The overall winners at the ninth annual Youth Citizens Actions Programme (Y-CAP) National Championships held in Hoedspruit on Saturday, 28 July 2018 were Gauteng’s De Deur Primary School and the Eastern Cape’s Solomon Mahlangu High inKwanobuhle, Uitenhage, which both focused on food security projects.
The event forms part of an initiative by Empowervate Trust – in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education – to provide young learners with project management, social entrepreneurship and life skills through the Y-CAP Toolkit and workshops, as well as give them a platform to showcase their impactful and sustainable projects at district, provincial and national level.
Although South Africa’s National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP), administered by the Department of Basic Education, is currently feeding an estimated 9,2 million learners in 19 800 schools across South Africa, the learners noted that schools do not provide enough food as the learners only receive one meal a day. They believe their food security solutions will help their peers cope academically and live a well-balanced life.
Y-CAP Founder and CEO, Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, says more than 700 schools, comprising thousands of primary and secondary school learners from the country’s nine provinces, registered to participate in Y-CAP in 2018. “District and provincial events took place during Youth Month and Mandela Month to identify the most impactful and sustainable projects in each category in the various provinces. The 18 provincial winning teams in the nine primary and nine secondary school categories presented their projects in Hoedspruit.”
Blankfield-Koseff says the event is the highlight on the Y-CAP calendar as it inspires, motivates and acknowledges South Africa’s future leaders.
“This is a celebration of active citizenship which will move our country forward. All finalists are already winners because of the upliftment they brought to their schools and communities. The national winning projects will be celebrated for their innovative and impactful solutions and they will be role models for future participants but nobody loses with Y-CAP,” says Blankfield-Koseff.
The finalists had personal development workshops with our coach, Ilana Bernstein on Friday when they arrived. Feedback from one of the learners was “I was always too scared to be myself but after the workshop, I realised I can!”. They also had two motivational speakers – Mlungisi Mathebula who is the Teen Zone presenter on SABC’s Ligwalagwala FM radio and Xolani Sampies, a child and youth development practitioner who has been empowering young people to achieve their potential for many years.”
Mr Stanley Radebe, CES of Curriculum from the Mpumalanga Department of Education welcomed the group of 219 people to the event and described the beauty of his province and how it is a privilege for the learners from across the country to have this opportunity to visit through Y-CAP. He also said he wishes Y-CAP could go international to expose learners to the wider world.
Deputy Director of Social Cohesion and Equity in Education from the Department of Basic Education, Ms Malebo Lefoka, spoke about how the nine-year collaboration between the Department of Basic Education and Empowervate Trust (initially Afrika Tikkun) was making positive changes in schools, communities and individuals’ lives. “The impactful projects that the Y-CAP teams presented showcased the legacy of Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu in the centenary year – bravo to all the teams that participated,” says Ms Lefoka. The Deputy Director went on to say that the social cohesion that Y-CAP brings will help to decrease the racism and intolerance that we face in our country.
Prizes for the National Champions included R5000 for the Primary School team and R10,000 for the Secondary School team to use to expand their projects as well as tablets for all the learners.
The programme’s major sponsors through Empowervate Trust are Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation, DSV Mounties and CAF Southern Africa. Donations-in-kind have been received from Swadini Forever Resort, UNISA, Airlink, Europcar, FCB Foundation, Ster-Kinekor, Sanitech, Penguin Books, Nova Marketing, JaxonLink and Boston City Campus.
“We are grateful for our sponsors’ support. With their investment in the next generations of active citizens, we are able to encourage youth to be proactive members of society who find solutions to problems and have a service-mindset, “concludes Mrs Blankfield-Koseff.
The 2018 Y-CAP National Champions
1. Gauteng – De Deur Primary – The Feeding Scheme and Helping Children in need
2. North West – Are Itshokeng Primary – Violence amongst learners leading to bullying
3. KZN – Cornfields Primary – Hygiene
1. Eastern Cape – Solomon Mahlangu High – Transforming our school’s nutrition programme
2. Northern Cape – Wrenchville High – Dimpho Project – Suicide Awareness and Prevention
3. Mpumalanga – Mashishing Secondary – Behaviour problems that cause absenteeism, bullying and gambling taking place in the toilets