Advancing Social Innovation

Catalysts for Social and Economic Change

Education Innovations & Youth

Youth Innovators Review

Simply put, when it comes to our youth we need to shift the needle. The multidimensional disenfranchisement experienced by young people in this country seems to only get worse. This is no “country for young people” the statement rings harsh but for many this is all too true, in a report released by the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), an independent policy analysis and advocacy organisation, in 2019 it was found that more than 41% of South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34 (20 million), are not in any form of education, training or employment.

Aside from the human cost implied in these numbers, the lost hopes, dreams and plans for a better life of individuals and their families, they represent tragic loss of human capital which, in turn, translates into a crisis for the economy.

There is no silver bullet for these issues facing our young people, and no one single individual or entity can solve all these problems. What is required, is a multi-sectoral, systems-wide effort that looks to build on strengths, works from evidence, and leverages off existing opportunities so that holistic development can be achieved. If we want to reverse this trend, we need to act swiftly, decisively and collaboratively – we need to do things differently. Before doing that however, we need to know who is out there and what they are doing.

While exact figures on just how many NGO’s exist within the South African ecosystem are very hard to find, a report by the Kagiso Trust released in 2019, which analysed data from the department of social development database amongst many, estimated that there were just over 200 000 registered NPO’s -of which a vast majority focus on youth development-. The high volumes of organisations operating within the general NPO sector, as well as the year-on-year increase of new organisations coming into the space, for us, is indicative of the desire on the parts of many South Africans to live out the true spirit of Ubuntu – by helping others.

With a worsening of the issues many of our young people face on a day-to-day basis, the imperative for NGO’s, governments and others involved in youth development to get it right is that much more apparent. The need for best practice to be shared and replicated as much as possible, is even higher. While a handful of innovations capture national and global attention, there is very little information on the scale, scope, and impact of the numerous organizations and social enterprises that make up the youth development ecosystem. To address this The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship are embarking on a systems wide landscaping piece to identify and uncover effective, affordable, and inclusive innovations within the youth development sector. This project involves the writing up of 120 case profiles, half of which will be compiled into a Youth Development Innovation Review. The profiles and review will showcase innovative work happening within the youth development sector, with the aims of (but not limited to):

  • Highlighting best practice
  • Shining a light on the people doing work (celebrating)
  • Fostering collaboration
  • Maximising efficiency by highlighting which interventions have created impact- adding to the evidence base of what works.

If you would like to get in touch with the team about this piece of work please do not hesitate to do so.