Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth.
Creating Opportunity for South Africa’s Youth (COSY)
Working in partnership with Livity Africa, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), LifeCo UnLtd Project and funded by the EU, Creating Opportunity for South Africa’s Youth (COSY) is supporting sustainable futures for thousands of young people in some of South Africa’s most disadvantaged communities.
COSY directly addresses the needs of young people, especially women, helping them to take ownership of their own futures in a fast-growing, fast-changing world. A key focus of the programme is to develop young people’s resilience, as well as training them in the skills and aptitude to engage in a digital future.
COSY was co-developed with the participants and takes an interactive approach. It runs practical workshops on topics such as how to run a social media campaign and how to develop a digital strategy. The programme is geared to both nurture the potential and increase the opportunities for a youth population which in Africa alone is set to reach 105 million by 2030. The Curriculum draws on the Active Citizens’ methodology, developed and implemented by the British Council since 2009.
Refining the model
The COSY programme is currently training 160 young people in entrepreneurial thinking and practice, and is on track to reach 10,000 through events related to entrepreneurship and employability by the end of the three years. So far the COSY project has trained 126 young people and awarded 12 graduates with start-up capital and mentorship. Additionally, in order to strengthen the support environment for young people at community level, COSY has awarded grants to 20 civil society organisations and trained 40 community leaders.
The COSY model was honed and refined over time, informed by other successful British Council led partnerships across the African sub-continent and beyond. For example, the Digify Bytes training programme, a partnership with Google and Livity, piloted in South Africa. In one year the programme trained 25,000 young people in cutting-edge digital marketing skills, preparing them for the 21st Century workplace. The Ghana Skills Hub provided a physical and virtual space offering short-term skills development courses, business incubation and networking opportunities, and demonstrated the power of intensive projects able to provide one-to-one support and mentoring.