Award for good measure

2019-12-10 06:01
The gold youth peer education model develops and mentors youth between the ages of 18 and 26 as facilitator interns to train and mentor teenage peer educators in Grades 9 to 12.

The gold youth peer education model develops and mentors youth between the ages of 18 and 26 as facilitator interns to train and mentor teenage peer educators in Grades 9 to 12.

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The gold Youth Development Agency, for gold Youth Development South Africa, was recently named a winner in the MTN Awards for Social Change.

The non-profit organisation (NPO), with offices located at 22 Station Road in Rondebosch, won the Medium NPO category (with an annual income greater than R2 million, but less than R10 million). The NPO received R300 000 prize money.

MTN Foundation, in partnership with CSI and sustainability consultancy, Trialogue, launched the MTN Awards for Social Change this year, to encourage and reward good monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practice in the non-profit sector.

Altogether 70 NPOs entered the awards.

Entries were shortlisted by Trialogue and 20 organisations were put forward for final selection by a panel of independent judges.

A total of R1 million in prize money was awarded to the winning NPOs in each of the three categories, as well as a fourth bonus award winner.

“We wanted to reach out to all non-profit organisations, not just those currently benefiting directly from MTN’s existing ICT in education or youth empowerment programmes,” said Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, general manager of the MTN Foundation.

The gold youth peer education model was established in 2004. The gold solution creates employment for youth between the ages of 18 and 26, who are developed and mentored as facilitator interns to in turn train and mentor teenage peer educators in Grade 9 to 12. Through these four-year relationships, peer educators are taught to model positive decision-making, healthy lifestyles, strengthen their academic work and maximise their impact on peers and communities.

The NPO’s model of youth peer education is currently being carried out in four African countries. In South Africa, the gold Model is implemented in 21 schools in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

Schools, where the gold Model is being implemented in the Western Cape, include Noorder Paarl, Klein Nederburg, Paulus Joubert in Paarl; Parkdene, Imizamo Yethu and Thembalethu in George; and Bloekombos High School, Masibambane High School and Hector Pietersen High School in Kraaifontein.

The NPO also supplies Peer2Peer resources and peer education training of Western Cape government youth interns in 160 schools.

Nathalie Tedder, head of gold business development, says the NPO employs a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system. Implementation is assessed annually as part of quality assurance services. A monitoring and evaluation system with tools and processes allow for monthly and quarterly reporting and evaluation against agreed indicators and targets.

Annual quantitative research (academic performance assessments); annual qualitative research (surveys, focus groups and interviews) and external evaluations by independent organisations and funders are done to measure the NPO’s effectiveness.

Tedder says gold-youth believes that behaviour change and character development takes years. Therefore a long-term and holistic framework is critical for peer education methodology to work.

“The role-modelling and futures-oriented education approach is used as the basis of a progression of behaviour change. We have measurably reached 71 000 people in total across all our gold model sites as at 2018, and have achieved small scale policy changes in our areas of operation. In terms of outputs, 766 facilitator internships have been created, 16 881 gold peer educators have been trained and mentored, 53 454 peers and children measurably reached by gold peer educators and 842 job placements have been facilitated since 2015.”

However, Ridder says the ultimate sustainability of the programme will be measured by the long-term social and economic contribution of the youth who have graduated after their three-year skills training programme.

Ridder says a strong M&E system is critical to ensure effective intervention.

“Our internal annual outcome evaluation findings have been used at two levels: the first being to refine our data collection tools and make them more user-friendly and adapted to the context. Secondly, we have used the findings to make adjustments to our programme elements, to ensure that we are indeed serving our communities in the most effective way possible.”

She says the prize money will contribute towards the costs of the central agency, which allows gold to share the replicable gold model and its Peer2Peer offering with community-based organisations and the government.

“The team at gold is honoured, and thankful for the recognition of all the hard work we put into having a strong M&E system and processes. We are hopeful that the award will encourage potential donors to invest in gold Youth Development Agency, knowing that our processes are sound.”

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