertiary tuition is a trend. This has become a problem for South Africa as the majority cannot be able to finance their tertiary tuitions. Mr Nelson Mandela once said “education is the most powerful weapon which we can us to change the world”. Education is indeed a weapon that we can use in order to develop our South African economy, and for our country to have intellectuals that will lead our country to be one of the top developed countries in the world. South Africa is still a developing country and therefore free education is not sustainable for our economy. As South Africans we cannot compare our country with the developed economies that offer free education because these countries are economically prosperous, with some of the highest level of taxation on income is up to 57% in the world. Hence, realistically our country is not in a position to offer free education and therefore it will be a bad idea for free education.

One of the solutions to the fees must fall is through a sliding scale. The sliding scale is based on a person’s ability to pay the fees looking at annual earnings in the household. The sliding scale model motivates an equal distribution of income. For an example TSiBA Education has adopted the sliding scale model, where students pay their tuition based on their family earnings, and the rest is funded by the institutions sponsors. Therefore, those individuals who come from poor or low earning income must pay a certain portion of fees, and the government will finance the rest through other financial sponsorship. Those who can afford to pay the tuitions will have to finance their fees.

In conclusion we need to be realistic that South Africa is a highly unequal capitalist society. Even if the government would approve the #FeesMust Fall campaign, the money has to come somewhere to finance education. We must not forget that government largest revenue is through taxes and therefore that would mean the government will have to increase taxes so that a portion of that percentage gets allocated to education. This will then discourage the labour force and can lead to an increase in job losses and unemployment. It is important as South Africans to use an open mind when it comes to issues to will affect our economy negatively in future and work together and come up with solid and valid solutions that will take this country forward.

On the road trip I learned a lot of things, the first thing I learned is how to mingle with different people from different walks of life, and how to accommodate each and every one of them.

How to come together with people whom you’ve never met before and form a strong team that strives towards achieving a common goal.
I learnt that sitting in silence sometimes does not solve anything you’ve got to speak up and voice out your emotions/views. I learnt that as an individual you should never allow the next person to limit you.

For me the career guidance workshop motivated me to push more. People shared personal struggles they had to go through, their academic challenges; I saw the importance of self-development and what it means to be hungry for success. This encouraged me not to give up on education it does not come easy but it’s worth it. It made me reflect on my personal struggles and see that those challenges cannot hamper with my success. It motivated me to be a better individual who must know the importance of giving back through education.

The road trip also helped me overcome my fear of speaking in public I got out of my comfort zone . It’s hard though with all the people looking and listening to you, but it was a great learning curve for me I’m still getting used to the idea of speaking in public.

It was also great to see the other side of Eastern Cape how people live in other areas. It was just amazing to share space with the young focused people I’m now groomed to be a better person.

I’m now fully aware that giving back is not only about giving money. Investing in a child’s future is a great way to give back!

My name is Madoda Kumalo, I am an employee at the Amandla Edufootball in the area of Gugulethu as a Youth Café Connector. We had a training session from the staff of Educo Africa about Social Enterprise which lasted for two days.

I attended the training as a coordinator of our volunteers to see if they attend or not. Yet what I got from the training was very interesting and information was spot on for me. I took a lot, I even think of opening my own business one next year or the year that follows. Also what was wonderful for me and the guys was:
The energy the team brought with.
The on point information they brought.
Always asking the guys & girls to participate.
The lessons we exciting, informative and relevant to day to day lives.
 
We got to be reminded on the things that are very important in starting a business.
We got why businesses don’t do well if one don’t do good research and look at the market he or she should see demand on. Creating a Budget for your Goal/Business is important for making sure that it will start and stay open as you would know what you will be your Income and Expenditure will be.
 
I am thankful to the efforts the Organization puts out, in training tomorrow’s young business entrepreneurs so to make sure we as people are not afraid in opening our own businesses as we all have great ideas yet don’t know how to go about reaching our goals without fear.

I would love to attend another session to further my knowledge about opening and sustaining my small business one day and learn how my business would give back to the community than only make Profit for only myself alone.
 
Thank you
Madoda Kumalo

Happy Youth Month-Educo Africa June Newsletter 2016

Dear Educo Africa Supporter,

Happy Youth Day for the 16th of June. This month we celebrate young people in South Africa. We also commit to listening to them and supporting them. To honour their voices, our newsletter this month includes three pieces written by our beneficiaries, telling us their inspiring stories and projects.

