A day in the life of a Child and Youth Development Manager – Afrika Tikkun

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A day in the life of a Child and Youth Development Manager – Afrika Tikkun

Published on: December 13th, 2023

Afrika Tikkun will reach over 600 poor South African youth through our long-term commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. We sat down with Child and Youth Development (CYD) Manager, Siphokazi Mbalo to discuss the Mfuleni centre and the positive impact of the award on young people.

I have worked for Afrika Tikkun for about 15 years. I started as a facilitator and am now a Child and Youth Development Manager. We started the Duke of Edinburgh’s International award (DOEI) last year. I love working with young people and seeing how they grow as individuals.

In my day-to-day role, I manage a team of 18, attending daily meetings (online and face-to-face), carrying out on-the-job coaching and training facilitators to ensure that our work is up to standard. We strive for excellence.

A lot of societal issues plague Mfuleni. There is unemployment and a lack of public transport with many people increasingly reliant on expensive taxis. Sometimes we see young people getting involved in gangs or selling drugs within the community. Many of our young people live with grannies, rather than their own mothers and fathers, because some of them don’t feel ready to take responsibility.

The most important outcome of the programme is to build independence in young people. A key advantage of DOEI is that it encourages decision-making, benefitting our community by teaching our young people to be independent thinkers. By contributing to their communities through volunteering, young people demonstrate self-discipline, equipping them to advocate for change.

The expedition has been a breakthrough for many of our young people. They have learnt how to work as a team: how to encourage one another, push their limits and share how they are doing. If one is struggling they can learn from someone else.

It has also given them the opportunity to explore places beyond their community and appreciate nature. In an informal settlement, the proximity of housing is so close that many young people do not have access to a yard or open space. Now, they know they can go and enjoy nature and appreciate it.

We’re looking forward to the next expedition. We have learned a lot from the last year and what to expect from the Bronze and Silver awards. We are really looking forward to our first Gold award, excited about the next phase of the programme in 2024 and looking forward to changing more lives and mindsets.

Further reading: Stonehage Fleming supports the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award