The Pravah-ACTIVATE! Youth Exchange Programme

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

Contents Page

Who We Are...................................................................................................................................................3

Exchange Programme Team........................................................................................................................4

Exchange Participants................................................................................................................................5

An Overview.................................................................................................................................................6

A Shared Vision............................................................................................................................................7

A Partnership for Development..................................................................................................................8

A “Me to We” Journey..................................................................................................................................9

Key Learnings Youth Camp in Kampala, Uganda.....................................................................................10

The A! Academy Experience......................................................................................................................11

Major Challenges........................................................................................................................................12

The Amended Project: An Online Exchange Programme........................................................................12

Continuing the Programme: Possibilities For a Bright Future..............................................................13

What I've Learned........................................................................................................................................14


The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

Who we are... ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a Network of over 4000 active citizens with the capacity to drive change for the public good across South Africa. The network connects youth (Activators) who have the skills, sense of self and spark to address tough challenges and initiate innovative and creative solutions that can reshape our society. Activators have a shared purpose, commitment and responsibility to forge a better, more just South Africa for the public good and for themselves.

@Activate_ZA

@ActivateZA

www.activateleadership.co.za

Pravah was seeded in 1993, with the intent to create safe spaces for adolescents and youth to form their own opinions, worldview, bring about change within themselves and the society around them. Pravah views youth through the youth centric development lens which focuses on building their leadership potential. We work with young people from diverse backgrounds to build their agency and enable them to act, such that they become self-aware, deeply empathetic, socially responsible leaders.

@Pravahdelhi

@Pravah01

www.pravahindia.org

The Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec) is an executive body under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our aim is to help achieve the overarching goals of Norwegian development policy, which form part of Norway’s integrated approach to implementing the 2030 agenda. We do this through mutual exchange. This means that we work with international partners who want to use the exchange model to learn from each other and develop. Norec provides grants, follow-up, and training to about 220 partners from various countries. Our partners consist of organizations, institutions, and private businesses in Norway, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We all work together to solve global problems, based on local needs and conditions.

@Norecno

@Norecno

www.norec.no

This case study booklet has been curated/consolidated as part of the Pravah ACTIVATE! Youth Exchange program 2020. The project is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec).

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

Exchange Programme Team

Bongi Ndlovu Capacity Building Manager

Lauren Daniels Head of Content

Tebogo Suping Executive Director

Nivedita Soni Director

Shiara Pillay Programme Manager

Sibongile Segobola Youth Hub Manager

Arathi Kurup Senior Program Coordinator

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Neeru Malhotra CEO, Direct Interventions


