Investing for Impact

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Impacting youth in their communities:  Strengthening Youth Clubs for Greater Impact

Required Investment: $10,000 per Youth Club (7 clubs available for sponsorship)

Project Goals:  Because so many children are in need of the support that Camp Sizanani provides, each camper attends Camp Sizanani's residential program once.  It's a transformational eight days.  In order to fully leverage that one-time camp experience, Global Camps Africa provides a follow-up program called Youth Clubs on Saturdays at several locations in and around Soweto, where most of our campers are from.

Our Youth Clubs continue to be well attended, but we have observed a significant shift in the makeup of the club population from former campers and their siblings to non-campers and drop-ins.  Though we will continue to welcome all young people at our Youth Club programs, we are seeking to renew our connection with former campers and sustain our engagement with the young people who attend Camp Sizanani.  Our Vochellis-In-Training and our Youth Club Advisory Council have collaborated to provide innovative ideas to help us engage and continue to support and educate our campers after they leave Camp Sizanani. Investing in this project will provide the necessary resources to implement these youth-led strategies, resulting in greater uptake of our follow-on programs by Sizanani campers, increased opportunities for continuing education and life skills training for former campers, and ongoing access to needed ancillary social support services.

Duration of Project:  12 months

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Target Population Group: vulnerable youth, including children, orphans, and adolescents from 5  to 18 years old. This is a “Key Affected Population Group” most vulnerable to HIV infection [1].

Number of Youth Impacted:  285 youth per club (up to 2,000 through all 7 clubs)

Project Locations:   Our Youth Clubs are located in township communities surrounding Johannesburg, South Africa, where the second highest number of AIDS orphans and people with AIDS defining conditions in South Africa reside [2].

Drivers of HIV Infection Among Target Population Group:  Preventing HIV infection in children and youth is one of the key goals of Camp Sizanani and Youth Clubs.  In the target population reached by this project, five key drivers of HIV infection have been identified: (1) being forced into sex; (2) the low status of women and gender-based violence; (3) having sex in exchange for financial and other material support (driven by poverty); (4) intergenerational relationships - between older men and younger women; and (5) inaccurate knowledge about HIV/AIDS [3] [4].

Through increased and sustained engagement with this population, Global Camps Africa aims to increase knowledge of HIV prevention strategies and decrease the vulnerability of children and youth in the communities where we work.  Our evidence-based curriculum addresses each of the identified drivers of HIV infection in age-appropriate ways in a safe, supportive environment.

Project Description:  The youth-driven strategies for increasing and sustaining engagement with our campers through Youth Club attendance include:

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  • Providing a Youth Club membership card and a name badge for each young person who joins one of the Youth Clubs.  The membership card will provide a sense of belonging for each child, and the name badge will help counselors and fellow campers identify each child and call him or her by name.  Increasing club participants’ sense of community and recognition within the club structure will incentivize children to return to Youth Clubs for each session.

  • Providing a Camp Sizanani Youth Club t-shirt and backpack for each member of Youth Clubs.  A special shirt and backpack will identify members of the Youth Club to one another outside of club meetings, which helps to build connections and community among participants.  A sense of pride in the program and in belonging to a special group will increase each member of the clubs’ desire to return to the Youth Clubs for meetings and special events.

  • Providing notebooks and a multiplication charts for each member of the Youth Clubs. Our staff reports that in many households in townships, parents cannot afford to buy notebooks for children. Research in Gauteng proves that this has negatively affected students’ ability to participate effectively in the teaching and learning process, the negative snowball effect of this is reflected in poor high school academic performance and failure to matriculate[5]. Since education is at the core of Camp Sizanani’s programs, and in the spirit of empowering campers, notebooks and multiplication charts are gifts for each Youth Club member that will be not only appreciated, but used to support their learning at clubs, at home, and at school.

  • Delivering continuing education and training for Youth Club vochellis (counselors):  Ensuring that Youth Club counselors receive ongoing education, training, and support that keeps their skills fresh and the information they are sharing at Youth Clubs up to date is critically important.  Equally important is keeping counselors abreast of youth development best practices and new tools to enhance their effectiveness at Clubs. Youth Clubs members who are engaged and inspired by well-trained and highly effective counselors are more likely to stay in the program and even to aspire to become counselors themselves.

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