A youth leadership training programme for Soweto youth clubs: a needs analysis

Serobatse, Shirlyn Correen
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This study was undertaken with the purpose of identifying the problems experienced by the youth who participated in leadership positions within Soweto Youth Clubs. Further, the study focused on the way in which youth leaders ran their organisations. Furthermore, it explored a systematic community work approach to the development and change of structures, resources and services, in which the central role of the social worker and adult educator, would be to release and develop the potential for self reliance, inherent in youth individuals and groups within the community, through training. Fieldwork was conducted by the researcher over a period of eighteen months, using a combination of research methods. These included observation, documentary analysis, literature survey, interview schedules and questionnaires. A wide range of literature was reviewed to enable the researcher to gain background understanding of who the youth are; why they belong to groups and youth clubs; how peer groups and youth clubs contribute to their personal growth and development; and what could be done by professionals working with the youth in order to enhance and facilitate this development. Prior the administration of the research questionnaire, an informal scan was conducted by the researcher recording observations of proceedings of youth club sessions and committee meetings. The purpose of this endeavour was to collect data that would substantiate the research findings revealed by the questionnaires. The study focused on forfy-eight (48) young persons between the ages of 13 and 25 years, who were drawn randomly from the sixteen (16) Youth Clubs in Soweto, to whom the research questionnaire was administered. In addition, scheduled interviews were conducted with management staff and personnel of Soweto Youth Clubs; experts in the field of training; and fifteen (15) youth service organisations. The purpose was to encourage involvement and participation' of community members in planning and strategising on the approaches suitable for addressing problems experienced by the youth. The research findings revealed that the youth were to some extent, ineffective and inefficient in carrying out their different roles as office bearer of executive / sub-committees in youth organisations. Further, results revealed that it was important to develop the youth in relevant skills for their office bearer roles, skills that could be utilised to facilitate the initiation of constructive change processes and service provision in their communities; and further, to provide opportunities for considerable degree of personal growth, especially in areas of self confidence and interpersonal relations. A model of skills training for young adults, which would equip them with skills for community participation, was devised for use by community workers practicing in the field, emphasis ’ ting placed on integrated community social work and adult education principles. The essential skills and knowledge areas identified in this study focused on the individual, group and community work developmental areas. The following skills areas were embodied in a plan for a Youth Leadership Training Programme: » Self Analysis a Committee Functions, Roles and Procedures • Organisational Procedures « Group Participation and Leadership • Knowledge and Utilisation of Community Resources • Problem Selection, Goal Setting, Project Planning, Implementation and Evaluation • Fundraising It is impcrtant for the adult educator to review the content of this training programme, prior implementation to ensure adaptation to the changing needs and' interest of the youth.