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To help advance youth economic empowerment, Vodacom has given a facelift to Vodacom Change the World by relaunching the programme as an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and youth volunteerism initiative.     

Vodacom Change the World contributes to creating work experience opportunities for young people, who in turn will use their skills and time to give back to their communities through the non-profit organisations (NPOs) of their choice. The selected candidates are placed at an NPO of their choice for a year in nine provinces around the country. The NPO receives a grant and the volunteer a monthly stipend during the partnership.

On Thursday, a group of 20 young professionals were announced as the 2017 intake in Sandton, Johannesburg. The youth are excited and looking forward to start their projects and give back to communities.

The Vodacom Change the World programme was introduced in 2011, giving individuals the opportunity to volunteer their time and skills to work for a NPO for 12 months. To date, 111 volunteers have already made a difference through their placement at a wide range of NPOs.

Chief Officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe says: “Statistics released by Statistics South Africa in August this year indicate that youth unemployment is at its highest since 2003 with over 50% of the Youth between the ages of 15 and 24 jobless. In a contracting economy, prospects of addressing this challenge of unemployment at a faster pace are dim. It is against this background that Vodacom revised the volunteer program in order to contribute to national youth development programs.” 

“Through the Change the World programme, the youth are afforded a unique opportunity to do something close to their heart, while imparting their ICT skills to help society. As the impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are going to be felt hardest by the youth and women in particular, we see this as an opportunity to help bridge the digital divide in communities whilst preparing youth for a future in a fast digitising world. In this first youth intake, I am pleased to see that 60% are women and 70% of the ICT projects will focus on education. Accordingly, through this program Vodacom is also contributing to the attainment of several interrelated sustainable development goals.

On completion of the programme, we are confident that the 20 youth volunteers will be armed with vital work experience, enhanced skills, self-fulfillment and access to networks that will create more opportunities for them to contribute to economic development.

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