There may be a shortage of jobs, but there is no shortage of work

2013-06-04 15:10

Without doubt, one of the biggest issues on the global agenda is unemployment. This is was further reinforced at the World Economic Forum Meeting on Africa held last month on the 8 - 10 May 2013 in Cape Town. Almost every economic or development related report will reference the significant problem of unemployment particularly among our demographic, the youth, with some 75 million unemployed around the world.

I participated in the World Economic Forum meeting in my capacity as a Global Shaper. Established as an initiative of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community seeks to build a global community of outstanding young leaders who are exceptional in their potential, their achievement and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. The Global Shapers Community is made up of more than 220 hubs around the world, with four hubs in South Africa.

For us, in the Cape Town Global Shapers Hub, the continuous focus on the lack of jobs and implicit question of 'what do to with the youth', seems a paradox to us. It seems a paradox because there so much work to do, so much that needs to be fixed and addressed, so many services that need to be provided, so many projects and businesses that need to be created – there is no deficit of work to be done in Africa. .

It is the approach and paradigm of thought that must change. People and in particular the youth should be empowered and be in the position to find solutions and do the work, instead of just trying to find jobs. There is already work to be done; significant human endeavour is required. To take this theme forward, the South African Global Shaper Hubs hosted SHAPE Africa – Social Innovation, the inaugural meeting of Global Shapers on the African continent convened by Global Shapers, on held the 6th & 7th May 2013, prior to the World Economic Forum Meeting on Africa. Over the two days, the Global Shapers and social innovators immersed themselves into in this agenda as we explored the role of social innovation in addressing some of our most pressing challenges.

In line with the theme of Social Innovation, the Cape Town Global Shapers Hub has launched their latest initiative: my hands and heart. my hands and heart is an initiative to develop young people by connecting them to opportunities. It is a volunteer management platform, with the key objective of creating opportunities for youth to gain exposure, experience and grow from volunteer 'opportunities' provided by corporates, NGO's and other organizations. my hands and heart is available online and through mobile, social media and SMS to ensure wide reach, even without internet access. This video gives a great overview of the platform.

Corporates and organizations are invited to join the initiative and get easier access volunteers and connect them to volunteering opportunities they may have for them. By signing up, the organization would be able to create and share volunteer opportunities, share on social media, add volunteers and update them via email and sms, as well as produce reports. We also work with and engage young people and youth organizations who can can signup and access the opportunities that become available. For more info contact:info [at] myhandsandheart.org

Organizations often lack the support and systems required to engage opportunity-seeking youth and that would enable them to have a greater impact on the youth development agenda. This is addressed in my hands and heart by mobilizing available technologies to share opportunities for volunteers and resources for potential volunteers to develop. my hands and heart assists organizations with the management of their volunteers as we supply opportunities for potential volunteers who could be unemployed youth, skilled youth or successful entrepreneurs.

The ultimate vision is to build an active database of opportunities, which successfully matches  volunteers who would then be able to build certain skills and relationships through these opportunities.

Let's join our hands and hearts!

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