We are excited to introduce Engage South Africa as one of the members of the International Community. Engage SA invests in the youth to encourage them to make meaningful contributions to society, promoting youth leadership and Civic participation.
At Engage South Africa, we believe that every young person can become a leader, and we are committed to strengthening democracy and human rights in South Africa through the promotion of active youth leadership and civic participation.
We provide youth, particularly high school learners, with a variety of transformational leadership and civic engagement programmes that help them develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to find their voice as young leaders, and provide them with the platforms to learn to participate meaningfully in their schools, communities and democracy at large
Even though South Africa made its transition to democracy 28 years ago and has one of the most progressive and inclusive constitutions globally, recent years have shown a preoccupying weakening of democratic processes and institutions. Inequality, unemployment and corruption have been on a constant rise and many critical issues of social justice are being left widely unaddressed.
Youth between the ages of 14 and 35 comprise 34.7% of the population in South Africa and are the most heavily affected by the rising unemployment, inequality and lack of opportunities. Yet, they are widely excluded from the country’s social, political and economic decision-making and not provided with opportunities to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and platforms for active civic participation and leadership. Data from countless national studies further shows clearly that, contrary to generalised perceptions of “youth being apathetic”, a majority of today’s youth in South Africa is very concerned about social, environmental and political issues.
This combination of youths’ concern for socio-political issues and feeling of disconnection from the country's decision-making bears many risks, and we are convinced that providing opportunities for youth skills development, promoting a meaningful participation of youth in democracy, and creating platforms for the youth's voice to be heard is more important than ever.
As part of our mission to actively create solutions and spaces for young people to engage, we will be hosting a 2-day Youth Advocacy Festival in February 2023 in collaboration with the University of Pretoria Faculty of Humanities. The Festival will provide an engaging platform for 800+ high school learners, youth leaders, civil society organisations and educational institutions to strengthen leadership and advocacy skills, share best practice, network and get inspired to actively co-shape a better South Africa.