The first half of 2017 has been a crucial period of UE's strategic journey. We took important steps to ensure that ethics and values become high on people's agendas and a talking subject in boardrooms and social settings. At the centre of our focus is the roll-out of the new app, as discussed elsewhere in the newsletter; a robust mentoring program for businesses leaders; and our renewed focus on the youth.
The problems among the youth in South Africa are immense and stem from a variety of social issues such as poverty, a lack of opportunity, living in a violent environment, faithlessness, a lack of character development and many other obstacles. The consequences are disastrous and result in behavioural issues, poor academic performance, delinquency and youth crime, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, homelessness, exploitation and abuse, and diminished self-esteem, while many other issues are increasing at an alarming rate.
Accordingly, our youth strategy is aimed at stemming the tide and bringing life-changing experiences to the lives of thousands of young people. The new EU Youth Strategy are being shaped through extensive engagement with stakeholders and youth experts including teachers, learners, non-governmental organisations, community leaders and others. Given their alignment with our business strategy, UE has identified three priorities as the areas that will allow us to have the most impact in creating value for the young people of our country (which serves as a pilot project) and ultimately the planet. These three target areas are:
- The placement of life guides at schools with the aim of building young disciples for Christ by developing and implementing a comprehensive approach to youth ministry (in the areas of character building, worship, discipleship, missions and outreach), while serving as a spiritual leader and role model. This includes assessing the needs of young people, and planning and delivering programs in close collaboration with other role players related to specific challenges pertaining to the youth, such as drug abuse, immorality, association with gangs, violence, abusive relationships and bullying;
- The development of youth hubs in geographic areas. The aim of these hubs is to develop youths' leadership skills and to promote an ethical lifestyle among them and the community at large. The focus of these hubs will be on creating a safe space for young people to discuss and address the ethical challenges with which they are faced within their communities, and come up with solutions together; and
- The implementation of training and development programs that have ethics and values at the centre of the curriculum. We envision the development and delivery of courses, workshops, conferences, etc that promote ethics, values and clean living. These programs would be delivered by UE staff, UE partners and selected stakeholders.
The focus of UE on these issues does not diminish our commitment to other areas of our broader strategy, which we refer to as our core functions and which include the following:
- Ensuring that ethics and values are promoted on a constant basis in the business world and elsewhere as a counter against corruption and other wrongdoings;
- Continuing to engage society and others to become part of the UE movement; and
- Promoting Kingdom work on a continuous basis.