South Africa: Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, launched the South African Association for Youth Work Practitioners at a 2-Day Youth Work Indaba held on 29-30 November 2022 in Gauteng.
The launch of the South African Association for Youth Work Practitioners is a catalyst in ensuring young people take their rightful place in the developmental agenda of our country, continent and world. It is also a critical milestone in advancing youth development and emphasizes the necessary role young people play in addressing society’s greatest challenges.
The professionalization of youth work is highlighted under the pillar on Effective and Responsive Youth Development Machinery in the National Youth Policy 2030.
Furthermore, the establishment of the Association is in line with the approved National Framework for the professionalization of the public sector, which is in line with South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030.
The Association seeks to play a critical role in shaping the identity of the youth workers by promoting continuous learning and professional development.
This will be facilitated through networking, collaboration, and the exchange of best practices. It also provides young people with the opportunity to redefine the world of work to respond adequately to the ever-changing global social, economic and political contexts.
The professionalization of the youth sector carries endless opportunities both locally and internationally.
Most importantly, it provides an opportunity for young people to actively contribute to addressing some of our community’s most pressing social ills, including:
- Youth unemployment,
- High rates of substance abuse,
- Increased crime and
- High-risk behaviour amongst the youth,
- Poor mental health and gender-based violence and femicide.
The Association must also promote and make youth development practice a career of choice. Youth Development Practice can only be attractive if it exists to respond to the needs of the youth by leveraging the skills, expertise and experiences of young people.
Promoting this field of practice is key to inspiring our young people to be catalysts in the establishment of a more equitable society.
“We must continue to advocate for an enabling legislative environment to ensure that the aspirations of the youth of South Africa can be realized through coordinated, resourced and institutionalized responses. Most importantly, we must encourage young people to OWN the process of development. To achieve a South Africa that is responsive to the needs of the youth, the youth must be at the forefront of all decision-making processes,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.