Codebridge Youth Bees creating a buzz - It has been hectic for the first six months of 2022 for the Codebridge Youth project team. With a total of six workshops in five different municipalities and an attendance of approximately 150 young people, it is safe to say that we have “worked” our socks off!

An organisation that gets down and dirty

When we started the initiative with Witzenberg Justice Coalition, based in Ceres, I realised as the Project lead that we would be entering a new engagement space. Witzenberg Justice Coalition is a community-based organisation, with a real intent to drive change in their community. I have heard voice notes and read WhatsApp messages of community members notifying WJC of an issue they experienced at a particular service delivery point, whether a health facility or a service disruption in the street. It was clear to me that implementing the Citizen Engagement Programme in Witzenberg would yield an opportunity to support WJC to better engage with government,  the community and build skills in some areas of their work. When we hosted the first data and digital literacy workshop in early March 2022, a total of 32 youth attended, with about 5 WJC staff members there as well. I should have known, based on these numbers, that the organisation, coupled with the youth, meant serious business. They wanted to build their capacity to use data and available digital resources. 24 of the 32 participants were under the age of 21. This trend continued into our most recent 2-day workshop on 17 & 18 June 2022.

We came back to Witzenberg and added an additional day!

Following the workshop in March 2022, OpenUp continued to engage Witzenberg Justice Coalition. There were formal and informal discussions, ultimately bringing together many ideas, concepts and opportunities. One such opportunity was to find a way to support WJC in collecting data in their work areas. They mentioned that when they often took a complaint forward of a community member or a group of community members forward, those in charge would ask, “where is the data to support this.” WJC is very responsive to community complaints and requests, sometimes even forgoing the idea of collecting the data linked to the complaint or issue. I guess it is a testament to their drive and passion for assisting their community. Therefore, we decided to return to Witzenberg and offer two data public participation and data literacy workshops. On our return on 17 and 18 June, we were welcomed by 14 youth of a very similar age demographic as the first workshop. 

The 14% illustrated in the above graph (2 people) were likely Adrian Kearns from OpenUp and Mvuleni Shasha from WJC (that's an age joke, get it?). On day one, Adrian Kearns focused on the critical aspects of Local government. Dedicating one day to this ensured that the youth understood how local government works, what processes they could participate in, and what documents they needed to access to gather in order to have the necessary information to engage their municipality.

The data doesn't lie

What we were expecting and what transpired were the same in that the youth were not really familiar with concepts like the IDP, SDBIP and Municipal Budget, but when asked who the mayor was, someone in the group screamed “Oom Hennie.” 

The IDP is a planning instrument of a municipality. Through the drafting process, Municipalities must ensure that community participation happens. But for community participation to even occur, communities need to be aware of that need or its existence, for that matter. Above, we can see that nearly two-thirds of the youth were unfamiliar with the IDP.

Based on the above, we can see the remarkable difference between when the youth completed the survey on day one and when they did it on day two at the end of the workshop. Youth now understood the role of the Municipal IDP. In fact, youth could download the IDP, search for data related to youth development, and present it to their peers in the workshop.

What next?

Definitely conducting surveys in their communities. We are keen to support WJC and its youth through this process of data collection, analysis and storytelling. Be on the lookout for the next phase shortly! Expect youth to actively engage the community members to collect data on critical service delivery matters.

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Codebridge Youth Bees creating a buzz - It has been hectic for the first six months of 2022 for the Codebridge Youth project team. With a total of six workshops in five different municipalities and an attendance of approximately 150 young people, it is safe to say that we have “worked” our socks off!

An organisation that gets down and dirty

When we started the initiative with Witzenberg Justice Coalition, based in Ceres, I realised as the Project lead that we would be entering a new engagement space. Witzenberg Justice Coalition is a community-based organisation, with a real intent to drive change in their community. I have heard voice notes and read WhatsApp messages of community members notifying WJC of an issue they experienced at a particular service delivery point, whether a health facility or a service disruption in the street. It was clear to me that implementing the Citizen Engagement Programme in Witzenberg would yield an opportunity to support WJC to better engage with government,  the community and build skills in some areas of their work. When we hosted the first data and digital literacy workshop in early March 2022, a total of 32 youth attended, with about 5 WJC staff members there as well. I should have known, based on these numbers, that the organisation, coupled with the youth, meant serious business. They wanted to build their capacity to use data and available digital resources. 24 of the 32 participants were under the age of 21. This trend continued into our most recent 2-day workshop on 17 & 18 June 2022.

We came back to Witzenberg and added an additional day!

Following the workshop in March 2022, OpenUp continued to engage Witzenberg Justice Coalition. There were formal and informal discussions, ultimately bringing together many ideas, concepts and opportunities. One such opportunity was to find a way to support WJC in collecting data in their work areas. They mentioned that when they often took a complaint forward of a community member or a group of community members forward, those in charge would ask, “where is the data to support this.” WJC is very responsive to community complaints and requests, sometimes even forgoing the idea of collecting the data linked to the complaint or issue. I guess it is a testament to their drive and passion for assisting their community. Therefore, we decided to return to Witzenberg and offer two data public participation and data literacy workshops. On our return on 17 and 18 June, we were welcomed by 14 youth of a very similar age demographic as the first workshop. 

The 14% illustrated in the above graph (2 people) were likely Adrian Kearns from OpenUp and Mvuleni Shasha from WJC (that's an age joke, get it?). On day one, Adrian Kearns focused on the critical aspects of Local government. Dedicating one day to this ensured that the youth understood how local government works, what processes they could participate in, and what documents they needed to access to gather in order to have the necessary information to engage their municipality.

The data doesn't lie

What we were expecting and what transpired were the same in that the youth were not really familiar with concepts like the IDP, SDBIP and Municipal Budget, but when asked who the mayor was, someone in the group screamed “Oom Hennie.” 

The IDP is a planning instrument of a municipality. Through the drafting process, Municipalities must ensure that community participation happens. But for community participation to even occur, communities need to be aware of that need or its existence, for that matter. Above, we can see that nearly two-thirds of the youth were unfamiliar with the IDP.

Based on the above, we can see the remarkable difference between when the youth completed the survey on day one and when they did it on day two at the end of the workshop. Youth now understood the role of the Municipal IDP. In fact, youth could download the IDP, search for data related to youth development, and present it to their peers in the workshop.

What next?

Definitely conducting surveys in their communities. We are keen to support WJC and its youth through this process of data collection, analysis and storytelling. Be on the lookout for the next phase shortly! Expect youth to actively engage the community members to collect data on critical service delivery matters.