Chapters are assembled around themes such as ?being young?, ?education and careers?, ?sexuality?, ?health?, ?living in a democracy?, ?working?, ?managing personal finances? and ?safety and the law?. It also contains the phone numbers of help lines relevant to young people.
One of the youth organisations that helped write the booklet, the Vukani Youth Information and Resource Centre in Watville, says: ?First we talked to young people all over about what they wanted information on. Then we did research with drafts of this guide to find out if they thought the guide would give them the information they needed. So the youth decided what should go into it and how it should be written.
?Since the commission?s inception in 1996,? the organisation says, ?more opportunities have been created for young people to develop their full potential.?
At the launch of the booklet, NYC spokesperson Monde Mkalipi told learners about the Young Positive Living Ambassadors programme, which is run mostly by HIV-positive youths who visit schools, prisons, churches and communities ?to encourage sexual behavioural change in the youth.
?We are in the second phase of a project funded by the Public Works Department to the tune of R50-million over three years, wherein unemployed youth rehabilitate public buildings like hospitals and police stations to make them more accessible to old people and people with disabilities, for example,? says Mkalipi.
The NYC is a statutory body established by the National Youth Commission Act of 1996 to advise and guide the government on issues of youth development and to ensure greater access by young people to information. The commission accounts to Parliament through the Office of the President.
?There are many pilot projects under way. While we cannot enumerate all the activities of the commission, even though we are essentially an advisory body, we have gone beyond and initiated pilot projects across the country,? Mkalipi says.
To date the commission has completed a national youth policy, developed a White Paper on national youth service and established the inter-departmental committee on youth affairs to coordinate the youth programmes from 38 government departments.