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YouthBuild South Africa: Three Initiatives Championing Young Leaders

For the last 20 years, YouthBuild South Africa has operated at a most critical time, addressing significant unemployment rates among a growing youth population across the country. These three initiatives across YouthBuild South Africa are examples of YouthBuild’s core values of love, accountability, collaboration, diversity, and leadership in action. These programs work to champion young leaders through fostering construction skills, investing in education, encouraging life-long success, and providing opportunities to give back.

The Faranani Infrastructure Project

In partnership with the Trevor Noah Foundation, The Faranani Infrastructure Project (FIP) supports young people in giving back to their communities. Project participants identify and implement crucial infrastructure projects necessary to maintain educational facilities in their respective communities. Their work, in the project’s first phase, has included building and renovating six primary schools. YouthBuild South Africa alumni from this program have gone on to open new businesses, secure employment opportunities, and further their studies in various institutions of learning.

“Knowing that I possess skills in building construction, and I can make an income for myself from the building skills I have acquired at the Faranani Infrastructure Project makes me happy because this has created a huge difference in my life,” says participant Theophilus Ngobeni.

The YouthBuild Alternative High School

The YouthBuild Alternative High School, located in the heart of Soweto, supports students to complete their Matric (Grade 12 equivalent) and succeed in academic areas like mathematics, physical science, and accounting. Students get access to the facilities for studying, conducting research, and consultation with tutors. In addition to the school program, the school partners with social workers to provide psychosocial support to students. To date, the program has yielded great results and helped young people restore their confidence. Enrolled students undergo additional training in life skills, entrepreneurship, work-readiness, and leadership training. YouthBuild South Africa is a part of the YouthBuild Global Schools Network (YGSN), a community of practice that is hosted by YouthBuild USA and includes YouthBuild programs from the USA and other international sites.

The YouthBuild Saint-Gobain Academy

The YouthBuild Saint-Gobain Academy works with opportunity youth from communities of Ekurhuleni Municipality. Over the years, this partnership has fought youth unemployment, assisted young people to develop self-confidence, and encouraged young people to pursue their dreams and take up entrepreneurship opportunities.

YouthBuild USA helped forge an innovative partnership with the South African division of the world’s largest supplier of construction materials, the French company, Saint-Gobain. Saint-Gobain is partnering with YouthBuild South Africa to implement the Saint-Gobain YouthBuild Academy, the world’s first YouthBuild program implemented by a private company. YouthBuild South Africa staff oversees soft skills, life skills, entrepreneurship, counseling, leadership development, and community service projects, while the Saint-Gobain team delivers education, technical training, and credentialing along with supervision of YouthBuild South Africa’s community asset building projects. Since its inception in 2016, the Academy has trained over 350 young people from disadvantaged communities at one of the country’s most up-to-date training facilities, with an emphasis on green-building technology. 

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