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Service - Leadership in Government - Issue 77

  • Text
  • Service delivery
  • South africa
  • Service
  • Employment
  • Youth
  • Unemployment
  • Leadership
  • Government
  • Wwwglobalafricanetworkcom
  • Transition
  • Solar
  • Assessment
  • Programmes
  • Csir
  • Salga
  • Challenges
  • Digital
  • Environmental
  • African
September is a time of renewal. In this edition of Service, we look at what is about to be renewed, in the process of being renewed, and in need of renewal in South Africa.

S youth The

S youth The Conversation. Creative Commons licence Alternative approaches It is crucial that funders, policymakers and programme developers invest in more intensive support that can help young people meet the challenges they face in seeking work. They must also insist on measures beyond job placement as indicators of success. International evidence bears this out. It shows that across 113 programmes reviewed, multidimensional programmes that seek to provide more comprehensive support to youth are more effective than those that offer training only. They are particularly successful when they target the most vulnerable youth. Further, our research recognises the crucial contribution such programmes play in keeping young people connected to opportunities, and reducing social exclusion and social drift. This is when young people become increasingly disconnected from the labour market, training opportunities and positive social inclusion, which in turn can have negative consequences on mental health. Given this evidence and the fact that South Africa is facing a stagnant economy for some time, it is crucial that funders, policymakers and those working on youth employment interventions evaluate and invest in programmes based on their ability to keep young people positively oriented towards the labour market. The programmes should help improve their employability, even if the young participant is not yet able to find an actual job. Outcome indicators that can more adequately measure these factors include enhancing job-search resilience, promoting self-esteem and self-efficacy, and reducing discouragement. Evaluating programmes on the basis of job placement alone underestimates the multidimensionality of poverty. There are ample reasons to move away from evaluating employability programmes based on employment outcomes alone. Rather, a range of indicators should be used to track whether young people remain engaged, believe in themselves and keep trying to find a job. This, while developing the personal attributes that will make them attractive to future employers. Each of these outcomes is more difficult to measure than a simple count of job placements. But it is not impossible. S Lauren Graham is associate professor at the Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg. Ariane De Lannoy is Senior Researcher: Poverty and Inequality Initiative, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town. Leila Patel is professor of Social Development Studies, University of Johannesburg. Q&A Ashalia Maharajh Founder & CEO Sivuka Youth Sivuka is a youth-training small business driven toward transformation in South Africa through pragmatic, human-centric interventions. What is Sivuka’s objective? We empower individuals to navigate their life and careers and make decisions by first gaining a deeper understanding of who they are so they may make a deeper impact in their communities and organisations. Your primary focus is self-mastery. Why? To impact the world we must first crucially understand ourselves. Specifically for our South African youth, we must help them acclimatise to the working world and to understand their new environment and the role they play. How so? A systems approach: in work we see young people that are placed in jobs struggle to perform, and not due to a lack of training – but based on our research, it is due to the type of development interventions: how the young hire is integrated into the workforce. For example, young people are paired with managers that have certain preconceived expectations of the young hire. However, given the pervasive systemic barriers that our history leaves us with, that young person may not even be aware of their “non-performance”, nor do they have the self-awareness or communication skills to identify and articulate their gap areas and ways to address this with their manager. This leads to massive frustration for the manager and the employee. So, we not only need to develop the young person’s self-awareness and communication skills – we also need to develop the support system within organisations for deep and long-lasting systemic change and upliftment. What is your philosophy? Our philosophy is simply self first. We nurture, hold space and allow the development of a young person and their support system – so that real behavioral shifts can take place. Our backbone is encouragement. S M 26 | Service magazine

digital S Restricting digital media is a gamble for African leaders Covid-19 pushed much of the world into the digital realm for everything from schooling and work to religious worship and dating. At the same time, many governments were turning data connections off. Full or partial shutdowns of the Internet and social media are increasingly common parts of the “digital authoritarian” toolkit. By Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz, Associate Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University Many leaders seem threatened by the way digital media makes it possible to share information and organise. Research shows that 2020 saw 156 full or partial shutdowns of the Internet or social media like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. South Asia accounts for almost three quarters of these shutdowns, with India leading the way. Africa was the next most affected region, with 20 shutdowns affecting 12 countries. Disruptions lasted from as short as a day or less, in Burundi, Egypt and Togo, to nearly 90 days in parts of Ethiopia’s Oromia region. A recent blockage of social media in Chad lasted for more than a year. And 2021 has seen shutdowns in Niger, Senegal and Uganda. Governments have given varying justifications for these moves. These include: combating hate speech and fake news in Chad and Ethiopia, suppressing violence in Sudan, and preventing exam cheating in Algeria and Sudan. Disruptions in Mali in 2020 coincided with anti-government protests, while shutdowns were timed around elections in Burundi, Guinea, Tanzania and Togo. In some cases, official reasoning has shifted over time. When Uganda shut down digital media surrounding its January 2021 elections, foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa initially said the move was retaliation for Facebook’s and Twitter’s actions against government accounts. Investigations had alleged the government was behind “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” using fake accounts to spread disinformation and intimidate the opposition. After the election, however, Kutesa said the move was “a necessary step to stop the vitriolic language and incitement to violence”. Views on digital media limits Online commentary usually harshly criticises these shutdowns. But these posts are not necessarily representative of general public opinion in affected countries. To get a sense of broader opinion on these issues, we analysed data from Afrobarometer. This is an independent African research network that conducted nationally representative surveys in 18 countries in 2019/20. About 27 000 Africans participated in these surveys. A larger share of respondents supported access to digital media. When given a choice between two statements, 48% agreed that “unrestricted access to the Internet and social media helps people to be more informed and active citizens and should be protected”. Only 36% agreed that “information shared on the Internet and social media is dividing (our country), so access should be regulated by the government”. Majorities in 10 countries supported unrestricted access. Support was highest in Cabo Verde (64%), Gabon ^ (63%), Cote d’Ivoire (63%) and Nigeria (61%). Majorities supported regulation in only three countries: Mali (53%), Ethiopia (53%) and Tunisia (59%). S Research shows that 2020 saw 156 full or partial shutdowns of the Internet or social media. Courtesy: The Conversation under Creative Commons licence Service magazine | 27

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