Bringing together research, policy and practise for knowledge exchange
The Youth Explorer, an interactive youth-focused portal and flagship of SALDRU’s youth unit headed by Chief Researcher Ariane De Lannoy, is at the centre of training policymakers and practitioners on evidence-based policy making. The training is part of SALDRU’s efforts to bring together research, policy and practise for the creation of two-way knowledge exchange.
The Youth Explorer offers insights into a set of indicators based on national, provincial and municipal analysis of data from the 2011 Census and, where available, the Community Survey 2016, as well as administrative data. The engagements offer an opportunity to share youth-focused research and introduce practitioners to a comprehensive and data-driven approach in addressing the multiple challenges and deprivations young people face.
The knowledge exchange goes both ways and feedback by training participants helps SALDRU advance the Youth Explorer. In particular, it helps to tune the tool’s scope and functionalities so that it is user-friendly and useful in designing and implementing evidence-based interventions that aim to empower youth and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
SALDRU Graduate Associate, Evelien Storme, trained practitioners, most of them youth themselves, of The Western Cape Government After School Game Changer whose programme supports learners in the after-school space. Learners from disadvantaged backgrounds have a 6 000-hour educational gap by the time they reach high school. The After-School Game changer programme helps close this gap by exposing learners to sport, arts, academic enrichment, reading and life skills after formal school hours. After being introduced to the portal and its functionalities, participants identified various ways in which the Youth Explorer can help them:
- better understand and compare the nature and severity of the multiple challenges young people face within specific wards, municipalities, districts, provinces and at the national level;
- contextual data can support report writing and funding requests as practitioners are better equipped to demonstrate the needs they are addressing;
- the Youth Explorer presents complex data in a way that is visually attractive and easily-accessible, which makes it a great tool to share information with youth;
- data-driven designs lead to programmes, which speak directly to youth needs.
Enhancing school-based youth programmes
Gibson Mudiriza, research officer at the Poverty and Inequality Initiative, presented data from the Youth Explorer at a Partners for Possibility meeting themed, “Are we preparing our youth for their future?”. Partners for Possibility is a non-profit that works with school principals to improve the quality of schooling in South Africa. Drawing on data from the Youth Explorer, Mudiriza engaged school principals on the state of youth in South Africa.
Feedback from the discussion illustrated the importance of analysing youth well-being at smaller geographical levels, as national figures mask stark differences across the country. For example, after viewing maps on the proportion of youth not in employment, in education or training (NEET) at national, provincial, municipal and ward level, there was consensus that information at subnational level can better inform the design and implementation of effective youth based policies and programmes.
Furthermore, in the Q&A section, it was noted that data from the Youth Explorer portal was crucial for advocacy aimed at government and other stakeholders about challenges that schools face, such as high student dropout rates.
Upcoming trainings will involve policy-makers and programme managers from different departments at the Western Cape Government and will be facilitated in partnership with Open Up. The Youth Explorer will be introduced as a useful tool for developing a comprehensive approach to youth development and evidence-based policymaking.
Interested in your own training? Want to find out more about our research? Contact email@example.com for more information, or visit the Youth Explorer.