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UNICEF and the GEM-BEM: Continuing to make a positive difference

UNICEF South Africa/2015
© UNICEF South Africa/2015

Pretoria, 9 December 2015 - Since its launch by UNICEF in South Africa in 2003 the Girl Empowerment Movement – Boy Empowerment Movement (GEM/BEM) programme has grown with hundreds of so-called ‘gemmers and bemmers’ countrywide today. Clubs are run by learners themselves with support from teachers, school principals, parents and the Department of Education. GEM/BEM is seen as a social movement of choice for young South Africans as they work to address a myriad of challenges they face in their daily lives.

To see how an organized alumni can make a contribution towards youth empowerment, UNICEF arranged a one-day workshop for 22 former GEM-BEM club members to plan on how to take things forward specifically regarding sports and leadership.

In his opening address Lyle Jacobs, Education Officer at UNICEF South Africa, spoke about the importance of an alumni as being a leadership corps who can provide advice and mentorship as they can attest to how their lives changed for the better through the opportunities provide by the GEM-BEM.

As part of the workshop, the participants were placed into three groups to debate both challenges and opportunities for the GEM-BEM programme both within high schools and for the alumni broadly,

All those present at the workshop were tasked with one actionable step to advance the GEM-BEM that they committed to take by the end of the first quarter of 2016.

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