Volunteers hailed for their achievements

Mayoral committee member for community services Anda Ntsodo, with some of the volunteers. He thanked them for donating their time to make their communities a better place to live in.

It was a joyous occasion for a group of young Gugulethu and Nyanga volunteers when they received certificates for completing an intensive two-week life skills training programme.

The certificate ceremony was held at the Oliver Kahn Safe Hub, opposite Nyanga Junction, on Thursday December 8.

A total of 25 young people, all passionate about community development, from different organisations were equipped with skills such as leadership and governance, conflict resolution and management, and financial planning and management. They were also trained in fund-raising, business planning, organisational development, record management, fostering organisational cohesion and team building.

The training was co-facilitated by the City of Cape Town in partnership with Amandla Edufootball. They represented different community stakeholders, with some of them being part of the Safe Node Area Committees (SNAC) a voluntary community based representative structure elected from community organisations in Gugulethu and Nyanga. The youth were then required to implement a youth summit programme and an integrated school holiday programme.

The programme has been rolled out in the townships in an effort to equip residents with the necessary skills and knowledge to improve their communities.

Mayoral committee member for community services, Anda Ntsodo, said the volunteers were an integral part of their programmes and they gave support to the City’s objectives of providing quality recreational activities. He said volunteers were special people who contributed to communities in ways that were often not seen or acknowledged.

“They give of their time, and that gift is priceless. The volunteers will be in regular contact with each other and there will be other interactions with the City going forward,” he said. “The coaches have already received further training, and were invited to be part of a disaster management exhibition as well as a two-day workshop focusing on social enterprise.

“We also hope to incorporate them into the City’s December holiday programme to hone the skills they acquired and provide the necessary support within their communities. This pilot project was a huge success and we will look to continue implementing it on an annual basis,” said Mr Ntsodo.

Mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, as well as the Mayoral Urban Renewal Programme (MURP), Johan van der Merwe, said the project was a shining example of the value of partnerships. “These areas are characterised by urban decay and violence, and our multi-pronged approach to counter this, is absolutely based on a bottom-up approach of empowering our communities through various development programmes and dedicated infrastructure investments,” he said. One of the participants, Jordan Hinana heaped praise on the programme, saying he felt well-equipped with knowledge and skills to be able recognise conflict situations, and then to resolve and manage them effectively.

The 35 year-old said he had co-founded the Mass Opportunity Development (MOD) organisation in 2011 which focuses on honing young people’s football skills. It also equips them with knowledge to enable them to make informed decisions. He believed that if young people engaged in meaningful activities, they stood a better chance of overcoming the social ills in the townships. “The programme actually plays a significant role in encouraging us to continue to do our volunteer work and it recognises the sacrifices which we have made to create a better community for our sisters and brothers. I strongly urge the youth to start donating their time in their communities and make them a better place to stay,” he said.

Director of Amandla Edufootball, Karl Voysey, applauded their tenacity and courage, adding that it has not been an easy journey. He said the only task they have now was to implement whatever they learned in the project and ensure it was sustainable.