The OVSA Schools Programme also offers an opportunity for young people to feel the power of ADVOCACY.
YOUNG PEOPLE CAN……..
* Advocate for policy change: Young people are effective at garnering support for policy development and change. Young people capture the attention of political leaders and the media, in ways that adult’s cant;
* Project a powerful voice: Young people have credibility with their peers and other community leaders;
* Invoke creativity and innovation: Young people naturally provide innovation and creativity; making their involvement and partnerships more exciting and attractive to community leaders, policy makers, and other young people.
Several of the OVSA projects, in particular the Grade 8 and 10 Life Skills Projects, support learners with a more in-depth look at the power of Advocacy, and how getting their voices heard can lead to their active involvement on decisions that affect their lives.
The main aim of the Advocacy Projects focuses on learners’ understanding that what they have learnt in the classroom, can be translated to ACTION in their communities. The process supports young people on identifying a critical health and/or lifestyle issue in their community, designing a project that addresses this issue and then implementing it. Once implemented, learners are asked to reflect on the outcomes of the project and evaluate whether or not their project was effective, what lessons were learnt and what could have done better and why?
“We hope that through these projects, learners or groups of learners, develop an opinion about a social issue, work to find evidence to support their stance on the issue, and share this evidence with those who are in positions to make changes to the policies (or situations) that affect that issue” – OVSA Facilitator.
The envisaged benefits of these workshops includes helping learners to raise their voices and have their needs and opinions listened to (especially when the decisions being taken directly affect their lives); have the ‘know-how’ to access resources and information appropriate to them, and the ability to help themselves and others take healthy and responsible decisions for their lives. In this way, young people can feel the power of becoming ‘advocates’ and meaningfully contribute to society.
OUR ADVOCACY GLOSSARY
ACTIVISM: The process of taking action to address an issue or problem. Activism and Advocacy may overlap;
ADVOCACY: A form of activism used to speak out on a particular topic, or on behalf of an affected individual, group or community, to demand action on a particular issue;
EDUCATION: A form of action used to inform people of an issues; including the threats and consequences of a problem, in order to positively influence debate, attitudes and behavioural change;
ORGANISING: Builds power among an affected group of community members, directly affected by an issue to advance systematic change;
SERVICE: Provides relief and support to people directly affected by an issue.