National Planning Commission endorsement for SALDRU-led youth support initiative

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The Basic Package of Support (BPS) for South Africa’s youth – a youth development initiative to support young people who are not in employment, education or training – has received a formal endorsement from the National Planning Commission (NPC).

In the endorsement letter, NPC Secretary of Planning, Tshediso Matona, writes: “The NPC is of the view that youth unemployment is about more than conventional concerns around supply and demand in the labour market. Rather, it is rooted in youth as a developmental life stage and is connected to the particularities of the transition from childhood to adulthood that characterise youth experience in South Africa. A comprehensive understanding of what it means to be a young person in South Africa must therefore be part of the approach that informs interventions.”

Pointing out the alignment of the BPS with the National Development Plan, the endorsement letter pledges NPC support and collaboration with the project. This relationship with the NPC is the latest among several key institutions that have established links with the project in support of the BPS approach.

As a youth-centred intervention, the BPS requires the development and nurturing of multi-sectoral communities of practice at national, provincial and local levels. At a national level, the BPS team works in alignment with the National Pathway Management Network of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention. For the pilot phase, partnerships with the Western Cape and City of Johannesburg governments are being finalised, while UNICEF South Africa, Harambee and OpenUp have joined as project partners.

These partnerships add a lot of depth to the project. A survey of youth well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown was recently completed in partnership with UNICEF. OpenUp is a key partner in expanding SALDRU’s Youth Explorer data portal, to include maps of the various services available to youth in communities across the country. This information will be critical in the BPS approach of youth referrals to services within a community of practice.

The project will continue to receive financial and technical support for the next stage from the Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion, funded by the European Union and based in the Government Technical Advisory Centre. Other phase 1 partners – SALDRU; J-PAL Africa; Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg; the DG Murray Trust; The Jobs Fund – remain on board for phase 2, while fundraising and further partnership building remain priorities.