Out on the courses we run, our BIG TSiBA Education season (13 Personal Development and Leadership Courses) ended on a high note by completing the final courses for the TSiBA Eden Campus in Karatara. We are very thankful that all went smoothly and safely, and are proud of the ‘TSiBAlings’ and all they achieved.
Then in late May, our intrepid course leaders and vehicles were once more on the road to run two courses in the Eastern Cape, one being a Personal Development and Leadership course for 12 young people from the King Williams Town Child and Youth Care Centre, and the second course a Caring for Caregivers course for carers from the same organisation.
 
In other news, there is a bunch of activity happening in our Sihambela Phambili (SP) Programmes (see stories below from young people). Pictured right below: the SP Leadership Team of Educo Africa ‘alumni’ held two ‘Navigation-day Hikes’ at the Echo-Valley Trail in Kalk Bay, and Educo Africa has been selected to be part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) with the Department of Social Development for the fourth year running. We have 20 young people assisting in our office and base camp from the City of Cape Town as well as Porterville region, one of whom, Thotyelwa, has shared some of her story below. Enjoy!

Joining the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)

My name is Thotyelwa Matiso, I live in a township called New Cross Roads in Nyanga and I would like to share my experience in the EPWP Programme.

I grew up in a disadvantaged community where there was a lot of social and economical problems such as unemployment, drug abuse, crime and teenage pregnancy.
 
It has been a good programme for me because before I joined the programme I was unemployed. The best thing about this programme is that it helped me to gain skills and have work experience.
It showed me that Government does care about unemployment in South Africa and it is increasing on a daily basis.

Ever since the EPWP Programme has been implemented things in my life have slowly but surely improved. I am now able to assist at home with groceries. I gained self- confidence as a young woman which was something I struggled with. It is a great feeling to be able to contribute to the economy as well through helping different local businesses.

Through the programme I got the job at Educo Africa as a Trainee Wilderness Facilitator and I got the opportunity to help other young people finding their potential.

My vision is to further my studies in Social Work and to be able to support my family and my community!

Anele Wondo shares about the ‘Swing your Vote Campaign’ from the Making Local Government Work Programme (MLGW), a part of Educo Africa’s Sihambela Phambili initiative.
 
What is #SwingYourVote Campaign?
In the past 7 months a diverse group of youth from different areas of Cape Town have been undergoing a course on public governance, implemented by Educo Africa.  
The hashtag challenges citizens not only to vote, but be involved in the process and structures of democracy by claiming spaces they occupy and not just complain and burn tyres and facilities.

Who we are?
We are a cohort of youth in different areas in the City of Cape Town, (Langa, Kraaifontein, Delft, Khayelitsha and Hanover Park), building relationships with our local government through Accountability and Active citizenship.
 
Stake holders that support the #SwingYourVote Campaign?
There are amazing stakeholders that support our initiative namely: Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), Activate Change Drivers, Rainbow Arts Organisation, Africa Unite, Equal Education, Social Justice Coalition, SenzaUmahluko, City of Cape Town and Light of Life Theatre
 
Support us and get involved:
Diarise the following date for the first MLGW Campaign Event:
25th June 2016 at the Langa Civic Hall
More dates will be sent out in the next Newsletter edition.

Catch us on our Facebook Page: SwingYourVote Campaign
Twitter: @EducoAfrica #SwingYourVote
Email: siphelele@educo.org.za
 

Support a Learner through School Project initiated by one of the Sihambela Phambili (SP) Leadership members; Wendy Sinovuyo Pikelela:

Sihambela Phambili recently supported an initiative called “Support a Learner through School“ at a local school in Mfuleni “Manzomthombo Senior Secondary School“. This took place Saturday 28th of May 2016 where seven Grade 8 learners were taken shopping for uniforms.

It was seen as means of encouragement and reward for their good behaviour and academic performance as identified and chosen by their teachers. School items were bought based on the need of that particular item for each of the learners from grey trousers to shirts and socks. Since the Winter season has started beanies and scarves with the school badge were also bought for the learners. Rain jackets also with the school badge were seen as the need and were purchased for all 7 learners; however one of those was sponsored by one of our SP leadership team member Faith Tererai-Ngam.

