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30 MAY 2017
Programme Director – Ms Pearl Shongwe
Minister for Culture, Youth and Media Affairs for the Government of Flanders – Minister Sven Gatz
General Representative of the Flanders Government to South Africa – Ms Geraldine Reymenants
Chairperson of the Board of the National Youth Development Agency – Mr Sifiso Mtshweni
CEO of the NYDA – Mr Khathu Ramukumba
Members of the Flanders delegation
Esteemed conference participants
It gives me great pleasure to participate in this conference today.  I want to warmly welcome Minister Sven Gatz and his delegation to South Africa.  I understand that your schedule includes participation in this conference and visits to the various projects that are supported by the Flanders Government through our Joint Cooperation Agreement. 
I would advise that you would do yourself a great injustice if your visit did not include taking in some of our world class tourist attractions available.  Enjoy our country and our people.
This conference with its theme of “Increasing Youth Volunteering in Civil Society Organisations” is well aligned to the intentions of our National Youth Policy 2020 of giving young people a hand up and not a hand out.  Social cohesion and national build is one of the five priorities of our NYP 2020.  We have identified youth volunteering within the context of national youth service as a key platform to drive the social cohesion and nation building agenda.
I would like to make some remarks on the partnership between the Government of Flanders and the Republic of South Africa specifically in the area of youth policy.  This partnership with the Flemish Community has spanned over two decades since its inception in 1996.  From the first class of South Africa youth workers that were trained in the Destelheide Centre in Dworp through to this conference today, both South African and Flemish government and civil society actors have collaborated in exchanges, training workshops, conferences, seminars and on the ground projects.  The exchanges of perspectives, experiences and joint learning have enriched the field of youth policy and capacitated youth workers in both our countries. 
It is not often that such cooperation lasts over two decades.  In our forever changing world, new themes, new trends and new priorities emerge.  Countries change, adapt and move on to new things.  However, our partnership with the Flemish government has been deep and anchored in the area of youth policy. 
Over the years we have jointly explored youth recreation development, local youth policy, youth and the arts and youth volunteering.  All the themes incorporated civil society involvement, participation by research organisations, the development of youth workers and joint funding from the Flemish and South African governments. 
Civil society organisations have shaped the content of the cooperation and have often anchored the collaboration.    The cooperation over the last two decades would not have been successful without the involvement of civil society.  Their participation has ensured that the cooperation is vibrant and remains relevant to the youth development challenges.
The South African and Flemish Governments agreed on a new framework for our 2015-2020 cooperation.  The framework is based on upscaling and promoting youth volunteering in civil society organisations.  The cooperation will be based on four building blocks that will upscale and promote youth volunteering:
1.    Capacity Building
2.    Knowledge Generation
3.    Marketing and Communication
4.    Lobbying and Advocacy
Capacity Building focuses on strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations and volunteers in order to increase the quality of the youth volunteer experience and the quantity of young volunteers.  The main activities involve the operationalization of the recommendations of the project evaluation, mentorship and the development of a manual for volunteers.
The knowledge generation building block focuses on developing indigenous knowledge around youth volunteering in South Africa in order to promote volunteering in terms that make sense to young people and provide a wide variety of avenues for their civic engagement activities.  This includes the development of the monitoring and evaluation framework for the cooperation, holding of knowledge seminars, youth volunteer summits and further research work on volunteer policy development in the country.
The marketing and communication building block is about making youth volunteering visible, raising the profile of volunteering in South Africa and repositioning youth volunteering as an opportunity for growth and development. The volunteer database is a key feature of this building block. 
The lobbying and advocacy building block focuses on the development of a volunteer policy in South Africa and funding mechanisms geared towards the long term sustainability of the programme.
