The exciting thing about working for an organisation that is for youth and by youth is that you can experiment with technology and come up with innovative ways to make machines work for your benefit.

IkamvaYouth has been working on IkamvaYouth-in-a-box which aims to translate the experiences that many Ikamvanites have collected over the years into an information pack. This information pack seeks to turn this information into knowledge that will give Ikamvanites the power to drive the learning revolution. 

This super high tech system will enable us to store information in a central database that will make all the information accessible to those who need it. Since we will be working on a model that is based on Open Source, all our templates for reporting financially, programmatically and operationally will be available to everyone who wants to use it. That translates to 1 goal for sharing and 0 for selfishness with information!

An important topic of discussion this afternoon was on tutor recruitment and retention. The different branches have had similar experiences with tutors not staying with the organisation, which has resulted in a lack of continuity with the relationship that tutors have with learners. Possible solutions to this challenged were proposed by various Ikamavanites including:

* introducing tutors to the vision of Ikamva so that they can have the holistic view that the rest of us have of the programme

* getting tutors to tell us what their expectations of Ikamva are so that we can better meet them

* Encourage strong tutor/ learner relationships so that tutors can see their relationship as being primarily with the learners, who we all seek to serve, rather than just pleasing members of the organisation. This means tutors should see themselves as being contracted to the learners rather than Ikamva. Ikamva is there to facilitate the relationship between tutors and the learners who benefit from the knowledge that these young people bring with them.

* letting tutors know that they are valued and showing appreciation by organising social activities that will also strengthen the bond between tutors and give them an avenue to get to know each other better (this includes management!)

* recommendation letters will also be written for tutors who have shown commitment to the organisation  

* Each branch is to host a Strategic Planning Weekend that includes tutors and volunteers so that they can contribute ideas to the work to be done. This also ensures that tutors understand that they OWN Ikamva in the same way that the learners also own the organisation. 

Phillip Mcelu, a former learner and committed volunteer from the Makhaza branch said, “[volunteering has helped me through what I have learned. Knowing that learners look up to me and knowing what I do for them helps them, makes me feel good”. 

Therefore we need to retain as many tutors as possible and make sure that they also have gains for the precious time and knowledge that they give for free to committed learners with big dreams. Ikamva is currently looking at ways of incentivising these selfless young people for their contributions. Watch this space…