The project is ongoing and will continue until the learners reach Grade 12. The parents were part of the hand-over and were very excited and they were grateful to the team for their work and they believe that their learners are going to get the best support.

As one of the parents said “My salary is not enough, therefore I could not afford to buy all these items, Thank you”.

Educo Africa and the Sihambela Phambili Programme looks forward to walking alongside these young pupils and helping them realize and live to their full potential.

 
Educo Africa is a youth development organisation started in South Africa in 1994. The first phase of our overarching programme uses wilderness experiential learning as a profound platform for young people to experience their inherit potential. The second phase is a youth movement supporting young people in living their potential, with a specific focus on social and environmental wellbeing.   VISION Young people understanding their roles as powerful agents for change – actively, confidently and positively contributing towards a better global community.   MISSION To develop in young South Africans a sense of vision, initiative, contribution and personal responsibility, with emphasis on taking charge of the future through active citizenship and community building, collaborative leadership, a spirit of Ubuntu, and care for the environment.   EDUCO AFRICA CORE VALUES Diversity – means for us To act in our highest integrity and respect, authenticity and from a place of love for all difference and uniqueness. Openness – means for us To accept challenges as opportunities for experience and learning while being non-judgemental toward everyone and all things. Enthusiasm – means for us To live and pass on our work and vision with passion, care and joy. In doing so we strive for excellence. Inter-connectedness – means for us To treat our inner and outer nature with mindfulness and appreciation, to protect it and care for it, acting in an ecologically sustainable and health conscious manner.

Educo Africa Wishlist for a this Month!
Our basecamp kitchen and shower areas are in need of a new coat of enamel paint. If you have any enamel paint in your garage that you would like to donate, please send us an email. We would be grateful for any amount in any colour!    www.educo.org.za contact@educo.org.za Find us on Facebook: Educo Africa
ECape Road Trip & Pre Course 2015 (30)

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Educo Africa-May Newsletter 2016

Dear Educo Africa Supporter,

This month’s newsletter celebrates three young individuals in our Sihambela Phambili Programme. The programme is for young South Africans who have been on an Educo Africa wilderness course, to initiate and develop a community upliftment project or activity. The ‘Making Local Government Work’ Project, where young people are learning on how to engage with their local government and develop campaigns to empower other youth to do the same, has Shandré Samantha Slinger from Hanover Park sharing some of her experiences joining the project. A second Making Local Government Work participant Mcebisi Emmanuel Ntonzinde had his comments published on News24, check out the article on http://m.news24.com/news24/MyNews24/it-is-our-duty-to-influence-young-people-to-vote-20160429!
And last but not least, Wendy Pikele, one of our new Sihambela Phambili Programme ‘Leadership Team’ members also shares her experiences realising her full potential.

Out on the wilderness courses, the cooling weather has been playing a big part in the experience of going into the outdoors and even more so when going into the mountains of the Groot Winterhoek Nature Reserve. Our 36 participants who were on 3 separate courses over the past few weeks experienced weather that ranged between -3 degrees and 14 degrees. In those temperatures teamwork is essential and spirits can soar from the learning experience that being out in the elements offers.

This brings us to the subject of donations, yes the monetary ones are crucial to our operation but we also are very thankful for donations of ‘things’. Recently we were most grateful to receive a bakkie-load of coal to help keep the fires that warm participants going. Another wonderful gift has been a donation of various outdoor items from someone who has ‘upgraded’ their camping and hiking equipment. All donations that can help us to keep making a difference in the lives of young people are welcome. In our last letter we requested paint (any paint) to freshen up the rooms at our Outdoor Centre in the mountains, that request still stands!!

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shandre

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Story from a participant from the Making Local Government Work Programme(MLGW)

Hi! I am Shandré Samantha Slinger from Hanover Park, and I would like to share my experience of the programme.

When I first heard about the Programme: ‘Making Local Government Work’; I was excited because I thought that I have a chance now to do good in my community and to know my Ward Councilor as well. I told myself, at that exact moment, that I need to be part of this Programme.

At the first workshop I attended for the MLGW Programme, I felt that I belong and I have a chance to do something I love; and that is to serve the people. The Programme will help my community because it will inform youth and show the importance of their involvement in local government.