The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

Exchange participants

Mthunzi Gasa

Nombulelo Ngwentle

Pako Kgosiencho

Ajay Kumar

Nthabeleng Jabani

Phathuxolo Ndzimande

Bipasha Bhattacharyya

Vineeta Kumari

Fouziya Tehzeeb

Ashish Kumar Rajput

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

An Overview Globally, youth are commonly viewed as passive, apathetic and disinterested in the affairs of their own communities. Moreover, youth involvement has historically been seen as disruptive and spontaneous among other things. Despite this persistently negative characterization, there are driven and committed youth across the world who through their actions continue to influence positive change in their communities. In October 2014, Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan was named a Nobel Peace Prize winner at age 17, thus becoming the youngest person to receive this prize. The award was in recognition of Malala’s activism and determination for Pakistani girls to access free quality education. In 2007, when Malala was ten years old, the Taliban had become the dominant socio-political force throughout much of north-western Pakistan. Girls were banned from attending school, and cultural activities like dancing and watching television were prohibited. In South Africa, the youth led #FeesMustFall movement that gripped university campuses across South Africa in 2015, led to policy shifts on the part of government on higher education financing. This moment in South Africa’s history succinctly depicts the important contribution young people have made towards addressing some of the country’s developmental challenges. Despite the persistently negative dominant narrative about youth globally, there are many other examples of youth contributing positively into the public realm across the world as depicted above. The stories of Malala Yousafzai and the #FeesMustFall movement both represent examples of the important role young people are playing in addressing pressing socio-economic issues affecting society today. With this in mind, there is therefore a dire need to nurture the potential and agency of youth to continue influencing positive change in communities across the world. This is especially true of youth from the developing world which is generally plagued by interminable challenges of poverty, inequality and disease among others. Given their social status, youth in developing countries are vulnerable to these and other issues. It is important for youth to be continuously supported and intently engaged in order for this vulnerability to be decreased and more importantly to ensure that they are empowered to contribute positively towards finding lasting solutions to these and other challenges facing their communities. In 2017, at the opening of the Global South-South Development Expo in Antalya Turkey, Jorge Chediek pointed out the increasingly important role global-south development interventions play in responding to challenges affecting the world today. “Solutions to today’s critical development challenges exist in the Global South, and every country – large or small, emerging economy or least developed – has something to offer to the world,” he maintained. Pravah, an Indian-based development intervention has over the last 29 years committed itself to creating opportunities for the self-development of youth in order for them to influence positive change in their communities. Similarly, in South Africa, a network of over 4000 youth leaders called ACTIVATE! Change Drivers has committed itself to be the engine of economic, social and political change not only to improve their lives, but the lives of all around them. Pravah and ACTIVATE! share a common vision of helping young people to lead the pursuit of building a future worthy of their longing. In light of Chediek’s insights on the need to harness the potential that developing nations have to offer it is vital to reflect on the role that both Pravah and ACTIVATE! play in responding to development challenges facing society today. At the core of the developmental approach of the two organisations is the philosophy of creating platforms for young people to meet, connect and be inspired to play a contributing role towards the transformation of society. Thus giving birth to a collaboration on an exchange programme between Pravah and ACTIVATE! as a tool for social change in the developing of the capacities of young people. The exchange programme also gave rise to the opportunity of crafting new and sustainable channels for future cross-cultural youth development partnerships. Additionally, the exchange programme offered the two organisation the opportunity to reflect upon the common history shared between South Africa and India and its relevance in providing a more broadened understanding of youth development challenges in the global south. Aligned to this is the focus on the collective responsibility of various sectors of society in ensuring that youth are supported to meaningfully and actively respond to the interminable socio-economic challenges that they face today. In a nutshell, the exchange is about two organisations from different continents working together to create a crosscultural learning experience and explore it’s long-lasting, positive impact on the organisations, the young volunteers involved, and their communities.

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Pravah participants site visit to Philippi Youth hub - Cape Town


The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

A Shared Vision As highlighted above, the Pravah ACTIVATE! exchange programme represents an important effort in the quest to build the ability of youth to contribute towards finding lasting solutions to today’s most pressing development challenges. This important partnership was birthed through a meeting between former ACTIVATE! CEO and current Executive Director of the ACTIVATE! Academy Chris Mentjies and then CEO of Pravah Neha Buch while working with the Mahatma Ghandi Institute. It was during Neha’s visit to South Africa that the idea of an exchange programme was forged at the ACTIVATE! Social Entrepreneurship Summit. Chris points out that the common vision shared between ACTIVATE! and Pravah essentially catalyzed a relationship that ultimately resulted in an international exchange programme. He further highlights the importance of exchange programmes in ensuring that experiences are transformed into learning. “I realised that Pravah was similar to ACTIVATE! but on a bigger scale. They are dealing with the same types of problems as we are - India just has a greater population. Their budgets are also lower than ours, yet the scale of their delivery is much higher. Similarly to South Africa, India has very capable young people doing amazing things, so I was interested in working with them”, he stated. “An exchange would allow participants from one country to learn from what the other is doing and take the learning back to their own country. Any kind of travel with new social challenges makes for a rich and deep learning experience,” Chris added.

