Nemato Change a Life
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Nemato Change a Life

empowerment programme

success in life – for youth, by youth

Nemato Change a Life empowers youth in Nelson Mandela Township. We change the mindset, improve the skills and knowledge, and guide all our members individually in education and career to become successful in life.

  • Our programme is based on the UNICEF youth empowerment template for Problem Free, Fully Prepared and Fully Engaged youth.
  • We are reviewing all elements of our programme, using The Theory of Change to maximise the impact.
  • We started working on SMART outcomes to measuring how effective our programme is.
  • Trialogue CSI Forum: "There need to be a mindset shift from a short-term project-driven approach to long-term interventions seeking societal change."

    Our Programme Elements

  • Be Nice
  • Be a Hard Worker
  • Be a Change Maker
  • Be Fit
  • Be Educated
  • Be Skilled

  • Be Nice

    empathy, honesty, behave and be yourself

    team activities
    developing empathy
    table manners

    In the country of ubuntu ("humanness") it might be surprising to have Be Nice as the number one challenge, but it is indeed. Psychology of scarcity pushes human beings into a focus on the urgent needs of today, at the expense of long term thinking. This impacts negatively on commitment to activities like study, that only have long term benefits, but also on behaviour. Integrity, honesty, trust worthiness and law obedience have strong long term benefits, but don't help to eat today.

    The psychology of scarcity is very strong. Deprive any person of primary needs, like food or shelter, and the psychology of scarcity kicks in very quickly. Getting out of it is much harder, especially when you grow up in a community where scarcity is common. Behaving differently from what you see around you is very hard, even if all your basic needs are provided.

    The highly successful KIPP Schools in the USA also recognised the crucial importance of behavioural change. We are using their slogan "Work Hard, Be Nice" in our programme.

    Ashoka, a network of top social entrepreneurs around the world, takes it a step further. Based on experience of 700 member-organisations in youth empowerment, they see development of empathy in children, as the most important challenge to prepare them for success in life.

    The elements of our be nice programme are:

  • integrity training
  • empathy training
  • etiquette lessons
  • embrace difference, be different

  • Be a Hard Worker

    set goals, challenge your limits and never give up

    never give up
    never give up
    challenge your limits - reach the top

    "Work Hard, Be Nice" is what KIPP Schools say. We know from experience how crucial and challenging these two aims are. Psychology of scarcity robs people of their energy to work hard for a better future, and even when we can avoid scarcity of all basic needs, changing the scarcity mindset is easier said than done. Our "Be a Hard Worker" programme elements, to help members to find back focus and energy for success in life, are:

  • bronze, silver and gold membership
  • setting goals
  • multi-year programme
  • President's Award

  • Be a Change Maker

    be a leader, an organiser and know the world

    stand in front - be a leader
    be an organiser
    see the world

    Although there is a lot to do for change makers in challenging environments like our township, there is little encouragement from the community, and institutions are often not very supportive of local initiatives. On the other hand, the many challenges offer great opportunities to develop a change maker mindset and persistant leaders have have the benefit of little competition.
    Nemato Change a Life is for youth, by youth. Running the programme, making the decisions, addressing challenges, leading, organising, teaching, coaching. It's all in the hands of the members. It empowers, strengthens self esteem, and nurtures change making.

    The township is a small world, opening up a bigger, more exciting world is crucial to grow an mindset of change making. We use a wide variety of Youtube videos and we travel as much and as far as we can. We are proud that we even have been able to offer members the opportunity to travel overseas.

    Be Fit

    sport, healthy living and eat well

    healthy living
    eat well

    In communities like ours, sport has extra benefits, besides the well known 'healthy body - healthy mind'. Competitions give youth a rare opportunity to meet people from other communities and interact as equals. Successes in sport has much more impact than success in education. A 99% for maths goes unnoticed, competing in world championships is big in the newspaper and excites the community to an extend that people start believing in success, and for example go back to school.

    healthy living
    Like in many impoverished communities, unsafe sex, drugs and alcohol are taking a heavy toll. We encourage safe sex and have condoms available in our office. We fight a tough battle against substance abuse, losing some of our long term members. We can't allow them in our programme, but we offer them counselling by social work at the hospital, as a path back into our programme.
    Shaun Shelly: "The impact of apartheid cannot be understated: communities were displaced and dispossessed, narrative histories destroyed and families split. All of this has led to high levels of psychosocial dislocation, which, as renowned psychology professor Bruce Alexander has convincingly argued, leads to higher levels of drug use and addiction."

    eat well
    Hunger is a hidden problem. Many of our youth experience times in the month when their families run out of food. Medical and sports professionals identified clear signs of mall-nutrition in our members. When we got aware of the scale of the problem we introduced meals during our lessons and porridge any time of the day, but only for active members with high attendance to our programme.

    Be Educated

    maths class, speak English, learn to study and student support

    our after-school maths class
    study skills
    study support: university open day

    maths class
    When we were fixing our rowing boats, it became clear that nobody knew how long a meter is. That incident showed us how dysfunctional education in our townships is. We now offer after-school maths classes five times per week. We see a strong improvement. On average participants see their marks for our basic maths test almost double. We developed a programme to prepare for the national maths test in grade 9. The national results for this test are shockingly poor with only 2.9% of the learners achieving acceptable marks of 50% or higher. (report page 73). Here is our 2016 maths report.

    speak English
    Members who start speaking English at an early age in our organisation develop this skill rapidly. Those who fear to speak English stay behind. We games and activities to help to overcome the fear. Speaking English a crucial skill for many jobs in South Africa. We'll add some reading, as poor understanding of school books and exam questions is also holding learners back.

    learn to study
    Van Deventer and Kruger claim that an important challenge facing South African schools “is the restoration of a sound culture of learning and teaching”. Learning to learn is a difficult challenge, when this culture is lacking the schools. Learners seldom do homework and not many learners use our place to study. Many learners take exam time as a holiday, interrupted by writing exams. With our new learn to study programme we hope to see improved study behaviour.

    study support
    Most youth in our townships are stuck in poverty. After finishing school, there is no money to study at a College for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) or University. This is demotivating many to even try to finish school. We realised that our slogan "success in life" is empty if we don't help our members to move to a city to study at a college or university. We assist with registration, stipends and more.

    Be Skilled

    skills and career bridge

    computer skills
    skills training: gas welding
    from volunteer into a job

    Most youth growing up in townships get little opportunities to develop practical skills. Statistics South Africa: "Within the black African 25 - 34 age group, the skilled proportion of employment decreased." (report page 27) In all other race and age groups skilled employment increased between 1994 and 2014. A worrying development.
    Our members get lots of opportunities to develop skills. Besides social, organisational and leadership skills, covered by other elements of our programme, we also offer computer and technical skills. Our computer skills range from hardware and software maintenance, user skills to computer programming. Technical skills our members can learn are for example repair of rowing boats (carbon, kevlar, resin), welding, maintenance of fencing weapons and basic plumbing, carpentry and electrical. We see members excel in jobs through the wide range of skills and a mindset of high commitment they got in our programme.

    career bridge
    Youth unemployment among black Africans stands at 39.4% (Stats SA report page 38). The step from education into a job is a difficult one. To help our members, they can volunteer in our organisation to improve technical, organisational and office skills and we offer them learning opportunities outside our organisation, what often leads to jobs.

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