Could Creating Livelihood Opportunities Be A Better Response To The Youth Crisis In South Africa?

Most individuals envision a job as a source of income, a way to support themselves and their families, and a path to financial stability. However, livelihood can encompass much more. It is a way of life, a means of supporting oneself and one’s family, and a means of earning a livelihood; it can also pave the way to financial security.

The primary distinction between a job and livelihood is that a job is typically temporary and has clearly defined boundaries and goals. It is a venture with a clearly defined objective and job description that generates revenue. Having a job is often the initial step toward attaining financial stability, but it is not always a permanent solution.

On the other hand, livelihood is a way of life. It involves the ability to provide for oneself and one’s family over the long term. It entails engaging in a diversity of income-generating activities and having access to the resources necessary to make a living. It involves the ability to adapt to changing economic, political, and social circumstances.

Typically, livelihoods are more sustainable than jobs because they comprise the full range of activities required to make a living. For instance, a farmer’s source of income may include not only crop production but also harvest sales, farm maintenance, and other income-generating activities. This makes the livelihood more resistant to changes in the market or environment.

A livelihood is a way of life, a means of sustaining oneself and one’s family over the long term, in contrast to a job, which is a short-term income-generating activity with a specific endpoint. Both are necessary for achieving financial security, but a livelihood is typically more resilient and in particular resilient to external changes.

In light of this, I am confident that we can all concur that the South African economy is in a state of stagnation and has failed for many years to generate sufficient employment for its youth population. With unemployment continuing to rise, it becomes increasingly difficult for the nation’s youth to find work and earn a living. Despite the lack of available job opportunities.

So, we did a bit of digging and this is what we have come up with for CSI Managers to consider in creating youth programmes.  Perhaps it is not about jobs but rather about livelihood.  So perhaps helping the youth find an alternative source of income is the first stage in securing a living in a failing economy. Numerous young South Africans should acquire a living through entrepreneurship. This may include anything from starting a food truck business to offering web design, social media management, or tutoring services. The key is to find something that you are impassioned about and that you can do from home or with minimal startup costs.  As a side note: Professor Steven Friedman of UJ said something interesting.  Township people have an entrepreneurial mindset and I cannot agree with him more. Back to the point; In addition to formal sector employment, there is also the possibility of working in the informal sector. This may involve freelancing or working for a small company that does not require formal qualifications. This could entail funding entrepreneurial programmes in our townships – small entrepreneurs such as township corners tomato and onion stands, shisa nyama, chicken dust or funding the local transportation furniture collector.

Data shows that, young South Africans rely on digital platforms to support themselves. This may involve creating digital content, such as YouTube videos or an online store, or selling digital products, such as artwork or music. Digital platforms allow users to reach a global audience and generate a sustainable income.  Perhaps we can ask these YouTubers to create or even shoot our CSI programmes.

In a failing economy, it is difficult but not impossible to make a livelihood. CSI South African can establish a sustainable lifestyle and positively impact the economy by identifying alternative sources of income, the informal sector, and digital technology world.

There is a large and diverse population of youth in South Africa. With unemployment at an all-time high, it is more important than ever for young people to find meaningful and secure employment. For those that perhaps who are not entrepreneurial we could consider – lower hanging fruits employment opportunities.  Youth in South Africa are privileged to have access to a variety of thriving professions that offer employment and financial security.

Perhaps CSI practitioners can concentrate on the low-hanging fruit of job creation, i.e. teaching and nursing, for which there will always be a demand.  If CSI programmes, for instance, funded programmes to produce 20,000 nurses and 20,000 teachers per year – in accordance with the expanding population standards – the standards would be met.

Nursing is one of the most prominent and successful professions in South Africa. From hospital and clinical care to home health and long-term care, the nursing profession offers a variety of career options. Those who are committed to helping others and making a difference in their community can pursue a secure and rewarding career in nursing. Youth can acquire transferable skills and experience applicable to other disciplines through nursing.

Teaching is the second lowest-hanging fruit for generating employment; teaching is another thriving profession. Youth have the opportunity to positively impact their communities through instruction by educating and inspiring the following generation. In addition to providing job security and financial stability, teaching affords educators the opportunity to develop and refine their skills.

By pursuing professions in nursing or education, South African youth have a unique opportunity to make significant contributions to their communities as well as the economy. Both professions provide job security, financial stability, and the chance to make a substantial contribution to society. With the correct mindset and dedication, South African youth can find success and fulfilment in these thriving professions.

Professor Steven Friedman recently stated in an interview that township economies have an entrepreneurial mindset, which I found astounding.  And this is quite accurate, as some of my co-workers have car washers, taxis, Uber drivers, barbers, printing facilities, food stands, etc.  The only issue is that South Africa has not enabled marketability for these enterprises.  They are the farthest rung of programmes in society, and CSI divisions large and small will hardly finance them – the survivalist woman selling tomatoes on the corner, who has actually demonstrated greater resilience than the businesses and jobs that have continued to fail us.

So perhaps, just perhaps looking at Livelihood, could be the answer to our youth unemployment and unemployability problem.

Mtetwa Simphiwe
Simphiwe Mtetwa is the Managing Director and Editor-In-Chief for Corporate Social Responsibility News South Africa.

1 Comment

  • Hi, can you please adopt our non-profit organization in dobsonville soweto, we are a registered entity with SARS Section 18A and Department of Social Development.

    Our focus areas : Skills and Youth Development programs

    We want to erect/build a skills development center, due to lack of resources, we are unable to do so. We were offered a land at a school near us

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