3-day Youth For Safer Communities Summit at Willows Resort

BY EDEM FOLI - DECEMBER 2, 2014

While most of PE’s learners begin their summer holidays this week, 80 learners from 33 schools across Nelson Mandela Bay are attending a 3 day annual summit to help find practical solutions for safety and crime prevention in our communities.

Like most provinces in South Africa, the Eastern Cape is battling with high rates of crime and violence. One of the major challenges faced by young people in our Metro is the high youth unemployment rate and poverty, which leads to the attraction of our youth to a life of crime.

The Youth for Safer Communities (YSC)  project is an initiative, which began in 2012, through a collaboration between Masifunde Learner Development and GIZ. The project aims to encourage young people to recognise the role that they can play in the creation of community safety.

The focus of this year’s Youth For Safer Communities summit is to come up with practical solutions to the challenges which the Mandela Bay’s Municipal Community Safety Forum (CSF) has come across.  The school delegates, will look at the CSF’s challenges, the major causes of crime and violence in Nelson Mandela Bay and discuss what the youth could do to help solve these challenges. The YSC schools will then put together a plan of action for 2015 and present it on the last day of the Summit.

The delegates will also be encouraged to act as local heroes next year. Together, they will define the characteristics of a local hero and aim to emulate those characteristics during the cause of 2015. At the end of 2015 they will meet again to evaluate themselves and see who has become or developed into a local hero.

The aim of Youth For Safer Communities is for learners to become change-makers (active role models) inspiring change within their communities by initiating  extra-curricular projects and activities  such as drama, debating and empowerment through mentors and peer helpers.

The hope is that these initiatives will give our youth something constructive, meaningful and positive to do with their time, thereby keeping them off the streets and  helping reducing the rate of crime within their communities.

The Youth for Safer Communities summit will run from Monday 1 December to Wed 3 December at Willows Resort and Conference Centre.