ACTIVATE! Site Visit in India for the feasibility study

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

A Partnership for Development The Pravah ACTIVATE! exchange programme is a partnership funded by Norec which at its core represents a development mechanism which endeavors to ensure that young people are interacting and connecting with others, resources and opportunities in order to help elevate the work they are already doing through their respective community projects and ensure the sustainability thereof. Hence both organisations are passionately committed to seeing young people realise and explore their development potential in their interest areas. “Our work is similar in that we both work on youth leadership but ACTIVATE!’s focus area is on community development led by young leaders while Pravah focuses on self-development of the youth along with community development, so we’re different enough to ensure that we can learn from each other . Pravah’s premise is on building youth leadership for bringing about social change,” says Arathi Kurup, Programme Coordinator at Pravah. This essentially highlights the value of collaboration in addressing youth development challenges. This is particularly important within the context of the global south where solutions for the challenges which countries have to grapple with daily lies in building and strengthening strategic partnerships between various actors, in particular civil, public and private sectors, including amongst young people themselves. Given its value in transforming experiences into learning, the exchange programme is an important platform for building global networks that can bridge socio-economic and geographic divides among young people. Participants from both ACTIVATE! and Pravah are in a unique position to learn from and impart their own knowledge and skills to others. Capacity Building Manager at ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, Bongiwe Ndlovu highlights the importance of south to south development interventions, pointing out opportunities for shared learning for organisations from countries sharing common socio-economic characteristics like South Africa and India. “We wanted to work with Pravah as they work just like us, they train young people in a developmental context like ours and they have their own curriculum and vision for youth development. We wanted to see how we could work together. We did a feasibility study to assess the value that participants would derive from this initiative by travelling to the respective countries (India and South Africa), and we found that we share a lot more in common than what sets us apart such as issues of rife gender based violence that also affect young people. The aim is to gain insights as a young person on how similar issues are tackled differently in another county and to bring back those lessons learnt and shared with others to elevate their work within their communities,” she stated. Hendrik Dale, Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec) Programme Adviser further outlines this point by stating that “Our aim with the exchanges we fund is to create change at three levels by benefitting the individual, the organisations involved and on a community level – that is Norec’s Theory of Change. The individual on the exchange learns new skills. Young people are not aware of what they’re capable of, the skills they learn are beneficial and they can use them at home. Then the exchange of best-practice between the organisations strengthens their capacity. On a community level, the organisations Norec supports work with and provide services to their local communities and so we hope these exchanges will lead to improved outcomes for the communities.”

Exchange orientation training in Muizenberg Cape Town

“Our most important core value is reciprocity (the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit). We don’t want one organisation to send volunteers to teach and the other organisation must learn. We want it to be reciprocal. Both organisations have lots of skills that can benefit each other, in this case both organisations have as much to teach as they have to gain from that partnership. Pravah’s mission of strengthening

the self, which in turn strengthens the community and ACTIVATE’s strength in how they have built and sustained the alumni network, we saw that both organisations could benefit and exchange knowledge,” he added. Over and above being a learning platform for exchange participants, the Pravah ACTIVATE! exchange programme further represents an important platform for the two organisation to share best-practices and innovative ways to enhance their respective potential. In the long run, the partnership aims to influence other south-south cooperation spaces that impact the lives of young people. Executive Director at ACTIVATE! Tebogo Suping succinctly expounds on this idea by stating that “As an organisation, we want to reach outwards, outside of our countries so we can both leverage from the knowledge and skills to help us be more effective. The exchange is a learning platform to help us be able to service young people better.”

