A blog by Olloriak Sawade, programme manager of the Generation G partnership

A deep dive into youth advocacy in South Africa

In this blog, I share my reflections on the remarkable efforts of young activists striving to combat gender-based violence and promote social justice in South Africa.

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Tags: gender-based violence, SGBV, social audit, South Africa

Join me on a deep dive into the heart of community advocacy and the impactful role of young people in their communities in South Africa. During my visit to the country, I witnessed firsthand the power of social audits in driving change and amplifying youth voices. In this blog, I share my insights and reflections on the remarkable efforts of young activists striving to combat gender-based violence and promote social justice in their communities.

IDP training in Ntuzuma, Durban, KwaZulu Natal- Generation G programme

It took about 30 minutes to drive out of Durban, through different slums and townships to arrive to our venue, a nice looking library in the township of Ntuzuma. Arriving at the venue there were many people (mostly young people) sitting around the library. It turned out that this was one of the only places nearby with free Wi-Fi. For many it was a way to check for online job opportunities. In a country marked by its turbulent history of apartheid, enduring inequalities, and high levels of gender-based violence and youth unemployment, initiatives like social audits hold the promise of change.

Generation G social audit South Africa

Social audits serve as a vital mechanism for communities to assess whether governments actions align with their promises. Led by Generation G country coalition partners Sonke Gender Justice, Activate, and Action Aid, young people gather evidence on gender-based violence (GBV) to hold the their government accountable by presenting this evidence and advocating for necessary changes or improvements. This activity along with many others is part of a larger programme called Generation Gender (GenG for short), which takes place in seven different countries around the world (Indonesia, Lebanon, Jordan, Rwanda, Uganda, Morocco and South Africa). The goal of the programme is to reduce the prevalence of gender-based violence.

IDP training Ntuzuma - Generation G programme

Back in the library, in a space designed for community meetings, were over 30 young people from 11 different townships. Some had travelled as far as two hours to be there that day. Mobilised by youth champions in the different communities, this group was there to learn about social auditing. Activities started with checking in with everyone. Had they had breakfast? Were they ready for today? Then our colleague Rammolotsi from the Activate got everyone up on their feet, singing, dancing and clapping to raise the energy and enthousiasm in the room. He was then followed by Sakhile from Action Aid, who explained what social auditing is and how important it is to assess what is happening and not happening compared to what the government has outlined in their Integral Development Plan (IDP), which is developed every five years.

Sakhile explained that the goal of the coming days would be to analyse the issues that young people were seeing in their communities and talk with their community members to gather further evidence on what is happening. The young people then broke into groups where they analysed the issues that they see in their communities and some of the route causes of these issues. Between the presentations, the groups learned more about to look at issues through a gender.


Inanda social audit, Generation G programme South Africa

On the last day I joined youth advocates in Mthwalume who would prepare the social audit. Armed with clipboards, they interviewed community members about their awareness of IDP and government programmes on gender-based violence (GBV). Despite encountering challenges, including a lack of public knowledge and political disillusionment, the advocates remained determined. The goal is to collect 800 surveys across six districts for advocacy toward South African municipalities.

My time in South Africa left me inspired by the resilience and determination of its young people. Through initiatives like social audits, they are not only holding their government accountable but also getting a grip on issues in their communities and how to move advocate with their government in addressing them.




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