Why Engage South Africa?
We believe that young people have the power to change our societies for the better and we are convinced that our youth can play an important role in shaping a better South Africa and world.
What do we do?
We help young people discover the knowledge, skills and platforms to find their voices as young leaders and become active and contributing members of their schools, communities and the country at large.
With “my.voice” we provide leadership and civic education programmes and workshops for youth that:
- increase critical thinking skills
- build self-awareness and confidence
- develop youth leadership skills
- promote the ability to debate and dialogue effectively
- increase awareness about relevant local, national and global topics
- provide the understanding to participate actively in democracy
- foster youth’s passion and capacity to lead positive social change
- connect youth across social, economic, cultural and political divides
Over the past decade, we have globally been witnessing a decline in the quality of democracy in many ways that has negatively affected human rights and fuelled radical ideologies and more autocratic forms of governance. People’s distrust in the political elites has equally been on the rise in many countries.
Data from the International Youth Foundation’s 2017 Global Youth Wellbeing Index shows clearly that today’s youth is very concerned about social and political issues, but feels disconnected from their government and excluded from decision-making. According to the study, 90% of surveyed youth globally consider inequality a major concern, 92% of youth in Sub-Saharan Africa is very concerned about corruption and 83% of South African youth agrees that the government does not care about their wants and needs.
This combination of youths’ concern for socio-political issues and feeling of disconnection from the political decision-making bears many risks, particularly in South Africa, where 41% of the population are between the ages of 14 and 35 (UNFPA) and the economic situation is increasingly critical.
Promoting youth leadership to create a strong and meaningful participation of youth in democracy, as well as providing platforms for the youth’s voice to be heard is therefore more important than ever.
my.voice is a Leadership and Civic Education programme for youth in South Africa that helps young people discover the knowledge, skills and platforms to participate meaningfully in democracy and find their voice as young leaders.
It specifically promotes and measures the participants’ development in:
The programme was developed by our team of education and teaching professionals from University of Oxford (UK), Windesheim University (Netherlands), University of Johannesburg and Monash South Africa in collaboration with experienced local youth facilitators.
my.voice is offered at high schools, community centres, youth clubs, TVET colleges and universities. All programmes are highly interactive and are not “taught”, but explored and experienced – through debates, group works, games, role play, reflective activities and a variety of methods and tools that turn it into a life-changing and fun learning experience for the participants. All our facilitators are trained in transformational training methodologies and have experience facilitating different groups.
- my.voice toolkits for youth to start their own school or community initiatives
- my.voice mentoring support for youth-led initiatives
- my.voice online Youth Conversations
- my.voice events and social media campaigns
Customised workshops and trainings
We further provide a variety of customized leadership and civic engagement workshops and trainings for youth and adults that:
- Develop soft skills for leadership and work readiness
- Prepare school leaders for their role
- Build team cohesion
- Promote self-development and critical thinking
- Improve the ability to communicate and dialogue effectively
A connected democratic South Africa, co-created by civically engaged Youth
To actively promote youth leadership and civic engagement to strengthen democracy and human rights in South Africa
- To equip youth with the knowledge, skills and confidence for active leadership and civic engagement
- To empower and support youth to be co-creators of community-based action for human rights and democracy
- To connect youth to platforms and decision-making spaces where they can exercise their civic rights and responsibilities
Engage South Africa / Engage For All NPC does not affiliate with any particular political party, religion or ideology. We promote honest and constructive dialogue, awareness, non-violence and positive engagement of youth in society. We believe in human rights, responsibility, freedom of choice and the power of diversity. We actively promote equality in terms of gender, race and economic opportunities and condemn all forms of discrimination.
Our organisational structure:
In order to ensure long-term financial sustainability, we function as a social hybrid business: Our Non-Profit Branch Engage For All NPC is eligible for grants and donations and able to bring my.voice to the most disadvantaged schools and communities in South Africa, while the Engage South Africa business works with private high schools and clients on a fee-paying basis, thereby generating an income thats supports the Non-Profit Branch. The administration, banking and financials of Engage For All NPC and Engage South Africa are kept separate at all times to ensure full transparency. All donations go exclusively to Engage For All NPC and our work with disadvantaged schools.
