702_radio.zipIt was not an ordinary Sunday morning for the Ebony Park Branch Coordinator and three eager Ikamvanites on the 11th of March 2012. This is because by 5:30am the four were at the Talk Radio 702 studios ready to tell South Africa on live radio, how being Ikamvanites has changed their lives drammatically.
The talk show host, Quereshini Naidoo, was so excited to see all these bright faces surrounding her and immediately began to ask a series of questions concerning what IkamvaYouth does and how they achieve their goals.The learners were asked why they joined IkamvaYouth, what they struggled with at school and how they have are giving back to society after being given such an opportunity.
Some of the listeners called in and sent messages asking the Coordinator and the Ikamvanites questions and it became very apparent that there is so much more work to be done to help the South African township youths to get good education and ultimately access into tertiary. The conclusion of the interview was a profound message from the Ikamvanites, “If you want change, it begins with you. Change is up to you, you can be whatever you want to be”
This past weekend of the 3rd and 4th March our Makhaza held their 2012 Strategic Planning Weekend. It was an excellent opportunity for volunteers, tutors and leaner reps to participate in core operational planning and goal setting.
The Main goal of our SPW was to elect a branch committee (in charge of roles and portfolios) and for new volunteers (grade12 from last year returning) to take ownership of programme and become part of the management team. It was also a great weekend for the leaner reps and tutors to get to know each other better.
Being a branch committee member isn’t easy, with the prestige comes a huge amount responsibility and high expectations from the rest of the learners and tutors to raise the branch up for the year and provide quality programmes.
We decided to shake things up a little this weekend and work together to provide all the branches with a working document that is the branch com constitution, outlining why it exists, the main aims and goals as well as cementing responsibilities of the various programmes.
Unathi Smile, a volunteer and intern at Makhaza says, ‘the weekend was a great experience for many of us, but speaking for myself it was a brilliant way of putting things in perspective. Saturday afternoon, what I took with me is that, 26 heads are so much better than 1 head, meaning if one person had to sit and think about burning issues at IkamvaYouth Makhaza branch, that would not have been a great experience and I assure that somebody would have taken time in thinking about these and finding solutions at the same time. Sunday morning was just too good to be true, learner reps appointed members of the branch comm. and I am proud to say that I was appointed for two portfolios, namely, Career Guidance and Computer (Khan Academy).
We had to present goals, what needs to be done to reach that particular goal, by when the goals should be reached and by whom. I have no experience of leading a team but it is great to learn and persevere at the same time meeting the needs of the learners and those of the Makhaza IkamavaYouth branch. I have taken away with me memories and have learned that one must not under estimate the ability of others.’
Zesipho Dyonase, Grade 9, says that “I have learnt that you don’t have to hold back any ideas or views that you have, you must voice them out. I have taken away with me the spirit of working together as a team, through that spirit, nothing can bring IkamvaYouth down.”
And our youngest branch comm member, confident and outspoken Grade 8 learner Luxhase Yokwana, head of tutoring says “I had so much fun, and definitely took away a lot of things, one of them being able to work with other learners from different grades. My parents were so proud of me when I told them that I am in the IkamvaYouth Makhaza branch committee, what is left of the Ikamvanites now is to put the plans into action.”
Read the full report here and have a look at our new Branch Comm Constitution
Our new Branch Committee 2012!
Plans become action lists
Puthang running through why we exist and the issues faced at the branch
All of IkamvaYouth’s programmes are delivered ‘for’/’by’ the youth rather than ‘to’ the youth. IkamvaYouth’s methodology is based on a learner-centred model that values democratic decision-making at the branch and national level, paying-it-forward, learner ownership, operational transparency, and peer-to-peer learning.
IkamvaYouth values the need to create a culture of responsibility and works in a way that gives learners responsibility for their peronsal actions but also raises their awareness of the consequences and impact of their actions on others. The SPW is a key mechanism to raise this awareness and create this sense of democracy, transparency, and accountability.
At the SPW the Branch Committee is elected, which maintains this democratic youth-led structure. Each branch’s management committee (branchcom) is voted annually and everyone (including parents, partner organisations, learners, community leaders) is welcome to participate in branchcom meetings held every two weeks. Everyone gets one vote; official branchcom members get two. Everything is discussed openly and transparently (including salaries, performance reviews, budget decisions etc.) and everyone gets a say in how things are done at the branch level.
The BranchCom is elected at the beginning of each school year at the Strategic Planning Weekend (SPW). This year at Masiphumelele it was spread across 3 weekends.30 learners attended the 1st session to find out more and then a core group of 15 maintained an interest in participating in the decision-making process. The 3 sessions were great and encouraged learners to think about their needs and wants within the programme and even touched on external concerns that could be addressed through Ikamva.
The 1st BranchCom meeting will be held on the 12th March and the BranchCom will be officially elected. Through this system, learners are really owning their choices and valuing their input into branch decisions. It is truly special to see this and it is what makes IkamvaYouth an innovative and exciting programme.
Please see the SPW report for an overview of what was discussed and how participation was fostered.
On the first day 30 learners arrived to find out how they could get involved