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UNICEF South Africa hosts Next Gen visit

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
Youth Reporters from the Children’s Radio Foundation being interviewed by Forbes magazine.

Johannesburg, 2 February 2018 - The UNICEF Next Generation (Next Gen) comprises a group of young leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators in their 20s and 30s who commit their resources, resolve and enthusiasm toward supporting UNICEF’s lifesaving work. Members study issues that affect children around the world and choose UNICEF projects to support through education, advocacy, skill sharing/remote volunteering and fundraising.

Through their activities, members mobilize their networks and inspire their generation to take action on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children. Since 2009, UNICEF Next Generation has raised over $9.6 million and supported 16 UNICEF projects around the world, from nutrition to child protection to maternal and neonatal health and more. This year, South Africa was selected for a Next Gen visit and, over the course of five days, the group, accompanied by a camera crew from Forbes magazine, visited a diverse range of programmes supported by UNICEF in both Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces.

With the Next Gen focus on promoting early childhood development (ECD), the programme commenced with a visit to the an ECD centre in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg where they were warmly welcomed by singing children who enjoyed the chance to play and have learning lessons with the group – including making their own flags.

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
The Next Gen group had a fulfilling visit to the Mothers Touch Academy in Diepsloot, outside Johannesburg.

This was followed by a visit to the studios of Alex FM in Alexandra, where they were interviewed by Youth Reporters who document stories from their communities and who are part of the Children’s Radio Foundation, a UNICEF-supported initiative. Alexandra High School then hosted the Next Gen group as they engaged, through roundtable discussions, with a group of Techno Girls, who are young women learners with an aptitude for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through UNICEF support, these learners have opportunities for mentorships and internships and, later, possible careers in these fields.

After a three-hour drive through the Lowveld, the group visited a hand-washing station at Lekazi Primary School outside Nelspruit in Mpumalanga province. Here, they gained insight into the support given by UNICEF, the Department of Basic Education and corporate donors to promote safe hygiene in schools.

© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Reddy
The Next Gen group had the opportunity to learn more about the UNICEF-supported Sports for Development programme at Thomas Nhlabati High School near Secunda in Mpumalanga province.

Sports for Development (S4D) is a key component of UNICEF South Africa’s education focus, and at Thomas Nhlabati Secondary School in Imbalenhle township in Mpumalanga they got to watch the positive impact of S4D through interactive discussions as well as a few sporting activities with the learners who were keen to show off their oratory and sports skills.

The trip concluded with a visit to the Freedom Park Safe Park outside Soweto, where they got to speak to and play with children who use this sanctuary along with child and youth care workers from the National Association of Child Care Workers, a key partner of UNICEF South Africa.

The experience of engaging with healthy, happy children was a fitting end to a productive and illuminating trip by the UNICEF Next Generation.

 

 

 

 

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