The government has been aiming for sustainable growth as part of the national Recovery Plan, aimed at changing South Africa as we know it. Now, the Driving Force for Change initiative has given youth a chance to play an active role in creating change.
The initiative was announced on Youth Day this year after President Cyril Ramaphosa challenged the youth to come up with programmes that would tackle the country's development goals and unemployment crisis.
Youth unemployment recently reached 30.8% in the third quarter of this year, according to StatsSA.
The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy announced 13 youth-led projects that were chosen over others.
“Today’s initiative intends to translate concepts into bankable business ideas, to explore unchartered territories through research and development; to incubate and nurture innovation and technology, to equip our youth with the necessary skills sets and capacity, so that their projects have a positive impact on the environment,” said Creecy.
The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has put aside R1 million to help the youth projects become a reality. The British High Commission has further contributed R300 000, bringing the total to R1.3 million.
The German Technical Agency will provide technical support and training to all winners of the initiative.
These youth-led projects aim to promote a more environmentally friendly economy and society.
Creecy said the youth-led projects will contribute towards Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan that aims to bring about sustainable growth.
“Our recovery programme notes that the pursuit of green industrialisation and a green future is an important intervention to ensure a sustainable solution to climate vulnerability and economic competitiveness,” the Minister said.
Creecy has big plans for the initiative and the changes that it will bring about.
“Other critical interventions in the green economy include expanding the programme to retrofit public and private buildings and improve energy and water efficiency, support for small grower farmers through PPPs in forestry (including in State plantations), and measures to support the diversion of waste from landfills,” said Creecy.