Meet IkamvaYouth | NPO Profile
We are so pleased to have IkamvaYouth as one of the first Brownie Points Nonprofit Partners. Since 2003, IkamvaYouth has equipped learners from disadvantaged communities with the knowledge, skills, networks and resources to access tertiary education and/or employment opportunities once they matriculate.
We caught up with Hetile Mabunda from the IkamvaYouth team to find a out bit more about this awesome organisation…
Tell us a little bit about IkamvaYouth’s history… who/ how/ when was the organisation established?
In 2003, founders Makhosi Gogwana and Joy Olivier were shocked by the poor Maths and Science results for black matriculants and the implications these results had for the future of these learners and their communities. They decided they needed to do something and so set out to start tutoring and providing information to learners at Makhosi’s old high school in Khayelitsha, thus resulting in the establishment of IkamvaYouth. Today, we are a core team of 56 and operate in 14 provinces around South Africa – supporting thousands of students every year.
How does the IkamvaYouth model work and how do you measure success?
While learners enroll at IkamvaYouth when they are in grades 9, 10 and 11, the programme’s success is ultimately determined by the number of grade 12 learners who access tertiary institutions and/or employment-based learning opportunities when they matriculate. The IkamvaYouth model draws from a large and growing pool of volunteers made up of students (from nearby universities) and local professionals. The organisation’s sustainability is driven by ex-learners who gain entrance to tertiary institutions and return to tutor. More than half of the volunteers at longer-established branches are ex-learners and over 80% of the Khayelitsha management committee comprises ex-beneficiaries. IkamvaYouth thus provides the additional advantage of allowing ex-IkamvaYouth learners to be agents of change – from beneficiary to benefactor.
How many students have you impacted in total? And what are your big goals for the future?
Since 2004, over 4000 committed learners (75% attendance and higher) have participated in IkamvaYouth programmes. Our biggest goal is Vision 2030 which was conceived in 2012, which is to ensure that by 2030:
– ALL learners who begin grade 1 in 2018 will reach matric or the equivalent.
– ALL learners will pass.
– ALL learners who matriculate in 2030 will access post-school opportunities that put them on the path to earning a dignified living within four years of matriculating.
This vision is not just a vision for IkamvaYouth, it’s not about what we want to achieve as an organisation. It is a vision for our country and our future. It goes far beyond increasing the number of learners being tutored and the number of established tutoring branches, although this important work will continue and grow. More significantly, in this ideal 2030 South Africa, the results that the tutoring and mentoring model achieves, and the values from which it both emanates and promulgates, will be the norm, and a just and equal system will be flourishing.
What has been some of the highlights of the organisation’s journey so far?
– We have managed to open 14 branches to date and have 3 more due to open in 2017. Watch this space! 🙂
– An assessment was done on the IkamvaYouth programme which concluded that learners’ involvement in the programme led to an improvement of between 1 and 1.5 full years’ of learning.
– Since 2011, 835 learners have completed matric and 90% of those have accessed post-school opportunities.
– IkamvaYouth has over 500 regular tutors who are mostly young, black South Africans.
What are some of the greatest challenges faced by IkamvaYouth?
At some branches transportation for the tutors is often a challenge. In places like Masiphumelele where the branch is far from the main tertiary institutions that many volunteers come from, we struggle to get enough tutors to the branch.
And the nonprofit sector as a whole – what are some of the biggest hurdles?FUNDING! We are very fortunate in that we have really good support from our donors, but as with any other NGO, we want to reach more youth and this means getting more funding to open more branches.
How do you think the wider nonprofit sector in South Africa has changed, and will change in the future?
There is a lot more emphasis on being innovative now and the NGO space has also grown more competitive in a sense.
What has been your personal highlight while working with IkamvaYouth?
Hearing the learners stories is always very moving. The circumstances they have to overcome have changed my perspective on life.
How do you think the role of NPOs and private companies will change in the education sector?
With the growing focus on teaching children to be more resilient, after-school programmes create spaces to nurture character strengths, including how to overcome adversity. Studies have shown that stress has a direct impact on how children develop, and ultimately on their academic performance. The after-school programmes that provide small group tuition; leverage the power of peer-to-peer and near-peer learning; provide mentorship and career guidance; and build a sense of belonging; can have a major impact on learners’ academic performance and likelihood of post-school success at tertiary institutions and in the workplace. Private companies can encourage their workforce to get involved in these programmes and share their expertise through mentoring, tutoring or workshops. There’s also an opportunity for employing interns and later on, employees from these after-school programmes, and helping to fight youth unemployment.
IkamvaYouth works with many volunteers – what feedback do you receive from them? What are the benefits of volunteering?
We get a lot of positive feedback! Many of our learners are also alumni so for them they understand what impact IkamvaYouth had in their lives and they want to offer the same to their peers in their communities. Volunteering is also a great experience and can equip you with numerous skills such as interpersonal skills, expertise in certain subjects, time management and networking.
Ready to get involved and help IkamvaYouth further impact the future of our youth? Visit their Brownie Points profile HERE.
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