An implementation study of the National Youth Policy : a case study of the Youth Advisory Programme in the National Youth Development Agency, Pietermaritzburg Office.
Kampala, Chrispin Chikumbutso.
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Youth development in South Africa remains one of the greatest challenges. Due to the legacy of apartheid policies and the existing gaps in current policies, most young people still face socio-economic challenges, such as a high rate of unemployment, poverty, lack of business opportunities, lack of skills and a high rate of HIV infection, among other health-related challenges. The advent of democracy transformed the government’s response to the needs of young people. New policies and legislative documents have been formulated since 1994. As part of constant efforts to promote youth welfare, in November 2008, the government launched the National Youth Policy (NYP). The policy stands as an essential guiding tool for youth development in the country. It stresses that mainstreaming youth development requires not only transformation of municipal structures, but also a deliberate willingness of leaders, and that their existing economic policies, strategies, programmes and institutions consider youth priorities. The government established the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to spearhead co-ordination of youth development. In the Msunduzi Municipality, NYDA is guided by the Youth Advisory Programme that translates the policy at a local level. The purpose of this research was to ascertain whether or not the NYP is being implemented in the municipality through the Youth Advisory Programme. Through a case study done at the NYDA office, the findings indicate that the programme focuses on economic empowerment. First, activities concentrate on career development, which is mainly directed at technical skills, writing and communication skills of the youth, both in and out of school. Second, activities concentrate on entrepreneurial development, which means increasing entrepreneurial culture, business managerial capacities and book-keeping, thereby contributing to sustainable human development. However, for the programme to be effective, it needs a holistic approach to development. It must thus focus on all four pillars of the NYP, namely health and wellbeing, education, economic empowerment and social cohesion. For this to happen, the NYDA needs both financial and human resources, which currently, are under-resourced. Shortage of human and financial resources will continue to hamper youth development in the branch.
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