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NARYSEC background

The National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) was established in September 2010, NARYSEC's main goal is to recruit and develop rural youth; and to perform community service in their own communities.

NARYSEC's specific key objectives are:
• To recruit unemployed youth in rural areas.
• To train the youth through Further Education and Training programmes linked to the identified developmental community projects in rural areas.
• To develop youth with multi-disciplinary skills through civic education.
• To increase the number of rural communities receiving support in their self-development through the CRDP.

NARYSEC is rural wards-focused, as such, it recruits youth from rural wards, including youth with disabilities. In 2010/2011, recruitment targeted four youth per rural ward.
In 2012 the recruitment drive was increased to recruit six youth per rural ward, with emphasis in the CRDP sites where the numbers are more than 10 rural youth per CRDP site. Considering that South Africa consists of 2 920 rural wards, this process will lead to the employment of more than 10 000 youths. Being very strict on gender, NARYSEC's recruitment process insists on 50/50 gender balance per rural ward.


The following constitutes NARYSEC's vision for rural communities:
• A decline in the level of youth unemployment in rural areas.
• Increased literacy and skills in rural areas.
• Increased disposable income for youth in rural areas as a result of unemployment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The department has committed itself to a long-term relationship with participants in the programme and thus expects youth enrolled in NARYSEC to commit themselves, similarly, to the programme for the same period. The character development training each NARYSEC youth undergoes also assists in underpinning this message.

In summary, the programme consists of:
• Character development (e.g. discipline, patriotism, rights awareness)
• Life skills training (e.g. rights awareness)
• Skills development (construction, agriculture, disaster management, welding, electrical, records management, etc.)
• Practical training at workplace.
• Soft skills (e.g. mentorship, basic budgeting, project management, enterprise development, etc.)
• Deployment to rural wards to participate in the social and economic development of rural areas

NARYSEC's approach to skills development and job creation for youth in rural wards is informed by taking into account the following important understanding:
• That the department itself has initiated different projects to stimulate employment creation and skills development.
• That other skills development and job creation programmes have also been initiated and developed at both provincial and departmental levels.
• That specific focus of NARYSEC interventions and projects it undertakes are based on rural community service delivery.

How does NARYSEC interface with other strategic programmes aimed at developing rural communities?

NARYSEC plays a pivotal role in the CRDP.

Firstly, the CRDP development approach is premised on rural communities taking charge of their own development. As such, development initiatives undertaken in rural communities must first and foremost be based on development needs expressed by the rural communities themselves. The household and community profiling is undertaken to, amongst others, record and prioritise such needs expressed by the community. NARYSEC youth have been trained in this participatory research methodology and are being deployed to various areas across South Africa to undertake this valuable task that is so important in determining the scope, depth and direction of development to take place in rural areas.

During both household and community needs profiling, housing always emerged as one of the five needs identified by rural communities. NARYSEC therefore prioritised the construction of houses in rural areas as part of the development of rural infrastructure in line with the CRDP framework. Training was subsequently shifted to have focus on qualifying the youth as bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, roofers and as welders. Detail planning was involved in the process, and this included the following: identification of construction sites; appointment of professionally qualified project managers, engineers, architects, etc. Training of the NARYSEC participants in construction started on 1 July 2011.

Secondly, NARYSEC youth have been trained on specific areas relating to both rural development as well as in land reform. With regards to rural disaster management recent floods that hit many parts of South Africa in 2011 drew attention to the exposure and vulnerability of rural communities to such natural disasters. To mitigate the negative impact on rural communities, 110 NARYSEC participants have been identified and trained to become environmental monitors. These NARYSEC participants, with geography and mathematics, came from eight provinces and will be trained in the following:
• Environmental assessment.
• Understanding weather patterns and climate change.
• Global Positioning System (GPS) Introduction to environmental management, including environmental data collection.
• Disaster management, including flood management.
• First aid and fire wise training.

Given the challenge the department had in the past regarding the correct, auditable number of land claims outstanding, the NARYSEC youth have also been trained in records management and their involvement in this particular area has enabled the department to have better management information.

To take NARYSEC to the next level, the following are the priorities for the programme moving forward:
• The roll out of six NARYSEC youth to all rural wards every two months.
• To give priority to rural wards that were skipped/missed during the first round.
• To prioritise provinces with vast rural areas yet less NARYSEC to top up their numbers.
• To bring more youth living with disabilities on board.
• To provide skills development for participants with Grade 12 who passed maths and science with very good marks.

For NARYSEC to meet its strategic objectives and contribute meaningfully to the President's call to all organs of State, business and the civil society to create job opportunities, it is very important that partnerships are created and sustained, and each stakeholder's contribution be clearly identified. The department plays a support role – as an initiator and coordinator. The project, NARYSEC, is nationally led by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform and led provincially by MEC with Rural Development functions. This is included in the delivery agreement with the President.

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