South Africa: Public Works and Infrastructure Wins Prestigious International Award for Expanded Public Works Programme

press release

Expanded Public Works Programme wins a prestigious international award for its role in the socio-economic development and upliftment of young people in South Africa

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has won a bronze award for the implementation of successful youth empowerment policies. The announcement has been made at the prestigious Future Policy Award 2019 ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia yesterday, 16 October 2019.

Subsequent to receiving the award on behalf of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, Deputy Minister Noxolo Kiviet says this prestigious accolade means that the work of political leaders, administrative managers and officials, for developing and implementing policies that enhance the empowerment of young people in conjunction with communities, is evidently making a difference.

She adds that EPWP will continue to explore ways to enable sustainable livelihoods through training and skills development, as well as through advancing entrepreneurial development by supporting cooperatives and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

"Youth unemployment remains a massive issue in our country where young people have so much to contribute and every effort must be made by government and the private sector to empower and give opportunities to young people. The EPWP's bronze award is a recognition by the international community of South Africa's role in the socio-economic empowerment and upliftment of young people in the country. The award also highlights proven policies that effectively promote and scale-up local, national, regional and international youth empowerment solutions," Deputy Minister Kiviet said.

A total of 67 policies from 36 countries contested for the 2019 Future Policy Awards. The World Future Council, together with its partners, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the Office of the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as well as Youth Policy Lab and Michael Otto Foundation and Jua Foundation had sent out a call for nominations to over 10,000 experts and representatives of international organisations, academia, non-governmental organisations, government agencies and other noted experts.

Eight inspiring and impactful laws and policies aimed at empowering young people to build a fair and sustainable future have been recognised at the Future Policy Award ceremony. The winners in various categories are: Rwanda, Estonia, Scotland (United Kingdom), Nepal, South Africa, Europe, Los Angeles (USA) and Senegal.

The WFC says the 2019 group of winners advance the economic empowerment of young women and men through decent and sustainable jobs, youth civic engagement and political participation for sustainable development and peace.

The Future Policy Awards, now in its 9th year, recognises and rewards the most impactful policies that tackle humankind's most pressing challenges for the benefit of present and future generations. The aim of the Awards is to raise global awareness of exemplary policies and speed up policy action.

Brief Background of the EPWP

The EPWP is one of government's short to medium-term programmes, to reduce unemployment and alleviate poverty through the creation of work opportunities using labour-intensive methods.

Young people are empowered through various EPWP programmes, including:

National Youth Service Programme

National Youth Services (NYS) programme is a year-long skills training and development intervention. It aims to provide unemployed South African youth with technical skills, life skills, access to practical work experience, mentoring and opportunity for future employment.

Working on Fire

This multi-award-winning programme, launched in September 2003, is part of government's initiative to create work opportunities and alleviate poverty. It's regarded as one of the South African government's most successful EPWP programmes. Here, youth are fully trained as wild-land firefighters and are stationed at 200 bases across South Africa. A total of 33 371 work opportunities have been created through Working on Fire over the past five years.

Through the various skills and training that the participants receive from the EPWP, they stand a better chance to enter the formal job market and/or become entrepreneurs.

Issued by: Department of Public Works

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