We are a dynamic and growing team with members from all different walks of life, united by our passion for youth, education and social change. Click on each name for the LinkedIn profile.
- 2017 McGuire International Business Award
- 2019 “Together we’re better” Youth Prize by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation: 2nd place for Community Prize
- 2019 Mail & Guardian 200 most influential young South Africans Award for co-founder Thembile Ndlovu
Collaborations and Funders:
- Leopold Bachman Foundation
- Canada Fund for Local Initiatives
- Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa
- AGYI – GIZ and African Union
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
- Koordination Südliches Afrika
- Hlanganisa Institute for Development and Cooperation in Southern Africa
- McGuire International Business Award
- University of Johannesburg
- University of Pretoria
- step into action Switzerland
- Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
- Youth Capital
- Community Ministries Muldersdrift
- Bukho Bami Youth Centre
- Agang Bokamoso Youth Centre
- Open Up
- Tomorrow People Program
- Swiss-South African Cooperation Initiative SSACI
- Variety of high schools in Gauteng and Mpumalanga Provinces
- Private donors nationally and internationally
What our alumni say about us:
“What I enjoyed the most was the way everything was taught, the fact that we were very involved and we had a lot of fun.”
“I enjoyed the fact that my.voice made me realize that I am also an important person in the world and that I can make a change.”
“my.voice is a great course for our learners, very well packaged, going from personal to global active participation. This will definitely go a long way to transform our country and even the world.” (Mr. Nkosi, school principal)
“my.voice has challenged the way I see and think about life and the things around me. I have realised that things like state forms, the government, economy and social issues actually affect me as well. my.voice also helped me realise that I do have the ability to lead and be a leader and that I can do anything I put my mind to.”
“my.voice allowed me to be more aware and knowledgeable on political, social and environmental issues. It has been a safe space to think about who I really am. I feel more confident in myself and in my knowledge and understanding of how the world works. It made me want to act and support environmental campaigns and organizations.”
“my.voice changed or rather influenced the way I think a lot because I usually thought that all the constraints/problems that we have as a country or communities are issues that only the government must deal with, not us. But now I know that us as the youth or future leaders of tomorrow, we can make a change in our society.”
“my.voice has definitely made me open my eyes to how the world operates and the many other options of how it could operate. I have thought more out of the box and been open to different views and beliefs. It has taught me how to listen rather than just speak. I am more aware of many things and that encourages me to be more involved in community.”
“Because of my.voice, I have gone from being the person who sits back in the corner and agrees to whatever people have to say to being a person who is now able to speak for whatever I feel is right. The course has changed my thoughts about people around us, our community and all the living things. It has made me feel like a leader, like I owe it to my community to promote change and help everyone to live freely and comfortably.”
“my.voice really changed the way I see the world. Today I see the world as a place that needs us as teenagers to change it and save it. my.voice influenced the way I act towards others. I learned how to treat and respect others, regardless of their colour, race, religion, work, community and gender. We are all the same. The course made me feel happy because I learned a lot and I had more fun than I had before. I feel great and awesome because my.voice brought positive change in my life.”
“The my.voice course has been an eye-opening journey for me. It helped me to learn more about what a young leader can do to change the world, using our thinking to find solutions for everyday environmental, economic and social problems and then taking action. It helped me realise that there is so much that I can do as a young leader to change the environment I live in for the better. I have grown my skills for public speaking, debating and leadership. It has helped me see the leader in me and has made me become a creative citizen.”
my.voice Alumni Network
The my.voice Alumni Network is a platform designed for youth who have completed a my.voice programme or workshop and would like to stay connected and engaged.
It offers alumni a participatory network where they can practice and strengthen their leadership skills, gain information on educational and professional opportunities, network with other alumni, get support to implement their community initiatives and learn to organise in a democratic structure.
my.voice – leadership and civic education for youth
my.initiative – promoting youth-led civic initiatives