A world where young people have opportunities to create sustainable livelihoods.
We use cutting-edge educational approaches to create pathways for young people from under-resourced communities to pull themselves and each other into sustainable livelihoods.
Why we Exist
SOUTH AFRICA’S EDUCATION SYSTEM IS IN CRISIS:
- 50% of children do not make it to Grade 12 (which is approximately half a million learners each year)
- 80% of South African schools are dysfunctional
- We have the most unequal education system in the world: Of 200 black learners who start school, just one can expect to do well enough to study engineering. Ten white learners can expect the same result
- In one study, maths teachers of 11- and 12-year-olds sat tests similar to those taken by their class. 79% of teachers scored below the level expected of the learners
IkamvaYouth was founded in 2003 by Joy Olivier and Makhosi Gogwana, who travelled very different paths to get to the same job, as researchers at the HSRC. Joy went to a privileged school in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, and Makhosi went to a township school in Khayelitsha, WC. In conducting research on the education crisis, they compared their experiences and realised that many of the obstacles learners face are due to lack of information and support. As information and support can be given free of charge, and the principal at Makhosi’s old school was receptive; Makhosi, Joy and their friends began volunteering as tutors and mentors, with a desire to support learners to reach their fullest potential.
IkamvaYouth provides a safe space for learners to be after class ends, where they receive help with their homework and a host of other services and support to ensure they succeed. Since our humble beginnings, we have grown from one branch to more than fifteen and support over 5,000 learners per year through our various programmes.
Our programme was co-created with learners and tutors. Our after-school sessions offer a range of services including academic tutoring, psycho-social support, career guidance, and lots more.
The core of our programme is tutoring. Volunteer tutors support learners in small groups to ensure that they understand their school work. Our army of superhero volunteers come from a range of backgrounds, but most are studying at university or college, and many of them are our alumni.
In Grade 12, we ensure learners apply to at least three post-school opportunities, so they enroll in tertiary institutions, learnerships or jobs the following year, so they have somewhere to go when they finish school. When these learners have their matric results, we then make sure that they are actually placed in a post-school opportunity.
We also provide computer literacy and e- learning classes and during our winter school we partner with organisations to offer: health, leadership and life skills workshops and media, image and expression workshops
But, most of all IkamvaYouth is HOME to learners who often come from difficult environments, and when they enter the doors of IkamvaYouth they feel noticed and valued. At IkamvaYouth, learners are validated and celebrated for who they are. If you join our programme, you will find someone who will believe in you, hold you accountable and ensure you reach your fullest potential.
To join our programme there are no academic requirements for entry and participation is free of charge. However, in order to keep your place in the programme, you need to meet the attendance requirements.
Our innovation lies in our model; youth-driven, low-cost and high impact programming which achieves results in contexts where such achievements are seldom attained.
The pedagogical approach to learning ensures our volunteers (many of whom were previous learners, who have transformed from beneficiaries into benefactors) are able to deliver an effective tutoring programme.
Our volunteers work in small groups. Our learners drive the agenda by bringing the work they are struggling with to the tutoring sessions. The volunteers then facilitate peer-to-peer learning between the group; building learners’ problem solving skills and helping them learn how to learn. The small groups enable vital individual attention, and fast feedback. It is through this learner-centric approach that the learners are able to fill the gaps in their knowledge, and strengthen their grasp on fundamental conceptual basics.
The relationships between the tutor, the learner, the branch, parents, the school, and the wider community is paramount and reinforces our learners’ commitment to the programme.
Each branch is run by a branch committee, which comprises the two full-time staff members, and the most committed learners, volunteers and parents. The democratic decision making and transparency which these committees strive to achieve build ownership of the branch and the programme, and build leadership experience and skills for all involved.
The power of peer pressure promotes learning, increases learners’ locus of control, and ensures a focus on the future. Every learner is supported in applying for a place at a tertiary institution, an internship, or a job.
This model, which was designed collaboratively by a young group of volunteers and learners during the first few years of our operations, continues to be improved upon and applied in different environments and contexts. This iterative and agile approach to programme design and implementation ensures that we are constantly integrating the lessons learned to improve.
Thank you for all you do for our learners. We are continually inspired by the dedication and generosity of our donors and there is no way to fully express our gratitude for their support. We would like to thank our donors for sharing their commitment to a better, brighter future for South Africa children.
1. Collaboration and peer to peer support
Contribute to the advancement of educational and social progress through team effort and offering
the necessary support to enable a corresponding effect across all stakeholders, especially staff
members, volunteers, and learners. School learners practically support their peers to achieve
academic success, have high future aspirations, and support one another to realise their dreams.
Ensure positive and responsive communication and share skills and knowledge that includes
resources and information.
2. Commitment to impact
Striving to make a positive difference in the lives of our learners, youth, community, and sector.
Ensuring that our learners, partners and other beneficiaries obtain sustainable livelihoods and
become progressive community change agents.
3. Continuous improvement
Constantly seeking innovative ways of acquiring knowledge, improving skills, and developing positive
attitudinal changes at individual, team and organisational level. This includes enhancing and
streamlining the organisation’s model, processes and systems in order to remain current, relevant
and on the cutting edge of our sector.
4. Inclusive governance
Enabling and empowering ourselves, each other, and all stakeholders to use organisational policies,
processes and systems to initiate governance conversations. Establishing ongoing consultation and
negotiation with stakeholders so that they can take ownership and comply with decisions made by
the governance structures.
5. Integrity and transparency
Every team member commits to being honest and transparent in all interactions and transactions
with IkamvaYouth stakeholders to foster trust and confidence.
6. Paying it forward
Cultivating a culture of reciprocation to inspire positive transformation within our community and
society. This is demonstrated by helping those around us as needed, based on the support that we
previously received, especially seeing our learners coming back as tutors or staff members.
7. A responsibility for self and others
Promoting a culture of lifelong learning and personal development whilst taking ownership for one’s
actions and behaviours. Supporting each other through psychosocial initiatives to foster optimal
growth and wellbeing of the entire IkamvaYouth community.
Our Culture Pillars
Community – a group of co-workers that organize in work teams not only to carry
out a specific task and fulfil business objectives that bind them with the organisation
they work at, but also a group of people that socialize, interact with each other and
Excellence – performance and conduct (Commitment to impact, integrity & transparent, Responsibility for self and others)
Continuous learning (Collaboration & peer to peer support, responsibility for self and others)
Innovation (Collaboration & peer to peer support, commitment to impact)
Inclusivity – people from different cultures, beliefs, sexualities, and differently abled people are welcomed and included.