“We could be more if people believe in us”

Image: Tumisu on Pixabay.

The first BPS pilot will be implemented in Atlantis, situated some 70km from Cape Town in the Western Cape, later in 2021. The young people of the area are talented and hopeful. In preparation for the pilot launch, the first site visit was held in March and with further conversations in May and June. The aim of the fieldwork was to begin on-the-ground engagements with community members working in youth development, to meet with young people to better understand their lived experience and needs, and their engagement with service providers in Atlantis. Another important aspect of the fieldwork was to understand the geographic context of the area.

The visits and conversations have enabled the BPS team to gain in-context insights and learnings that will inform the implementation of the pilot.

Some key findings included:

  • Lack of information about real-time and relevant opportunities remains a challenge for young people, especially once they leave school.
  • There are not enough nearby work opportunities for young people, which leaves too many of them at a loss of what to do.
  • There is a lot of talent in Atlantis: sport, art, dance, singing and music. Youth are therefore looking for access to a variety of programmes that would be suitable for young men and women, ensuring that no one is left out.
  • Young people are looking for a central place where they can gather with peers, and for a trusted guidance counsellor “who knows them so well” that they can recommend opportunities suited to them.
  • Young people value peer-to-peer support, and also want to give back to other young people in Atlantis.
  • Safety (especially when travelling) is a concern and was frequently raised by the young people who were consulted.
  • There is an active community of stakeholders providing support to Atlantis youth, from non-governmental organisations to initiatives driven by the City of Cape Town and the provincial government.

The BPS team is currently continuing its community engagements, including additional youth focus groups, to work towards a joint agreement between stakeholders to support the BPS pilot and facilitate pathways for young people. Several possible venues to host the pilot programme were also visited.