Introduction from the ACTIVATE! Civic Education Toolkit
The dawn of democracy in South Africa has ushered in several positive outcomes for the country’s development. Despite this, young people in South Africa continue to face many problems, including high unemployment, poor educational outcomes and poverty, among other issues. There has been growing dissatisfaction with government services over the years, particularly at the local government level, due to these and other factors. Vast numbers of communities have resorted to violent protests to vent out their dissatisfaction and anger at poor governance, corruption, maladministration and the collapse of the delivery of quality basic services.
Young people, who constitute a large pool of the total population in South Africa, bear the brunt of these collapsed services. Furthermore, their increasing participation in the violent service delivery protests, civil unrest, and public looting over the last few years clearly indicates the need to empower youth to actively contribute towards finding lasting solutions to the country’s challenges. As a large demographic, young people represent the core of the country’s untapped potential, which requires extensive and continuous support. This potential can be harnessed to effect positive change in communities across the country.
Civic education, aimed at promoting active youth citizenship, is an essential tool for enabling young people to hold the government accountable and engage in a democratic and non-violent manner in addressing issues. Empowering communities through civic education can also help create cultures of good governance and accountability across various levels of society.
The ACTIVATE! Civic Education Toolkit aims to empower young people in particular and communities in general with tools and knowledge on local government, democracy, active citizenry, including engagement methodologies to entrench democratic practices in society and foster community-based active citizenry. The toolkit further sets out to promote collective accountability and the creation of enabling conditions for young people to interrogate, question and continuously hold political representatives to account through legitimate, non-violent and democratic means for meaningful change and social transformation.
Read the ACTIVATE! Civic Education Toolkit here.
If you would like to join the launch of the toolkit, ACTIVATE! will be streaming the launch on their Instagram.