A Milestone for the CYDEP!

The launch of the Vaal University of Technology’s (VUT) Small Business Management and Community Development Program (SBMCDP) in February this year, was a significant milestone for the Christian Youth Development and Empowerment Program (CYDEP).  The history of CYDEP (formerly known as the Christian Youth Development Program), dates back to 2012. It was born from a need identified by the Brunstad Christian Church in South Africa (BCCSA) – to alleviate the detrimental effect of youth unemployment in Africa, as well as in South Africa.

The CYDEP is a year-long program providing training in hard and soft skills in various disciplines to young people from African countries, through hands-on practical training. Upriver Developments together with other companies in the Vaal area, provide the opportunities for this practical training to take place. The primary goal is for participants to return to their home countries equipped with the abilities to sustain and support themselves and their communities to a greater extent. 

However, through the continual evaluation of the program by Professor Wynand Grobler from the North-West University, it became evident that the inclusion of formal training was necessary to enhance the program’s impact. Prof. Grobler maintains that through formal training, participants will have a competitive edge in the job market and will also be equipped to start and successfully manage their own small businesses.  Hence VUT’s development of the SBMCDP which now offers certified training tailored for CYDEP.

The Hippo Mundo Charity (HMC) is a foundation which runs Christian and humanitarian programs not only in Africa but worldwide. Their policy objective is to educate disadvantaged youth to improve their opportunities to earn a meaningful living.  Being the program owner and host, HMC has been instrumental in the inclusion of the formal short university courses into the CYDEP, in collaboration with its partners in South Africa – VUT, Upriver Developments and BCCSA.

At the launch of the SBMCDP, which was attended by dignitaries from various African embassies and other esteemed guests, Mr Sipho Radebe, the Executive Mayor of the local municipality, endorsed the program with enthusiasm, highlighting its potential to empower participants as agents of positive economic change within their communities, not only in South Africa but across the African continent.

Prof Tielman Slabbert from BCCSA provided a broad perspective stressing the positive influence of Christian values on work ethic. BCCSA provides the important spiritual component of the CYDEP and Slabbert explained how young people are taught to respect other cultures and how to put Christian principles into practice in their daily lives, thereby fostering the ethic of service to others.  BCCSA is responsible for the recruitment of candidates to the program and provides the facilities for candidates while on the CYDEP.  

In February, 22 candidates were enrolled by VUT to commence the SBMCDP. A further 11 candidates are waiting on their visas to be granted and will then join the program. The course material is divided into six modules which cover the following subjects – Entrepreneurship and Social Development; Small Business Marketing; Small Business Financial Skills Part One and Two; The Introduction to Project Management; The Introduction to People Management; Logistics and Transportation.

In his closing remarks, Prof. Slabbert thanked everyone for the tremendous effort that went into getting this exciting new initiative off the ground in such a short space of time.