“Project GROW has helped me to rethink my approach to youth work.”
Lilian is not originally from South Africa, but moved there several years ago from Kenya to further her career. Volunteering with young women has given her a sense of belonging in her new country.
“Project GROW has allowed me to learn from other youth workers, both in South Africa and from other countries. Sharing stories allows you to see things from new perspectives, and is so much richer than simply learning theory.
“Youth work is hard. When things don’t go to plan it can feel fruitless, but Project GROW reminded me that what we are doing is truly having an impact on the young women we work with. Working on the development the toolkit on monitoring and evaluation [link to O3] was a really positive challenge for me. Measurement is so important for youth workers, especially working in challenging communities like we are in Joburg townships. When you have identified what you can and will measure, and why it is important, it allows you to see changes that otherwise you would overlook. This helps to boost morale and remind us that we are having an impact even when it feels like we aren’t. It also allows us to direct limited resources more effectively.
“Project GROW has also shown me how we can recruit, manage and empower volunteers better. Volunteers can take on many tasks to help us to manage and grow our work, if we give them the tools and structure to do so. I have learned a lot from the other organisations about how they do this and it will help our work to grow sustainably.
“I saw how important our person-centred approach is. This is what sets our programmes apart and we need to be able to explain this better. We don’t work with huge numbers of young women and girls, but we do spend time thinking about each one who engages in our programmes, and helping her to plan for her future. If we give them the chance to lead in their communities they will touch many more lives.