Dlamini urges faith-based organisations to focus on youth

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pretoria - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has called on faith-based organisations (FBOs) to make youth their focus in their efforts to solve the many social challenges that face South African society.

Dlamini was speaking on Thursday at the opening of the two-day Inter-Faith Summit held in Benoni, Gauteng.

Organised by the Department of Social Development, the summit brought together leaders from various FBOs as recognised by the Constitution of the Republic to discuss the role they can play in addressing poverty and inequality, alcohol and substance abuse, improving early childhood development, strengthening the family, dealing with the challenge of child headed households and youth development, as well as tackling violence against women and children.

During her opening address, Dlamini stressed the importance for the FBOs to work with the youth because they are the future of the country. 

“Unless we ensure that our young people are moulded into responsible citizens with positive values, our country will not have a good future.  FBOs provide a good platform for grounding our children in positive values at an early age,” said the minister.

She also urged FBOs to create programmes to address issues of youth unemployment and idleness, because inactivity led to youth getting involved in disruptive behaviour such as alcohol and substance abuse and crime.

The summit builds on the outcomes of the 2012 Social Cohesion Summit, which declared that all sectors of our society, including FBOs, must be mobilised to work together to build a caring and proud society, based on shared values and a vision informed by the principles of Ubuntu, human rights and equality, social solidarity, and civic responsibility, among others.

The Inter-Faith Summit endeavours to chart a clear path for the contribution of religious communities in this regard.  A declaration will be signed at the end of the summit, committing all stakeholders to a collective programme of action for dealing with social challenges in South African society.

The summit is hosted under the auspices of the department’s Project Mikondzo – a service delivery improvement initiative which seeks to find and roll out innovative and speedier methods for delivering services to South African citizens in cooperation with relevant role-players. – SAnews.gov.za