The highlight of this programme is that I to know my Ward Councilor and built a connection when it came to community matters. Being able to interview him for the first assignment was exciting, formal but fun. My councilor answered the questions like a seasoned politician.

The workshops were exciting as it gave me an opportunity to visit different locations and engaged with different communities. I came with an idea on how I can implement what I learnt and to give back to my community. I would go to public places such as the Library, Day Hospital and High Schools; and asking them questions: “do you know your Ward Councilor?, Do you know where is your administrative offices?, Do you know who to contact if there is a burst pipe?” The majority of the answers I received was “no”. I then educated them with the knowledge I got from the MLGW programme.

In doing so it was also a way to recruit youth for our campaign. It will be a campaign where the voices of the YOUTH will be heard and reduce the amount of anger and frustration.

The future of South Africa is in our hands. Amandla!
 

New member to the Sihambela Phambili (SP) Leadership Team and let’s hear what she has to say. Meet Wendy Pikelele from Mfuleni; Cape Town

From a very young age, I was never raised to be an individual and stand on my own but was always encouraged to share my knowledge and expertise to those around me. In that way, I also learn from them and gain more about life aspects at large.

I became part of the Sihambela Phambili Leadership Team to help others realise their full potential, to explore and accept their identities. As a young person, who is also not perfect and has made some mistakes in the past and continues to make such, I believe I have a much greater influence on my peers than anyone else ever would. There is no such thing as being too young, age has nothing to do with it but rather the willingness of the heart and the dedication to the work is much more important.

I also believe that as a person, you will always be a piece of a puzzle needed to complete someone else’s life. Sometimes, you are the first piece or maybe the very last one, but what’s important is that you can start today; it’s never too early to make a difference. As the SP Leadership Team we aim to provide as much information to the public, in a completely free and easily accessible manner. As the great Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. We pride ourselves in going an extra mile to lead by example and make our mark.

The vision for the team is to spread our wings and fly across our country and be recognised as young people, and who are willing to sacrifice their time for other young people. As our name states “Sihambela Phambili” meaning Moving Forward so we are not static and are not going to stand in one place and wait to be heard, hence we will go out there and reach out to the youth and let “our voice” the voice of the youth of South Africa be heard. There will be people who say you are wrong simply because of your age. However, those people do not define you. You set your own limitations. The most important thing to remember is that your age is not a liability. It’s a superpower.

And, the next time someone says “You’re rather young, aren’t you?” Say, “Yes, I am.”!
 

Educo Africa is a youth development organisation started in South Africa in 1994. The first phase of our overarching programme uses wilderness experiential learning as a profound platform for young people to experience their inherit potential. The second phase is a youth movement supporting young people in living their potential, with a specific focus on social and environmental wellbeing.   VISION Young people understanding their roles as powerful agents for change – actively, confidently and positively contributing towards a better global community.   MISSION To develop in young South Africans a sense of vision, initiative, contribution and personal responsibility, with emphasis on taking charge of the future through active citizenship and community building, collaborative leadership, a spirit of Ubuntu, and care for the environment.   EDUCO AFRICA CORE VALUES Diversity – means for us To act in our highest integrity and respect, authenticity and from a place of love for all difference and uniqueness. Openness – means for us To accept challenges as opportunities for experience and learning while being non-judgemental toward everyone and all things. Enthusiasm – means for us To live and pass on our work and vision with passion, care and joy. In doing so we strive for excellence. Inter-connectedness – means for us To treat our inner and outer nature with mindfulness and appreciation, to protect it and care for it, acting in an ecologically sustainable and health conscious manner.

Educo Africa Wishlist for a this Month!

Our basecamp kitchen and shower areas are in need of a new coat of enamel paint. If you have any enamel paint in your garage that you would like to donate, please send us an email. We would be grateful for any amount in any colour!    

April Newsletter 2016

Dear Educo Africa Supporter,

We trust that you had a wonderful Easter Weekend and enjoyed the holidays.

March saw the end of our 2015 Expanded Public Works Programme(EPWP) contract which meant that we had to say goodbye to most of the staff who have been gaining experience working and assisting us both on courses, and in the office. Three members are now Associates Facilitators of Educo Africa which means that they join our team that runs courses We congratulate and welcome Megon Prins, Athenkosi Baba and Mbulelo Ncevu to the Associate Team.

