First round of A! Engagements kick off

Dynamics are a fundamental tool of comprehending diversity, a diversity astute in contemplating how, when and where effective change can be implemented and how out of that change personal and societal development can be birthed. But what better way is there to articulate this aspect than a platform where ideas converge and diverge in a bid to create a common purpose based upon shared common interests than the A! Engagements which took place this past weekend in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Western Cape. 

The event was marked by young leaders, networking and understanding the various successes and challenges that young people face in their various walks of life. The purpose of these engagements was to shed some light on the 2017 ACTIVATE! strategy, delving into what Connect, Inspire, Provoke and Influence means to Activators and their roles. Almost 200 Activators attended.

Upon an observation of what was taking place it was apparent to see that the purposive thematic element of the event, was mainly inspired by individuals immersed in taking action, fostering change and driving their various mandates forward. Not only are these mandates driven by the desire to maximize partnerships between Activators, but are further proliferated by the desire to witness and foster effective change in the various aspects of life that Activators are involved in.

A prominent feature of the A! Engagements is to establish a common purpose around Activators in the same field of interest. Issues of youth development, entrepreneurship, education, art and health came out as overall themes. Out of these topical issues, successes and challenges were brought out so as to paint a clear picture of what the A! Network is succeeding at, struggling with and how to collaborate.

Under the banner of youth development, critical issues like the aspect of focusing on education and providing an avenue of self-empowerment and development amongst the youth was important. For instance, the Isibani representatives present at KZN put it on record that their initiative of tutoring and advancing students and learners the opportunity to better comprehend the curriculum and participate better within the academic space.

Out of this space that was occupied, Musa Ncane articulated his vision for the prosperity of the youth through platforms like the A! Engagements. He passionately spoke about the surge of whoonga use by the youth within communities across the country and how this has derailed much needed progress expected to be fostered by young people. Though he did have a clear vision as to how social ills can be dealt with from his point of view, he did articulate the challenges of capital deprivation which is essential to carry programmes forward.

In addition to the issues of youth development, entrepreneurs articulated their position as fundamental in fostering entrepreneurial unity so as to aid one another in one way or the other. This includes and encapsulates assistance in branding and registration, farming, feeding schemes, service providers, online and digital marketing. 

The leaders at the event converged to further discuss the on-going hot topic regarding education. It was conveyed that out of the ten people who start grade one, only two people will reach matric level. The various challenges as to why this occurs were discussed. Firstly it was established that financial aid and financial procurement is fundamentally difficult to access thus it has proved fundamentally cumbersome to foster the education drive. It was also brought to light that the curriculum is not effectively reflecting and responding to the needs of the predominantly underprivileged black masses. It was then established that there is a need for internal structures to effectively deal with change that is long overdue in relation to the curriculum. 

The event marked the power of the convergence and divergence of ideas to create a platform where leaders of the various stakes come up with soluble outcomes engineered by the action of Connection, Activation, Influencing and Provocation. As we conclude it is vital to comprehend the words of the third president of the Republic of Kenya who uttered:

‘’Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed’’.

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Co-financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW and the DG Murray Trust.

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