As South Africa celebrates the 25th anniversary of its first democratic elections, the rainbow nation dreamed of by Nelson Mandela is still struggling to accept its differences. Black and mixed-race South Africans are still facing discrimination. The town of Bredasdorp, in the southwest part of the country, is an example of the divisions inherited from Apartheid. Until six years ago, a concrete wall separated those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods – 85% of the town’s residents and mostly black – from those living in affluent and mostly white neighborhoods.
In Bredasdorp, young people struggle to find work. The unemployment rate among 15-35 year olds is 20%. Nearly 22% of 15-17 year olds are in forced labour. The town is also plagued by drug and alcohol abuse, high numbers of teenage pregnancies and 30% high school absenteeism. Under these conditions, it is difficult to remain motivated and to think about the future.
This is why AFD and Waves for Change have chosen Bredasdorp as the site for launching the pilot project of the mobile application.
The Waves for Change application pilot project is being evaluated by Lauren October. At 27, this researcher from the University of Cape Town specializes in security initiatives and violence reduction. She was born and raised in Bredasdorp. At first, she sets the scene: "I am now a researcher in a large university in the country, but I can tell you that when you spend your childhood in Bredasdorp, it is not easy to get to higher education ".
Lauren is in charge of evaluating the impact of the Waves for change application in Bredasdorp. "When we advertised in the local newspaper that we were recruiting 30 coaches, I received 70 calls in the first day," she says. Such enthusiastic response is understandable in economically and socially deprived areas like Bredasdorp.
"Given this situation, we immediately understood how the effects of the W4C application could be positive for both coaches and participants. It just gives them a reason to do something. "
The impact of the Waves for Change application is evaluated against two criteria: the self-confidence of the coaches and their financial independence. "If an unemployed person manages to earn a regular sum for a few months by organizing sports classes through the app, it will have an immediate impact on their mood and buying power. The whole question is to see whether this application will also allow its users to have more confidence in themselves and to engage even more with their communities".
Just one month after the mobile application launch, nearly 1,000 people have already participated in a sports activity provided by Waves for Change coaches! That is 5% of the population of Bredasdorp.
The Waves for Change app wants to shake up the norms established by most NGOs and development agencies. How? By eliminating all intermediaries between funder and recipient.
"Donors want to make sure every cent will directly benefit the cause which they are funding. With this application, there is no money lost on the way, as is too often the case, "says Tim Conibear.
By financially supporting the Waves for Change application pilot project, AFD is breaking new ground. The Agency is supporting the project’s proof of concept: once its real impact is proven, additional funding might be considered for the project to be rolled out to more towns in South Africa.