Delegation of the European Union to South Africa

Supporting youth organisations in South Africa

South Africa, 14/06/2017 - 15:41, UNIQUE ID: 170614_6

Supporting youth organisations in South Africa


©Enke: make your mark

South Africa is a youthful country where almost 60% of the population[1] is made up of young people and a 55% of the working age population[2] is made up of youth. Young people face many challenges such as : unemployment and joblessness; high drop-out rates and inadequate skills development; poor health, high HIV/AID prevalence, high rate of violence and substance abuse; lack of access to sporting and cultural opportunities, lack of social cohesion and volunteerism and inadequate framework for youth work[3]. Traditionally viewed as part of the problem or programmes beneficiaries, young people have not been always successfully integrated in decision-making and development programmes which affect their life.

The South African National Youth Policy recognises that young people are "a major human resource for development, often acting as key agents for social change, economic expansion and innovation. Their imagination, ideals, energy and vision are essential for the continuous development of society." The 2009 EU Council resolution on a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018) recognises that "Young women and men have a crucial role to play in meeting the many socio-economic, demographic, cultural, environmental and technological challenges and opportunities" of today.[4]

Against this backdrop and the firm belief by the EU that an empowered civil society is valued as a crucial component of any democratic system and as an asset in itself, the EU Delegation to South Africa published a call for proposals to support civil society projects which allow young people to develop and realise their potential as well as support those active in the youth sector.

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The actions were to embrace the following principles:

  1. Strengthening the enabling environment for youth organisations and youth development in South Africa
  2. Increasing Youth participation[5] in governance, accountability and public policy processes cycles
  3. Promoting young people's participation and contribution towards a more inclusive and sustainable growth

As a result, 9 youth projects have been selected with activities covering issues of health to education, entrepreneurship training and citizen journalist training.

The projects involve 22 different civil society organisations from across South Africa, with an overall EU grant amount of € 4.8 million.

Download the individual project fact sheets below:

  • The Trailblazer Programme: Skills Development and Social Entrepreneurship for High School and Post-Secondary Youth
  • Youth Organising and Rights Protection for Quality Education
  • Towards a more Accountable South Africa: Placing Young People and Youth Civil Society at the Centre of Change for Development in the Eastern Cape
  • Entrepreneurial and Environmental Empowerment for South Africa’s Youth (EEESAY)
  • Developing a National Cadre of Citizen Journalists Producing Socially Relevant Content for Dissemination across Multi-Media Platforms
  • Promoting Youth Civic Engagement and Advocacy to Build Safer Communities through Youth-Led Radio Initiatives at Community Radio Stations across South Africa

[1] Almost one in three, or 29.6% of the population of South Africa is aged between 0-14 years and a further 28.9% is aged between 15 – 34 years. StatsSA Census 2011

[2] National and provincial labour market: Youth, June 2015, StatsSA

[3] National Youth Policy 2015-2020,


[5] "Participation in the democratic life of any community is about more than voting or standing for election: it is about having the right, the means, the space, the opportunity and, where necessary, the support to participate in and influence decisions and engage in actions and activities so as to contribute to building a better society". The preamble of the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (21 May 2003).

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