Where we're at & where we're going: young people in South Africa in 2005
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This report encapsulates the main findings of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) Status of Youth Report (SYR), based on research conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on commission to the UYF. The SYR was based on a literature review, secondary data analysis, and a national survey of young people, aged 18 to 35, carried out in late 2003. The report contains a very large collection of interesting and important data, organised under a number of headings including education and skills development; labour market participation; poverty and inequality; youth and health; crime and violence; and social integration and civic engagement. Only some of these findings are reflected in this shorter document. The SYR is just one of the ways in
which the UYF has interacted with the research community, of which the HSRC is a crucial part, in providing a sound foundation for the developmental and information work, designing and outsourcing job creation programmes, supporting existing youth initiatives, supporting capacity building for service providers, with which the organisation is engaged.
This short report has a different aim to the longer SYR. In particular, it relates the main findings of the study to the policy environment and to attempts, particularly by government and by government-supported bodies, to transform policy into practice. It
is, therefore, both a report of research carried out, and a record of and commentary on the practice of youth development as it is evolving in contemporary South Africa with its strengths and weaknesses, its achievements and shortcomings. This report intends to
make a case rather than simply to describe a situation. It comes from within the youth development community and, in a field where pessimism is rife, makes no apologies for highlighting what appear to be successful or potentially successful youth policies, not
with the intention of handing out bouquets, or claiming easy victories where reflection and self-criticism may be more appropriate, but rather to identify what is working and to encourage more efforts along similar lines.