We look forward to the 2016 EPWP programme being finalised in May and the 20 new young people who will be joining us this year. Furthermore, the 20 young people that were selected from the Social Enterprise Programme (supported by Department of Social Development), to start and register their businesses.

In the wilderness, April began with 3 Personal Development and Leadership (PDL) courses for University students at TSiBA Education. A PDL Wilderness course has many parts to it that are embedded in the activities that we offer. This includes elements of:

Challenging personal boundaries, going beyond fear and what you think you can do and have never done before.
The joy of achieving a new goal and how you feel about that achievement
Assisting each other across the difficult places
Finding new direction in life and,
Reflecting on ‘who am I?’ and sharing this in a safe space

In other news, Siphelele Chirwa, one
of our Executive members, most experienced facilitators and Sihambela Phambili Programme Manager, recently shared how one of her dreams is reaching many in South Africa.

The Making Local Government Work(MLGW) Programme was broadcasted on a programme on SABC called Walala Wasala earlier this month, and included an interview with Siphelele. Here are some highlights:

What’s your passion?
Youth development and helping young people live into their full potential. I think every young person has so much within themselves and I want to assist them in finding themselves again.

What change are you keen to drive?
The change I am driving is focused on
personal development; I believe that once a person is developed internally that everything else will follow. Youth often struggle to find their true potential because of external challenges that they are facing, such
as poverty and unemployment.
The youth are so weighed down by everything that happens around them, that who they are becomes secondary.

How are you driving change?
I am part the CEO of a non-profit organisation, Educo Africa, my responsibilities include fundraising and facilitating interventions. We believe that the wilderness is the greatest teacher in assisting people to find themselves and take participants on trips to connect with themselves. We include solo nights in the programme that sees participants spend a night in the wilderness on their own.

Understanding the importance of building relationships with local councillors and knowing who they need to contact to deal with various challenges in their community.
We also want to break misconceptions that you need to be affiliated with a certain political party to be involved with local government.
The programme’s workshops are held in partnership with the IEC and Activate! and are held in Kraaifontein, Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Hanover Park, these areas were chosen  because they were political hot spots in the last two years.
We were interviewed under the topic, What is local government on SABC 1’s education programme Walala Wasala. Why do you think you were chosen for this specific show? And what was highlighted on the programme?

The show reinstated the importance of education in South Africa and highlighted that youth require navigation in knowing their local government.  
We discussed the work we do at Educo Africa through our MLGW Programme. Highlighting the vision of the programme, we also raised how we are interacting with youth groups and the topics that are being discussed. For example, “what is The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP)? How does it affect youth, and how do young people get their voices heard in local government?”

How would you describe the experience and its importance?
What I enjoyed most is the exposure the show gave the programme and how it empowers youth.
How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?
Through Activate! I feel supported, being introduced to a network of young like-minded individuals and having opportunities to work with them has been amazing.
I have also used many of the methodologies and trainings I have learned, such as ‘Developing Others While Developing Self and Practicing Democracy’.

These are methodologies that I have also adapted in the MLGW Programme.

Another example is the Theory U, it entails how one deals with a challenge. There have been times that I have been faced with a challenge and I have used this Theory of going outside the problem. Then looking at how others are dealing with their challenges and developed a prototype on what I see or experience.

How do you motivate yourself?
My biggest motivation is not allowing frustration to turn into negativity.
Final comment?
My vision for South Africa’s youth is that we as young people, stop putting boundaries around ourselves. We allow South Africa to box us. We need to challenge the norms and create our future now. That’s what I always do. Live my legacy now. (For more see: http://www.activateleadership.co.za/blog/5-minutes-with-siphelele#sthash.hY0KUoZl.dpuf)

That’s all the time we have for this month, next month we feature two SP participants and what they are doing at Educo Africa. Until then, thanks again for supporting – the Educo Africa Team
 

Educo Africa wish list for the month: Our basecamp kitchen and shower areas are in need of a new coat of enamel paint. If you have any enamel paint in your garage that you would like to donate, please send us an email. We would be grateful for any amount in any colour.TSIBA PDL 6-11 April 2016 (117)Picture1IMG_9799