“There is a lack of active citizenship in our country. We see negative and violent acts taking place all the time, but not many positive actions in communities. Through empowering and motivating the next generation of active citizens, we can change the culture and values of our country’s citizens for a better South Africa,”
explains Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, Founder and CEO of non-profit organisation, Empowervate Trust.
This conviction is what drives Blankfield-Koseff, who founded The Youth Citizens Action Programme (Y-CAP) while working at another NPO in 2009. She then moved to a new entity, Empowervate Trust, in 2013 - in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation and DSV Mounties.
She says school children are the next generation of leaders and active citizens.
“I believe we need to start developing a culture of servant leadership and positive values while instilling social entrepreneurship skills from a young age if we want to create a better future for South Africa.”
She says that South Africa’s youth want to be change agents, but often do not have the tools, guidance or platform to do it.
“We use a Y-CAP Toolkit, which is a project management and values guide, as well as workshops to impart skills to young learners and give them a platform to showcase the impactful and sustainable projects they create on the programme at district, provincial and national level.”
In 2015, over 360 mainly rural, township and former Model C schools took part in the programme and in 2018, 754 schools in the country’s nine provinces participated.
Blankfield-Koseff’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. She was one of the Mail & Guardian’s “200 Young People to Take to Lunch” in 2015, was a finalist in the Jewish Achiever’s Award’s Europcar Women in Leadership category in 2017, and in 2018 was selected as one the 200 Leaders: Africa for the Obama Foundation Fellowship out of 10,000 applications in 44 African countries.
This year, she has once again been nominated for a Jewish Achiever’s Award in the category: Europcar Women in Leadership Award. Finalists will be announced on 2 September 2018.
This motivated young woman says it is important to collaborate with various stakeholders to accelerate development in the country.
“We work with government, the private sector and civil society to ensure Y-CAP is a success. In addition, UNISA measures out social impact in its capacity as our pro-bono research partner.”
Blankfield-Koseff is inspired by the many South African citizens and leaders who fought for what they believed in and sacrificed so much to see it realised.
“I am also inspired by people who triumph over adversity and are resilient in the face of challenges. My message to South African youth is: positive change starts with you!”