With an unemployment rate which is significantly higher than the national average, there is clearly a great imbalance in the labour market where the youth of this country remain on the back foot. According to Stats SA, the first quarter of 2022 showed the unemployment rate in South African youth as 64% for those aged 15-24 and 42% for those aged 25-34 years, while the national rate is 35%. In order to curb this issue, the youth must be at the core of corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives.
At Momentum Metropolitan Foundation we continue to become experts in youth development by understanding young people and their struggles, and how we can solve their challenges, in a relevant manner and meet them where they are. Our CSI initiatives are categorised into social-economic development, consumer financial education and employee volunteerism.
Social-economic development addresses the unemployment challenge that we, as a nation, are plagued by. At Momentum Metropolitan Foundation, we do this by enabling and empowering young people to become economically active whether it’s placing them in jobs or helping them grow their businesses, specifically in the ICT space.
Within consumer financial education, we reach out and educate young people through a number of tools and programmes to help them with financial decision-making to ensure that they are financially savvy. A recent Eighty20 study showed that around 20% of youth in South Africa aged 18-24 are credit active. It is essential that the youth understand the impact of debt and the effects of financial struggles.
It is the responsibility of the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation to ensure that the above-mentioned programmes are generating the impact needed to make a meaningful difference both internally and externally to the company. We don’t want CSI to just be beneficial for communities, we believe that it must also add value for the business and must be seen as business imperative. We are on a quest to show how we can become an enabler to the business, and how our department can get closely aligned with the business through the programmes we support. We are already well on our way as some of the young people who have graduated from programmes like WeThinkCode and Life Choices have gained meaningful employment at Momentum Metropolitan..
This is all part of the journey of transforming into strategic CSI. Our goal is to maintain our focus on serving communities as our primary mandate but also align our CSI efforts to the business.
The key focus areas going forward will be to raise awareness around CSI and its impact on the business and community and to ensure that consumer financial education programmes are delivered in a manner that ensures behaviour shifts. A key element will be to measure behavioural changes and the impact our programmes have on young people rather than sharing financial knowledge and thinking that everybody understands it. It is essential to have proper frameworks and methods in place to measure the impact that the interventions and programmes have on the youth.
The new way of looking at CSI is refreshing and is a step in the right direction. The Foundation is on a great path and there is no doubt that with the strategic CSI approach, the youth, community, and the company will benefit significantly in the long term.