SAAYC Strategic Plan

1. Introduction and background

No organization exists in a static environment. Social, Political and Economic trends continually impact the demand for its offerings and services.

The environment and space that SAAYC occupies within the YOUTH DEVELOPMENT discourse is also constantly evolving. Even as advances in technology present new opportunities, they also generate new expectations. Needs and community demographics are all subject to change, so too are methods for delivering programmes and services. It is thus essential that a strategic plan reflects the external environment and embraces its fluidity.

Programmes, services, and operations should be re-examined and reshaped considering current realities and future projections.

During the first quarter of 2020, South Africa was hit by Covid-19 pandemic resulting in the President declaring various levels of lockdown restrictions. The Covid-19 pandemic did not stop on National borders but affected all South Africans regardless of nationality, level of education, gender, and economic status. South African youth, particularly the unemployed were grossly affected. Socioeconomic hit young people everywhere faster and harder than any other age groups.

SAAYC was not spared from the effect of Covid-19.  As an organisation that relied on face-to-face interaction with the youth, our operations were paradises as we could not access young people, or vice versa, and had to rely on virtual intervention. Unfortunately implementing SAAYC Strategy virtually during the pandemic period proved to be difficult if not impossible since it was tailormade for face to face.  Implementing the strategy was incongruent to the realities posed by Covid-19.

We had to refine and shape our strategic direction to assess our relevance as an entity and define specific actions that will give sustained life to the organisation and the vision it subscribes to.

We had to define what are the factors that contribute to young people being viewed as positive emerging leaders and having a meaningful life in their communities. This question stimulates the vision of SAAYC and locates itself at the centre of our strategic plan and renewed focus.

We respond to this in the form of medium-term objectives and strategies, for we understand that most robust youth serving organizations of today will continue to adapt their approaches

in relation to the evolving external landscape. Therefore, our strategic plan is aimed at providing a guide, defining a clear “direction” – where we want to be in 2025 – and encouraging flexibility and innovation throughout the journey over the next Five years, as we forge a long term strategy to mirror our history of 80 years as leaders in youth leadership development and pioneers of youth work professionalization in South Africa, thereby extending our influence to be ‘thought leaders’ in youth matters in contemporary South Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.

The plan seeks to drive a strong focus to our work in the form of five youth-impact objectives, driven by well researched needs and priorities. It reminds us to be steadfast in our focus and historical commitment to helping the youth in our communities to access programmatic interventions geared towards developing their skills to be better leaders, thus responsible community members and drivers of innovation and positive changes for our communities. The plan also seeks to strengthen our commitment to partners, key stakeholders, and other organizations with a focus on youth, particularly those in vulnerable communities and rural settings, and most importantly to our donors.

2. SAAYC Strategy

Effective strategic planning involves the gathering, sorting, and prioritizing, focused on the core purposes of the organization and the most important attributes of success. It resulted in the development and agreement on a framework to guide the organisation’s decisions and actions over the next 5 years.

3. Organisational Vision and Mission

Organisations and projects in the civil society sector usually exist because they want to make a difference in society. They have a vision of how society could or should be in the future. This vision is not something SAAYC can achieve on its own. It is something that guides SAAYC in its work and which SAAYC believes can be achieved in the long term.

The vision is the starting point for any strategic framework. It shapes the framework and gives the organisation or project a basis from which to formulate objectives and plan activities. It sets out a long-term strategic roadmap that guides the organisation towards a desired result.

4. Organisational Values

Organisational values are the shared values that underpin SAAYC’s work as an organisation and its relationship with beneficiaries and other stakeholders. Values are what SAAYC believes is the right way to do things and to deal with people, and what they believe about the way that, ideally, the world ought to be organised.

Organisational values will determine organisational strategies and operational principles. Clarifying and reaching consensus on the organisational values is very important because they provide a basis for making difficult decisions.

The Values that SAAYC subscribes to are:

  1. Youth Centredness
  2. Accountability
  3. Quality Services
  4. Integrity
  5. Diversity and Inclusion