The Youth Development Network (YDN) was borne out of sincere love of young people, a firm belief in their potential and a deep desire to enable them to play an active role in changing their lives and that of their communities. It was forged out of the realization that more than 90% of CWP participants are young people many of whom are eager to make a difference in their communities. They have and continue to display immense hunger to learn and be involved in meaningful activity.
This programme is designed to build leadership capacity and skills amongst young people, with specific focus placed on empowering them to become community development leaders and managers, as well as productive and thriving adults.
It is envisaged that the YDN will become a fully fledged youth development programme that addresses the broader developmental needs of youth, in contrast to deficit-based models which tend to focus solely on youth problems. Young people need some guidance as they seek out their place in the world.
In Football4Youth, 32 local coaches at a CWP site go through an intensive course accredited by SAFA, to provide football and lifeskills coaching to youth in schools. Around 1200 youth in each site participate in the programme and form soccer leagues. SAFA Development Agency hosts this initiative, and accredits qualified coaches with a D Certificate, for grassroots coaching. A Youth Mentorship programme hosted by Phaphama Initiatives complements this activity and engages a network of local stakeholders in systemic violence and crime prevention initiatives, based on peer mentorship at schools. A partnership with SOMAFCO around youth leadership and entrepreneurship completes the array of youth focused initiatives.