Creativity Can Provide Skills in Leadership


The Eastern Cape, South Africa

The Challenge

The Eastern Cape region, an area particularly hard hit by HIV/AIDS and poverty, has the largest percentage of households headed by youth in all of South Africa. For many, selling drugs, sexual favours, thievery and migrating to the cities for work seem the only ways to get by. They needed other tools for survival so PYE are helping to provide skills in leadership and communication by introducing creative expression into the young people’s lives.

A Solution

In 2009 PYE was approached by African Solutions for African Problems (ASAP) to help local communities develop programs to re-engage youth in the region. Two years and three visits later, PYE has trained approximately 30 youth workers who have set up life-skills programs for youth across the Eastern Cape. ASAP has hired one of them, Xola Yoyo, to provide continued training and coordination of those programs.

By the end of 2010, 500 youth were regularly attending programs based on the Creative Community Model led by PYE-trained facilitators. These programs have already changed lives as the youth build circles of support and address the pressing issues that face them. The training has also changed the lives of the facilitators – several have gone on to get paid work with community organizations in the region.

In addition to life-skills classes, facilitators trained by PYE are also putting on youth camps where young people can gain skills in leadership, communication and integration. Xola told the story of four boys who attended a camp in January. Before camp they had been bullying other youth and stealing things from their school. After camp their school principal marveled at the changes in the boys, saying, “They don’t beat up and bully anymore, and they are attending school regularly.”

Our goal for the future is to continue to mentor Xola Yoyo in delivering training and support to youth workers in the Eastern Cape. In that way the number of youth who have access to life-skills programs in that region will snowball.


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