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

A “Me to We” Journey

Chocolate gift from ACTIVATE! ACTIVATE! and Pravah recognize the immense potential of youth-led social networks in driving meaningful change in society. Social network theory focuses on the role of social relationships in transmitting information, channeling personal or media influence, and enabling attitudinal or behavioural change. The ACTIVATE! Pravah exchange programme has provided 5 Activators from ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and 5 youth volunteers from Pravah with an opportunity for cross-cultural learning and knowledge sharing. Participants in this important programme were selected on the basis of their community participation in their respective countries. This is in recognition of the agency and potential of young people to contribute meaningfully towards addressing challenges affecting the world today. Young people represent real potential to drive meaningful change in society and this potential must be nurtured and developed in order to ensure that young people take their place as engaged global citizens in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. An important component of the ACTIVATE! Pravah exchange programme is that of creating an enabling platform young people from different cultural, economic and social backgrounds to share knowledge and experience in order to enhance their capacity and agency to drive change for public good. Youth social networks are important insofar as they have a potential of initiating change in communities. In essence, the ACTIVATE! Pravah exchange programme draws from the youth social network theory in its assumption that if youth are provided with a provocative platform to meet, connect and be equipped then they can influence change in their communities. The ripples effect of change is central to the work of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, and similarly the core of Pravah’s youth development work is the idea of “We to Thee”. Both these ideas are essentially grounded in empowering youth in order for them to positively contribute towards transforming their communities. Norec’s Programme Adviser Hendrick Dale captures the essence of the ACTIVATE! Pravah exchange programme by stating that “Our aim with the exchanges we fund is to create change at three levels by benefitting the individual, the organisations involved and on a community level – that is Norec’s Theory of Change. The individual on the exchange learns new skills. Young people are not aware of what they’re capable of, the skills they learn are beneficial and they can use them at home. Then the exchange of bestpractice between the organisations strengthens their capacity. On a community level, the organisations Norec supports works with and provides services to their local communities and so we hope these exchanges will lead to improved outcomes for the communities.” “Our most important core value is reciprocity (the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit). We don’t want one organisation to send volunteers to teach and the other organisation must learn. We want it to be reciprocal. Both organisations have lots of skills that can benefit each other, in this case both organisations have as much to teach as they have to gain from that partnership. Pravah’s mission of strengthening the self, which in turn strengthens the community and ACTIVATE!’s strength in how they have built and sustained the alumni network, we saw that both organisations could benefit and exchange knowledge,” he adds. Neeru, says, At the beginning we thought although we had the same core focus, the way we did things was different, with Pravah’s strong focus on the self. It was very interesting because as we worked together we found the activities our organisations did - and ultimately the learnings they created - were actually very similar. One of the ways our differences manifests is the amount of oneon-one mentoring conversations Pravah has with our volunteers due to the introspective aspect of Pravah’s work. This surprised ACTIVATE! participants, says Neeru. “We find that if we do not connect with them, which is about them personally not about the project, they feel demotivated very easily,” Our volunteers learnt a lot from the cross-cultural engagement, working out the dynamics and learning to live with others and working at the ACTIVATE! Academy. They appreciated the different approach ACTIVATE! uses. There was a lot of focus on building a curriculum for the Academy, which they enjoyed and learnt a lot from because it’s not something they’d done before with Pravah. They learnt from the difference in approach and methodology.” Tebogo Supping, Network Director, says, ACTIVATE!’s strength is the strong network of Activators and our expansive reach across the country. “We have managed to build up a diverse network of young people who come from very different backgrounds. This is something Pravah is interested in doing in India.”

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

Key Learnings Youth Camp in Kampala, Uganda An important aspect of the exchange programme was the Youth Camp hosted in Kampala, Uganda; which is an initiative of Norec which sets out to bring together exchange volunteers from all over the world to prepare them for their upcoming exchanges. “There is a lot of exchange of ideas. They set up participants for their volunteering programmes so they can see why Norec does these exchange programmes and be clear on why they have been chosen and what is expected of them on their exchanges. So that the volunteers can open up to learning more while on programme and get the most out of the experience,” states Arathi Kurup. Norec Programme Adviser Hendrick Dale highlights the importance of the Youth Camp by stating that, “We give them an introduction to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and our team-building exercises. We’re hoping that what the participants will get out of this camp is an increased ability to see the world from different perspectives and reflect on their role as exchange participants - in their own local communities and on a global level. And we hope that through those workshops they’ll be ready to participate in the exchange programmes. It’s also an opportunity to identify some personal and professional challenges that may arise as part of the project. Identifying those in advance along with good ways to handle them and so the participants know who to contact if problems arise. The feedback we get from this youth camp is that it’s valuable.” Participants generally reflected positively on their experience of the Youth Camp in Uganda. Over and above the opportunity to interact and draw inspiration from youth leaders other part of the world, exchange participants described the camp as a great learning experience. Reflecting on her experience of the Youth Camp Activator Nombulelo Ngwentle, says “Uganda was amazing. It was my first time travelling in the region; getting to meet with other young people who are like-minded and passionate about different issues, leadership as well as different cultures. It was a great learning experience where I met someone who is different to me but still faces the same challenges that I do with both of us working on solutions that could help towards addressing them.” Additionally, the camp provided an opportunity for participants to critically reflect on their own stereotypes and challenge their mind-set. Pravah volunteer, Ashish Kumar Rajput, says, “In India we see Africa as a country not as a continent. We have a very stereotypical view. I was disappointed in myself. I was not aware of the diversity the African continent has. Similar looking people to us but actually very different. One cultural shock I got was how many countries Africa has, so many countries, cultures, tribes, languages. I was shell- shocked. When I started interacting with people, I said ‘I don’t know anything about your country, can you tell me about it?’. I met a lot of people I am still in contact with. If I get the opportunity

