Description: Crime is a major problem throughout South Africa and youth crime is an integral part of the problem. Either through poverty, boredom or peer pressure, youths are behind more and more crimes. 40% of all prisoners in SA are under 25. Khulisa Crime Prevention Initiative sees youth as the solution as well and began the Make It Better (MIB) programme in order to empower youth to take the problem into their own hands. MIB offers training and support for local youth throughout the country in order for them to gain the skills necessary for them to start their own CBO's and to become marketable employees in government and NGO markets. MIB will work with one community at a time and train about 30 youth in a 9 month (average) programme. There they study leadership, conflict management, team building, communication public speaking and a host of other skills necessary for leadership positions as well as specific skills training such as drug prevention and HIV/AIDS. Since 2000, 21 such trainings have been held resulting in 30-40 local programs. These programs, which receive help and support both financial and administrative from MIB, cover areas such as sewing, farming, counselling, crime mentoring and police work. The beneficiaries are trained as if auxiliary social workers and thus can contract themselves out to various other projects as well. Over 320 have been trained in total. Funding comes from different sources for each community but the Department of Social Development is a big contributor, as is the Danish International Development Agency and private donors such as Syfrets Bank.
Innovation: The project is new in that it allows trained youth to assess the needs and wants of their communities on their own. By giving them the training they need to begin their own projects, they are able to learn how to best utilize their skills and address each community's specific problems.
Effectiveness: MIB has worked in 21 communities and has near 40 projects running now. Many have, on their own, been nominated for awards and some have been particularly successful at helping their communities. 320 youth have been trained and even if they are not working in their communities they are gainfully employed elsewhere.
Poverty Impact: By training community members, each training has the potential to reach even more people than could otherwise be possible. A group of 30 trained youth has the potential to reach a community of 10,000 people either with poverty alleviation projects or crime and drug reduction or HIV/AIDS counselling.
Sustainability: Each project area will have its own funding and project lifecycle. The program runs on about R400,000- R600,000 per year and funding has not been difficult to find in the last 6 years. Because of different lifecycles, some beneficiaries leave their projects for permanent jobs. The average lifecycle of a project will be 4-5 years with 50% of beneficiaries moving on to other jobs.
Replication: The project is self-replicating already. 21 areas have been reached and potentially many more could be as well. Those trained could go on to train even more and the program is already expanding into urban areas as well. Replication is a part of the model of this project.