Category: Game-changing Leaders | Youth leadership pathways | 25 January, 2014 - 06:00← BACK
One only has to come in contact with the written, audio or visual media to realise that South African communities are desperately calling out for leaders that are honest and trustworthy role models. It is often said that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow and that if we want to see communities transformed in the future we need to start by transforming the youth. If we can educate them to become responsible and caring human beings, they are the ones that can make the difference in the future.
2. GETTING YOUTH INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The Junior Community Chest of Sasolburg was founded to transform youth into leaders that the people can respect. Through their membership in the Community Chest, they gain skills that can be utilised to benefit their schools and also their communities, and they have the opportunity to display their leadership capacity by assisting those around them. The Junior Community Chest is the second phase of a programme called Generation@, currently running at selected schools in the Greater Vaal Triangle.
Junior Community Chest aims to develop young inspirational leaders through personal leadership development. The programme helps young people build leadership and entrepreneurial skills and equips them to become change agents in their community.
The Generation@ school programme – The young learners participating in our Generation@ school programmes are challenged to identify a project in their schools or neighbourhood where they can help out or serve, for the benefit of others. The purpose of this initiative is to teach them practical leadership and problem-solving capabilities, and to give them a chance to acquire much needed administration skills by participating in a structured civic group.
The Junior Community Chest – This initiative was designed to extend the Generation@ schools programme beyond the school environment and into the community. This gives learners the opportunity to use what they are taught in school to the benefit of their communities, and to make it more practical.
Structure: Learners become volunteer members of the Junior Community Chest. The Community Chest groups are structured and consist of 5 portfolios: chairperson, secretary, finance, public relationships, and organiser. These groups meet monthly or weekly depending on the need. The individual members receive training in good management and leadership, goal setting, planning, time management, fund raising, and general organisational and business skills.
Activities: After training, the Junior Community Chest members identify a need/issue within their school or community that they want to address as a group. Then they set out a plan and a strategy to address the issue, and begin fundraising. Funds are either self-generated by initiating creative ways to involve their communities or by getting donations from local businesses. All the funds raised by the Junior Community Chest are matched by DG Murray Trust funding. These funds have been used, for example, to purchase food parcels, or uniforms or jerseys for children who are in need. An example of another project involved a home makeover for a family of 7 living in a 2-bedroom RDP house. It was transformational for all the stakeholders involved.
3. MEASURING PROGRAMME SUCCESS
The measure of each project’s success can be determined by how well the group members:
A Swot-analysis, which is a structured planning and evaluation method, was used to measure the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in their projects. The findings revealed that through this programme the youngsters gain the following:
The strongpoint is that as a small group they can work well as a team, using each member’s particular knowledge, skills and personality to the maximum potential to achieve goals.
They can gain opportunities including skills development, creating sustainable projects, and teaching other young people how to make a difference in their communities from an early age.
They encounter some challenges including logistical issues arising from delayed delivery of supplies and funds from sponsors and donors.
They learn to recognise their weaknesses such as being dependent on the goodwill of others, which can limit their ability to achieve their goals as desired.
4. BENEFITS OF BEING A JUNIOR COMMUNITY CHEST MEMBER
Learners have reported that the Junior Community Chest not only benefits the community, but also the members themselves. They found it a place where they can share their feelings openly and work as a team towards a good purpose. Learners commented that they’ve learnt to be committed to a specific purpose and not just focus on their own needs, but also those of the needy. They learnt to face challenges, identify possible solutions, and take responsibility for making improvements in their communities. Furthermore, they did so by working as a purpose driven team. Many indicated that they learnt to communicate respectfully, be more organised and take control of their actions, and become honest leaders and to lead by example.
In conclusion, groups such as the Junior Community Chest are beneficial for its members as well as their communities. By transforming individuals, they can become better citizens that are equipped to make a difference in their schools and communities.
1 Finlaystreet Sasolburg Free State
This Junior Community Chest creates formal volunteer opportunities for youth where they can learn civic leadership and organisational skills. In this learning brief other organizations can learn practical ways to launch and run youth groups that promote civic-mindedness.