NOREC Youth Camp group photo in Uganda

to travel back to Africa to work on social issues, I now have valuable contacts,” he says. Moreover, the camp provided participants with an opportunity to explore perspectives from other youth leaders from across the world on how to address development challenges. Activator, Phathuxolo Ndzimande, says, “Uganda was a really great experience for me. You learn about the differences our countries have, learn to appreciate your country, you see that someone else has bigger challenges. It makes you grow. I learnt so much and it pushed me to do some of the things I wanted to do, but was too scared to. I met a Kenyan woman doing a project with limited resources that gives me confidence to keep going.” Orientation Camp in Muizenberg, South Africa Following the Youth Camp in Uganda, Pravah ACTIVATE! participants headed to Muizenberg in South Africa for an orientation camp. The orientation camp sought to provide exchange participants with the required support and guidance in order to ensure that their experiences throughout the duration of the exchange programme will be transformed into learning. The schedule was kept quite light and fluid to allow for social interactions and excursions in between. Everything that was addressed was tailored into both the South African and the Indian context, and then put together making it flow from one to another. There was also an allocation of time for reflection and introspection including homework assignments. With the orientation happening straight after Uganda, it did at times get a bit exhausting for which the need for a timeout was considered. The overall feedback was overly positive. In terms of activities, participants felt that they had gained a lot of perspective regarding the entire orientation process and appreciated the additional time spent together. Post the 14 orientation programme, the 5 participants from Pravah were placed with the ACTIVATE! Academy as their host organisation for the duration of the exchange. It is during this time that the South Africa participants were scheduled to travel to India to be hosted by Pravah. However, due to some visa and other logistical issues their date of departure was delayed to April in order to give time for the matters to be resolved. This was of great disappointment to all but also a valuable key learning opportunity on what to look out for in future including the understanding that not all participants possess the same means and capacity to navigate different spaces, particularly those with no prior exposure. That being said, this did not stop the rich experience which the Pravah participants got to be acquainted with.

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

The A! Academy Experience As part of the exchange, the Pravah volunteers had an opportunity to work with the A! Academy which is a free e-learning platform and a blended learning environment for young people to access capacity building opportunities and resources. Part of the scope for the Pravah volunteers was for them to be involved in the content development processes for the A! Academy courses. This primarily entailed conducting research for some of the programmes with a pointed focus on leadership and mental health. Reflecting on this experience Executive Director of the ACTIVATE! Academy Chris says, “The Pravah volunteers used their own life experiences to interrogate some of the e-learning frameworks, and they attached projects to the material. Like they would attend an event on gender-based violence or youth development and film it or engage in conversations about it then add that to the online material. The volunteers had some breakthroughs with the research they were doing. There were some deep insights about the nature of

