This year’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace has seen Game Changers delving deeper into new, innovative ways to reach out to young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inkwenkwezi Youth Development, while addressing need for opportunities to further education, substance abuse and drugs, high levels of youth crime, gender equity, and sexual reproductive health rights, also focus on determinants of health such as sport, education and employment, to ensure adolescents stay on a positive path into adulthood. Game Changer Champions are programme participants who have been engaged in the programme for some time. They are mentored to support and act as role models to younger participants. Key game changer commitments:

  • Engaging physical fitness
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • Employability
  • Community service

COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to its health and economic effects, impacts the sport fraternity in the broader scheme of things. The pandemic is teaching us that sporting, physical activities are not confined in the gym, that people can be engaged in physical activities in the comfort of their homes, in front of their children. And thereby, instilling values of health and wellness to the very children who watch them for fun whilst keeping fit in the process.

On 6 April 2020, Inkwenkwezi Youth Development Game Changers held a Zoom chat meeting devising novel strategies on how to reach out to young people, following government regulations and “21 days of lockdown”, which South African President Ramaphosa announced. In this regard, the following issues were discussed:

  • COVID-19 pandemic positives
  • COVID-19 pandemic negatives
  • App and technology needed to reach out to young people during this time of extreme danger
  • Funding thereof
  • Pandemic positives in the context of our work:
  • Parents spent time with their children
  • Parents engaged in children’s school work and get to understand children better
  • Parents occupy children with sports
  • Substance and drug abuse use decreased
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution-based learning and teaching is encouraged and sped up
  • Improved family bonds

Nation-building and social cohesion: communities, countries and continents are working together towards common good
Inkwenkwezi Youth Development is part of Solidarity Fund in spreading information on social media platforms – to reach out 3 million youths in three weeks on COVID-19 information

Pandemic negatives in the context of our work:

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  • Gender-based violence is on the rise in South Africa. And, when GBV is on the rise, child abuse is very likely
  • Schools are being vandalised at an alarming rate since closure as a result of COVID-19 pandemic
  • We cannot occupy children as we do not have technological, educational sporting games which children can access in the comfort of their homes
  • Funding is likely to dry up and shift towards fighting Corona virus
  • The Game Changers deliberated on issues as elaborated on above, and delved into novel strategies both of saving the organisation’s programme and human lives.

And the following short, medium and long term solutions were recommended:

  • Inkwenkwezi Youth Development play an active role in government initiatives to fight COVID-19
  • Partner with DG Murray Trust in supporting community workers based in our community committed to fighting the virus
  • Partner with the Solidarity Fund in ensuring that COVID-19 information is disseminated to and among youth
  • Mobilise financial resources to ensure that sporting but educational APP is developed to reach out to children, whilst in their homes