Youth Projects

South African Child Gauge 2015: A Focus on Youth and the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty

The South African Child Gauge® is an annual publication of the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. It provides a snap-shot of the status of children in South Africa, and in particular monitors progress towards the realisation of their rights. Each year the publication focuses on a major challenge affecting children’s well-being as a lens to critically analyse the position of children and the potential policy responses required.

In an extension of its current focus, the Children’s Institute will collaborate with the Poverty and Inequality Initiative (PII) to produce a youth-focused edition of the Gauge for 2015. This publication will highlight the precarious situation of children as they transition into young adulthood and the need for interventions that aim to support youth development. The focus on the youth stage (15 to 24 year olds) is informed by a life-course understanding of development. While South Africa now places significant emphasis on Early Childhood Development (2013 Gauge), little evidence-based support continues for children as they turn into adolescents and later into young adults.

The 2015 Youth-focused edition of the Gauge aims to provide an overview of the status of these older children and youth, and to allow for the identification of evidence-based programmes for youth that are aimed to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty to the next generation of children.

As a key communication and advocacy tool, the 2015 youth-focused Gauge, will make academic research accessible to a wider audience. It will provide evidence to educate and raise awareness of critical issues affecting the country’s youth towards ensuring that government policies, programmes and services promote the realisation of their rights and of the rights of the next cohort of children.


Indicators for Youth Well-being

The Poverty and Inequality Initiative, in partnership with the Western Cape Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town, has initiated a project to develop indicators that track youth well-being at the local level.

Young people living in the Western Cape face multiple challenges and many live in particularly dire situations.  Currently, very little is understood about these challenges and situations, the ways in which they change over time and the ways in which they vary from one local area to another.

The objective of this project, through the development of local-level indicators for youth well-being, is to contribute new knowledge and insight about how young people in the Western Cape are experiencing life and to offer a tool for assessing their progress over time. Ultimately, it is anticipated that the indicators will provide a strong evidence base to inform policies and interventions designed for young people in the province.


Working Groups on Youth and Youth Development 

A number of critical themes and challenges relating to the youth cohort in South Africa where identified during the PII Youth Colloquium held in August 2014. It was recognised that focused time and collaborative effort was needed to discuss and decide how to take each of these forward. Accordingly, two working groups have been constituted - with the possibility of additional groups in the future - to work towards a plan for actual change in two key areas of youth development, detailed below.


Youth and Entrepreneurship

A working group was established to take forward strategic discussions in the area of ‘Youth and Entrepreneurship’. The group is made up of made up of key researchers, policy makers and/or practitioners in the field. The intention is to exchange knowledge and collaboratively set an agenda for further work, which ultimately aims to contribute to change in the area of entrepreneurship for the youth cohort – either by means of interventions that work directly with young people, or through policy.


Youth and (Un)employment

The PII have partnered with the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg to take forward discussions on ‘Youth and (Un)employment’. A working group has recently been set up, consisting of key researchers, policy makers and/or programme directors working in the field. The aim is to come up with strategic action plans to address youth employability issues.

The broader vision for both working groups is to feed their work into a larger, national process (formulated following the Towards Carnegie III conference in 2012) that aims to find ways to break the cycles of poverty and inequality in South Africa.