Soil for Life site visit in Cape Town

leadership learning and what leadership was all about. They came up with some big ideas around interconnectedness, social and emotional learning,” he says. “We looked at leading others and also found very rich leadership research. How to lead others through inspirational stories and case studies where the same problem is dealt with in different countries,” Pravah volunteer, Fouziya Tehzeeb says, “At the Academy I was really interested in designing a module on how to find leadership in yourself, rather than looking for someone to lead. Redefining leadership and redefining leaders in your life. It shouldn’t be a big shot person, leaders can be in our own community and I can also be a leader. Leaders have lots of qualities that I may have, yet I don’t see myself as a leader. Being in a different setting requires people to be more open and tolerant to new ideas, different opinions and different people. That is the starting point to seeing yourself as a leader. Getting to know people differently helps us develop skills like empathy. I also have a lot of respect for the way Chris works. He gave us a small assignment on leadership to work on. I was thinking and observing how he was leading and also giving us the opportunity to lead. Leaders take you along and sometimes they have to step back. It was such an enriching experience.” Pravah volunteer, Ajay Kumar, who runs Teach for Green (an educational sustainability organization in India) reflected on his experience of meeting with and learning from similar organisations in Cape Town. “I met with Soil for Life in Cape Town and engaged with various individuals that I learned from about sustainability, markets, hosting community meetings and gardens. There are many similar kinds of projects happening in Cape Town and Delhi, like solar home lighting systems, kitchen gardens and community gardens. It was very interesting.” he said. “I further learnt how Soil for Life have set up their own campus where they have examples of soil and of building community relations with nature. I saw how ACTIVATE! is helping the young generation with training programmes and their partnership with Soil for Life. It was good exposure for me. I got to learn more about ACTIVATE!’s different entrepreneurial programmes where they train young people to be social entrepreneurs and help them by providing resources,” he added. The exchange programme also was an opportunity for participants to experience the world from the lens of someone from a different background. Expounding further on this, ACTIVATE! Academy Head of Content, Lauren Daniels says “Ultimately these exchange programmes have the power to change your mind-set. It takes you through quite a transformative experience. You think about things in your country that could be different and those things that work very well. It shifts your own perspective when you see people doing things differently under their own circumstances.” Nivedita Soni, Director at Pravah says, “A lot of young people don’t have the opportunity to engage with anything that’s different to them. You can go through life living with the same community, culture, class, caste, economy and don’t really have any experience of anything diverse. Then you do not have the ability to empathise or include anyone different to you, or even to recognise social issues affecting others. The exchange allows them to see a much larger picture than what they’re experiencing in their lives,” “It’s not just about seeing a different space but also living and building relationships in that context. They come back changed and not only in terms of knowledge and words but definitely in terms of mind-set. In terms of how they or approach anything different. When you experience something like this, outside of your immediate perspective, your ability to take in anything different from you is enhanced. There’s a lot of self-work that happens,” says Nivedita.

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

Major Challenges As with many other developmental initiatives, the implementation of the Pravah ACTIVATE! exchange programme was not without its own challenges. Key among these challenges was effects of the COVID 19 pandemic which not only affected this specific programme but economies across the world. The rise of the pandemic resulted in an emergency evacuation of India participants from the pilot cohort, placed in Cape Town. They were flown back from South Africa to India and as a result could not proceed with the other components of the exchange programme. Their return also meant that the volunteers missed an opportunity to practically work on South African community-based projects. Sadly, also the South African delegation were unable to attend the exchange programme in India permanently as a result of travel restrictions put in place by governments across the world. However, they will be integrated into the remodelled 2021 programme which is a continuation of the 3 year partnership between Pravah and ACTIVATE!

Pravah team visit with exchange participants in Cape Town

The Amended Project: An Online Exchange Programme Programme sustainability is invariably linked to impact for both beneficiaries and other stakeholders. As highlighted above, the advent of the COVID 19 pandemic and the resultant travel restrictions adversely affected the continuation of the exchange programme. With this in mind, coordinators of the exchange programme have had to reflect on the issue of the sustainability of the exchange programme as well as its effects on the participants. Reflecting on this process, Bongiwe Ndlovu remarked that “The amended project was birthed as a necessity after the novel coronavirus restricted international travel. Norec allowed the partners to redirect the funds into deliverables that would assist in strengthening the partnership between Pravah and Activate.”

