Building a new cohort of Youth Leaders that advocate for Safer Communities in SA – Blog
The Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention Programme (VCP) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and its partners trained over 120 young people as youth leaders and ambassadors of safer communities in two provinces, Gauteng and Eastern Cape. This training took place between October 2017 and April 2018. The purpose of this training was capacity-building of young leaders who can then contribute to the building of safer communities and to reducing crime and violence, which is on the rise in South African communities. Through this training, these youth leaders are provided with tools on risk and protective factors to analyse the crime-hotspots in their communities, the perpetrators, victims and ways to deter the youth from acts of violence and crime.
Who is behind the YCPD Leadership Training?
The Youth Crime Prevention Desk (YCPD) Leadership Training is a joint initiative between the VCP, Gauteng Department of Community Safety (GP DoCS), the Department of Safety and Liaison in the Eastern Cape Province (EC DSL), the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Community Policing Forums (CPFs). After successful completion of the training, the youth inspire change in other youth.
Beneficiaries of the YCPD Leadership Training
The training ran parallel in the two provinces and was implemented by Masifunde Learner Development, an NGO that works to activate youth on the topic of youth leadership towards safer communities. To sustain support for the youth leaders, the training also focused on youth mentors who work with and support the YCPDs. These youth mentors include SAPS Social Crime Prevention officials and officials from the Provincial Departments of Safety. The mentors are trained to facilitate trainings and support and mentor the youth leaders.
Feedback from the Participants
One session which particularly stood out for most of the participants was a session on ‘dealing with conflict’, where they participated in an exercise to experience a real situation of conflict and thereafter assess the situation and develop ways to better deal with conflicts in the future.
When asked what their views on the training were, this is what they had to say:
“It has opened my mind into knowing my community better, so we can have a safer environment and prevent crime from happening”.
The youth mentors also came forward to give their views on the training:
“We need training like this to guide us to serve our communities better. As coordinators we will stand by our youth members and activate the rest of the youth in the community.”
In conclusion, through the YCPD Leadership Training, youth leaders are equipped and empowered to develop a better understanding of social crime prevention approaches and concepts and learn to implement violence and crime prevention activities in their respective communities with other young people. As a result, youth leaders learn to address crime proactively, as opposed to reacting or participating in it.