Gearing up to LEVELUP 2021

The National Lockdown, levels, and extensions of levels most often beyond our control taught us patience, endurance, and urged creativity in the in-between-periods. What we initially thought would last a few days is now steadfastly marching knees up towards a first-year anniversary. We did not see the extensions coming, but then again we never saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming either, but there came a point somewhere among the hand washing, mask-making and distribution, soup cooking and relief work that we realised we need to get a grip on building sustainability.

The crises showed us in many ways and across multiple arenas that tomorrow is not promised to anyone, but where some planning and systems are in place, a swifter and more effective response was ultimately possible. Kindness Corporation embraces the concept of sustainability so that networks and onward sharing and development can flourish.

For us 2021 means a specific focus on the Young People of Africa who are our future citizens, and future leaders who need to be prepared for the opportunities and challenges of a dynamic world.
35 youth from across Johannesburg will join our LEVELUP Youth Leadership Development Programme kicking off in April 2021. It includes a camp, seven weeks of lectures, targeted academic support, extra-mural activities, and a range of Give-back initiatives where they will experience life as it is, but perhaps more importantly how it could be, bringing their contribution and insights. Having met the first group from MES at a Meet ‘n Greet in Hillbrow last week it is obvious that millennials have the energy to make noteworthy efforts toward transformation on our continent (no seriously, they really do think outside the box!) but they also need support, encouragement, and time to learn and morph into the best version of themselves.

LEVELUP had four thematic areas:
Wake Up = we need to become conscious of the fact that we are here, still standing despite all the challenges, surviving COVID, and the more we need to be and do. Leadership is impossible without self-awareness.

Rise UP = embracing the awareness that we can be greater, we can pursue meaningful pursuits to lift us beyond our current reality. Often it means interrogating the dominant logic of culture, tradition, customs, religion, the and the allure of the easy road…

Level Up = all the learning, upskilling, courses, reading, coaching, new experiences, and mentoring that we can fit into a given timeframe.

Raise Up = each participant on the programme needs to adopt a Pay it Forward mindset. The curriculum is designed to Measure their contribution. They will also complete a team community project to support current challenges or that inspires innovation.

The Young People were shocked when we shared the research:

  • The Largest concentration of young people in the world (nearly 20%)
  • If one includes all people aged below 35, this number increases to a staggering 3/4 of Africa’s population.
  • The share of Africa’s youth in the world is forecasted to increase to 42% by 2030 and more than doubling by 2055… that is around half a billion young people on the continent!

Source: Andrews Atta-Asamoah, Senior Researcher for the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa, “Head to head: Is Africa’s young population a risk or an asset? BBC World, 29 January 2014
This brought us to the ultimate leadership questions: So What? and Then What? Our teens and youth will be the decision-makers, and the more information they have upfront, the more informed their choices and actions will be.

  1. How do we ensure that our young people and families live in dignity?
  2. How do we find the means for them to prosper across all life dimensions?
  3. What are the small changes we can make that will have the biggest impact?
  4. How many success stories will we share 12 months 10 months from now?

But they cannot do it alone, it will take scores of entire villages to raise our children, and to help them think through the challenges they face. What worked in the past may not hold the same impetus for evolving challenges. Obsolete solutions will not serve new problems, so we need to teach them how to think, not what to think, how to problem solve, not how to copy and paste randomly picked narratives. The more we spoke to them the more it became abundantly clear that the solutions rests in “and”, not necessarily in “or”. Life is not linear, it is seldom a case that B causes A in isolation. It is more likely to be a combination or system of cause and effect, and thus our analysis and solutions need to follow the same formula.

Following the same principle, the youth who attend the programme also belong to a family or support system who will be affected, and who will in turn affect the Kindness Corporation. We believe in inclusivity and impacting the entire network in a more sustainable way.

We are excited to get the rest of our cohort for 2021 onboard and invite you to follow their journey of leadership and community impact. There will be learning, sharing, fun, and future-focused interventions.

We take the opportunity to thank the donors and volunteers who have already embraced these young people stepping forward to make this programme a reality.
For any questions or queries, feel to contact us.

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