1 November 2021 gold-youth: Stories of Hope

We are gold Youth Development Agency, and we believe in a revolution of hope. Our audacious goal is to develop 10 million young African leaders with character and integrity to mobilize their generation with the knowledge, tools and support to reach their full potential, with concrete results in social behaviour change, education and job creation.

gold Peer Education is based on the reality that many people make changes not only based on what they know, but on the opinions and actions of their trusted peers. Peer Educators can communicate and understand in a way that adults can’t, and they can serve as role models for change.

We have used our evidence-based youth peer education model to reach over 71 000 young people in 123 communities in 5 countries and seen concrete results in social behaviour change, education and job creation. There are currently over 18 220 gold Peer Educators trained and mentored out in the world.

One of gold-youth’s mature communities of practice is based in Kraaifontein (Western Cape, South Africa); it’s a community that battles crime, violence and gangsterism – a place with little hope for youth and few examples of ethical role models. Only 41.9% of youth aged 20-24 have completed matric or a matric equivalent and 42% of youth aged 15-24 are unemployed.

gold-youth’s Peer Education programme has officially been running in this community since 2014 and there is a visible shift and mindset change amongst the youth in our programme. Luphumlo Kanku, a Peer Educator from Kraaifontein shares:

“ When I came to Kraaifontein, I used to follow my cousin. He’s at Stellenbosch University now. He actually used to attend these classes and then I saw this lady called Mama Chanti. She saw that I was a playful person but she saw something in me. At that time, she invited me to attend one of the sessions. I came and I saw and they elevated my perception, listening to these facilitators talk about the problems, and I was like ‘no man, I actually saw that yesterday when I was walking in the community’. And I thought I need to attend more of these because they opened me up. gold changed me as a person. It made me find myself and accept myself. The facilitators shaped me. They taught me about entrepreneurship and I actually created a business of my own.”

The above is one of many stories that display the positive change that the gold programme initiates. Peer Educators actively spread goldyouth’s message and information they’ve learnt to their peers and, in turn, the community; role modelling health-enhancing and purpose-driven behaviour. They are taught to practise positive decision-making and educate their peers and younger children to make good choices, strengthen their schoolwork and maximize their impact on their communities as active citizens.

A testimony from Emanuel Thabang Mthethwa, a gold Grad from South Africa, reveals how personal change leads to group change, which leads to community change. He states:

gold has had a major impact on my life. I have received online skills training and experience: money skills, people skills, entrepreneurial skills, working skills and many more. I now am able to run my business, in fact I’m running one that I have started already during online learning. I am able to study and have income too; pay for school fees and transport, and feed my family. Thanks for such major impact. I’m looking forward to transforming others in small rural businesses.”

goldyouth dreams of seeing young Africans living purpose-filled lives, leading Africa into its full social and economic potential.

Zambia, being 1 of the 5 countries in which gold-youth operates, has encountered significant positive change within communities in Chingola. According to UNICEF, learning and educational services for children in Zambia remain persistently low. Overall, girls continue to be at a disadvantage with many dropping out in the upper primary and secondary grades. This decreases levels of transition to junior secondary and senior secondary. A Junior Peer Educator in Chingola shares her experience:

“Since I joined the gold Programme, it has helped me change in many ways. It has helped me to understand my values and the rights I have as a youth in my community. Secondly it has made me change my behaviour from the negative behaviours to positive behaviours although it is still in process because they say that change is a gradual process. Lastly, my academic performance and school attendance has improved and all the credit goes to the Facilitators and my fellow Peer Educators. Had it not been for them I do not know how my life would be especially during this COVID-19 period where we had no one to visit us. I thank all my fellow Peer Educators and the gold team for giving me this opportunity to be part of the Peer Educator team.

These shared stories are all pointers towards the Africa that gold-youth dreams of, an Africa that harnesses hope and endless possibility, one that offers sustainable change and welcomes difference and development. This is the Africa we believe in and one that we are vigorously working towards.

By Dawn Bekwa, Training and Content Coordinator