Norec youth camp in Uganda

The amended project is a result of consideration and flexibility on the part of Norec to allow implementation partners space to strengthen their relationship going forward bearing in mind that the exchange programme is a continuous 3 year process. Bongiwe added that “Norec funded the initial exchange pilot between Pravah and Activate! And the relationship has evolved and grown and birthed the amended project which is basically the upcoming online exchange project. What has been amazing to observe is the organic growth in the relationship, and the continued support in our partnership with Pravah and Activate. One of their key objectives is to plant seeds for long-term change through continued support and exposure. And they have lived up to that vision through their continued support and adaptability to environments.”

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

Continuing the programme: Possibilities for a bright future Overall the Pravah ACTIVATE! Exchange Programme was an experiential learning journey for both participants and the two organisations. Participants from both ACTIVATE! And Pravah reflected positively on their experience of the various components of the programme, from the Youth Camp in Uganda, to the Orientation Camp in Muizenberg, South Africa. The Pravah volunteers were fortunate to have had a unique experience owing to their exposure to the A! Academy and its workings. Moreover, these volunteers had an opportunity to immerse themselves in not only the culture of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers as an organisation but also in the diverse cultures of the South African communities they interacted with over the duration of their brief stay in the country. Considering the dream held by Pravah and ACTIVATE to strengthen a partnership that could ultimately create spaces for young people to grow, shape their futures, and contribute to developing societies built on principles of respect, togetherness and life-long learning, the exchange appears to be one impactful step in an exciting journey ahead. “They are very thankful and are very proudly talking about it. They are still in touch with the Activators, so friendships have developed for a lifetime. This kind of programme needs to continue to happen to create change and a larger cascading effect. Five people’s mind-sets were changed, imagine that being 100. Seeing each of these people go on to make changes in their communities and their own lives is so rewarding. Even for Pravah as an organisation, it’s a journey for every young person that we would have contributed to,” remarked Arathi. Beyond just a developmental intervention, the exchange programme has sought to create hope to its participants. It is common cause that development work can be a lonely and difficult journey and as such it is important to create platforms for young people who are involved in development work to meet, connect and be inspired. “Young people get so stuck in current realities where there’s not much hope. A programme like this creates inspiration. Young people see what is working out there, what is possible in spite of the challenges,” says Tebogo.

Orientation week training - Amazing race challenge in Cape Town

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The Pravah Activate! Youth Exchange Programme

What I've learned... “The exchange helped me understand the need for cooperating with each other on similar issues of development. Such cultural immersions help in seeing different people’s viewpoints and encourage same-paging.”

“ I learned to never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed young individuals can change the world regardless of their background or their country’s economic status.”

Phathuxolo Ndzimande

Ajay Kumar

Ashish Kumar Rajput

“Breaking stereotypes and biases about each other has been a key aspect of my exchange learning journey. Going forward I now believe that global community development is about working together and using our different cultures and experiences to drive that change.”

“I’ve learnt that our global diversity brings us as young people closer together as we work and thrive to make a positive change in our societies.”

Nombulelo Ngwentle

“I have gained skills and knowledge that will help me contribute to my home community and I am glad to be part of an ever-growing network of young people across the globe who can collaborate for the future.”

“I learnt to seek to understand than to be understood “

Mthunzi Gasa

Fouziya Tehzeeb

“The experience helped me challenge my own beliefs and views. I now choose to share this experience with my own community members by engaging people from different backgrounds in conversations about common issues faced by us.

Nthabeleng Jabani

Vineeta Kumari

“It was a great opportunity and it was my first time flying. I realised when I arrived in Uganda that although we come from different places that are far apart, we have similar challenges in our communities.”

Bipasha Bhattacharyya

Pako Kgosiencho

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“I have learned to instinctively appreciate the value of intercultural collaboration during the exchange programme training; to have understanding and to respect the next person’s frame of reference and also be empathetic to how people do things differently”

“I learned that by coming together to learn from each other we can navigate through social systems and structures that we experience like patriarchy, caste systems, race and economic inequalities despite being separated by our borders, and that this will help us build a better and more inclusive cross border space.”


"We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends."- Mary Mcleod Bethune