South Africa urgently requires a multi-pronged strategy to raise employment and support inclusion and social cohesion, especially considering that nearly half of its youth are unemployed. This is according to the Collen Mashawana Foundation, a non-profit organisation (NPO) that has been established to address the issue of youth unemployment in South Africa.
Government is said to be winning the battle against unemployment. Two main objectives are said to have been achieved in 2011 which contributed to government’s success in partially solving the job crisis in the country.
Firstly, it mainstreamed job creation in every government entity, including state-owned enterprises. Secondly, it strengthened social dialogue and co-operation between government, business and the community sector.
The Foundation’s chairman Collen Mashawana says the high youth unemployment means young people are not acquiring the skills or experience needed to drive the economy forward.
“It also inhibits the country’s economic development and imposes a larger burden on government to provide social assistance.”
There has been a recent call by government encouraging South Africans to work together in solving challenges faced by the country.
“Government alone cannot solve the challenges faced by the country, but working together, solutions are possible.”
The Collen Mashawana Foundation’s vision is to create a workforce of forward thinkers and dream builders and it aims to eradicate poverty through job creation and the cultivation of job creators.
Mashawana has built strong relationships with all spheres of the South African government and the private sector, devoting a lot of time in understanding government’s service delivery mandate. This has resulted in a more strategically focused approach of aligning Mashawana‘s business interest and ideas with different organisations which would focus on working closely with the government.
“Aside from business, I am totally committed to corporate social investment by giving back to the underprivileged and I have been involved in many programs that aim to empower others,” says Mashawana.
The Collen Mashawana Foundation has appointed Marli Connoway as CEO. She has always wanted to make her mark in the world through community service and social upliftment and has a deep appreciation and passion for the role of education in sustainable societies.
Connoway believes that the solution to poverty and job creation in South Africa lies in the cultivation of forward thinkers who take responsibility for their immediate environment.
“The ultimate aim of witnessing a society of change-makers and value creators within our country is perfectly possible as the harvest is great and there are many willing hands.”
Nearly 42% of young people under the age of 30 are unemployed compared with less than 17% of adults over 30. More importantly, only one in eight working adults under 25 years of age have a job compared to 40% in most emerging economies.
“Though this particular NPO might not solve the challenge of youth unemployment entirely; ours is to contribute what we can to the best of our ability in assisting the youth of South Africa by running different programmes which will contribute positively to the critical issue of education and youth unemployment,” concludes Mashawana.