Thus far the current cooperation has made significant progress over the last three years.  This progress has included:
·         Producing a capacity building toolkit on Volunteer Management;
·         Training 198 civil society participants in eight provinces on how to use the toolkit;
·         Holding two knowledge seminars that were attended by 200 delegates;
·         Conducting research on Youth Perceptions on Volunteering and a desk review of Polices and Legislation on Volunteer Policy in South Africa;
·         Developing and regularly updating an online database of volunteer opportunities;
·         Developing a partnership with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to allow the NYDA to fund civil society organisations to engage young volunteers; 
·         Holding a Youth Volunteer Summit attended by more than 100 delegates
We applaud these achievements and look forward to further progress to be made.  The National Youth Service Unit within the NYDA is currently rolling out training with Local Youth Officers within our country’s municipalities and metro’s.  The training will capacitate them to effectively utilise and manage youth volunteers. 
The National Youth Service Unit is also establishing a mentoring programme to assist civil society organisations run by young people to function effectively and be self-sustaining. The mentoring programme includes training and ongoing support.
Earlier in my speech I mentioned that this cooperation is aligned to our National Youth Policy 2020.  In the last year, we have worked on developing the framework for the National Youth Service Framework with an emphasis on coordination and expansion.  Civil society organisations participated in this process and many of these organisations are in the room today.  Within this framework, we have outlined the possibilities that short term volunteering opportunities hold for young people. 
We have articulated the gap year programme as an option for youth who want to experience this break between studies and employment.  We have further proposed that the gap year take place within civil society organisations as they provide an ideal development experience for both the young person and the organisation involved. 
We are concerned about the resource allocation to civil society organisations for the funding of youth service programmes.  The framework recognises this impediment.  Within the tight fiscal environment that we find ourselves in, we will make a principled, evidence based argument for more public and private resources to support youth service programmes. 
In the next month or two, we will be submitting the revised National Youth Service Programme Framework to the relevant Cabinet Committee and to Cabinet for approval.  Following the approval of the framework, the NYDA will roll out an exciting communications programme for a repositioned National Youth Service Programme for the youth of South Africa.  The National Youth Service Unit will be ready to support government and civil society with training and technical support in the development and implementation of youth service programmes.
I am aware that this is a conference with young people and leaders of young people.  Please allow me to deviate from the theme of the conference to talk about a very relevant issue within our society today.  Like many of you, I too was horrified to hear of the gruesome death of Karabo Mokoena, a young woman from Gauteng who succumbed to death allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend.  Since then we have heard the stories of many more young women, some found dumped in bushes, raped and then shot dead.  Mandla Hlatswayo, an outstanding young man, was shot dead as he was reportedly trying to protect young women from being robbed.   
These are stories that puts me as a young man and leader amongst the youth to shame.  It makes me angry that young women in our society are no longer safe and have to look at all times behind their shoulders for fear of rape, robbery or death from us.  There are thousands of young women who suffer in silence, afraid to reach out to a society that should be protecting them. 
As a leader amongst young people, I wish to unequivocally proclaim today that real men do not beat up women.  Real men respect women.  I encourage more young men to stand up and be men of integrity and courage, to stand up and proclaim that enough is enough and to stand up and demand an end to the senseless and violent onslaught against our mothers and sisters.
As civil society organisations and leaders of young people, we have a responsibility to educate our youth on these dangers, to mobilise them to destroy the patriarchy and inequality that give rise to gender based violence and to empower young men with the beliefs and values that must underpin healthy and respectful relations with the opposite sex.  
Young men, we must boldly declare that not in my name.    Not in my name will we accept the violence and abuse of women and children.  Not in my name will we allow the glamorisation of rape amongst young men.  Not in my name will we allow thugs and perverts to define the relationship between men and women.  Let us stand up and fight for the South Africa that we hope for, the South Africa that we want.
I want to conclude by expressing the gratitude of the South African government to the government of Flanders for this joint cooperation since 1996.  Minister Gatz, I do hope that you will take our gratitude and well wishes to Flemish Community.  I also want to express the firm commitment of the South African government to our 2015-2020 cooperation agreement.  We will do everything that we can to make this cooperation work.  We look forward to a further two decades of partnership.
I wish you this conference well.  Your deliberations are important for increasing youth volunteering in South Africa.
I thank you.
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