In winning the 2012 Youth Citizens Action Programme National Competition, Chief SW Nhlapo High School from Mpumalanga continue the province’s winning streak in the competition, following in the footsteps of last year’s winners, Dlomodlomo High School.
Teenage pregnancy, learning impediments, environmental issues and substance abuse are some of the issues grade 10 learners in all nine of the country’s provinces tackled as part of the third annual YCAP, a joint initiative of Heartlines, Afrika Tikkun and the Department of Basic Education, funded by Deutsche Bank.
While participating schools could win substantial cash prizes, this is more than a competition. It challenges the Grade 10 learners to actively demonstrate what it means to be a good citizen, and to do something concrete to address a challenge within their school or community.Some of the projects proposed by the schools were truly innovative and their impact on the school communities is excellent.
The purpose of YCAP is to get Grade 10 learners to think deeply about the problems facing their school and choose one particular issue they want to solve, spelling out detailed action plans, and following the guidelines given in the Heartlines booklet. The ultimate aim is to build a socially responsible citizenry.
Over 1000 competition entries were requested. Eliminations took place at district level, and one winning school per district competed in the provincial round. Provincial winners won R5000 for carrying on the project at their school.
At the national finals, winners Chief SW Nhlapo presented their project which tackled the problem of road safety outside their school. Their work included getting the traffic police to pull unroadworthy cars off the road, generate more awareness about using the level crossing, as well as getting the Roads Department to fix the verges of the road. They won R15 000 to continue the project.
Second place went to Boesmanland High from the Northern Cape, who did an innovative project to encourage more parental involvement in the school. They had organised several events and already had plans in place on how to use their R7500 prize money, on a parents and children’s camp. Third place went to Mowat Park from KwaZulu-Natal, who did a project on creating awareness around gender violence. They won R5000.