8 October 2012 South Africa’s National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has partnered with civil society organisation SponsorMe to launch the pilot of an online volunteer platform in a bid to increase the number of young South Africans that volunteer. The platform, launched last week, allows volunteer organisations and individuals to connect and offer their services where they are most needed. The idea came about through consultations between volunteer organisations at the Knowledge Network Seminar in January this year, National Youth Service general manager Patrick Mphale said in a statement. It is the culmination of consultations and engagement with volunteer organisations and the Flemish government’s partnership programme, which is aimed at promoting youth volunteerism in the country, Mphale said. “This online platform is part of the five priorities of the programme to upscale and promote youth volunteering of which the other priorities are capacity building of civil society organisations, knowledge generation through research, funding for sustainability and marketing and advocacy.” Duncan Luke, founder of SponsorMe, said there were many organisations and entrepreneurs that had identified a need for a platform to share and connect organisations, “and this project aims to better understand the environment and how it could best serve organisations and potential volunteers for these organisations.” Individuals and companies are both being called on to get involved. “The NYDA and SponsorMe are calling on all organisations that have opportunities for young volunteers to become involved, share their needs, sign up and give input in this project,” SponsorMe said. “We will be hosting an online forum for feedback on the online platform as well as focus groups in Cape Town and Johannesburg with organisations in October and November.” Organisations interested in getting involved can visit www.sponsorme.co.za/page/volunteer-organizations, and individuals interested in volunteering can visit www.sponsorme.co.za/page/volunteers. SAinfo reporter
“We dare not let the actions of a few define us as a nation,” writes Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula of the recent attacks on foreign nationals. “What was intended to pull our nation down must be used to strengthen our resolve to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society which respects human dignity and rights of all people.” A still from the music video for United We Stand by Salif Keita and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a song calling for peace and unity in Africa. (Image: YouTube)Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-NqakulaWe live in a globally connected world where local actions can reverberate across the globe. No country is an island and we are all interconnected in more ways than one. Therefore, since 1994, South Africa has actively sought to strengthen partnerships and ties with countries in Africa.These partnerships have a profound effect on our daily lives often without us even thinking about it. When you turn on the tap to draw a bath, chances are that you are using water from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Much of our electricity is also sourced from the Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique. This demonstrates our interdependencies as Africans for our countries to succeed and develop.The shameful attacks on foreign nationals that sought to plunge our country into anarchy took place far away from Lesotho and Mozambique, yet they reverberated in those nations and far beyond.It is precisely for this reason that we dare not let the actions of a few define us as a nation. What was intended to pull our nation down must be used to strengthen our resolve to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society which respects human dignity and rights of all people.We have proved as a nation that we are resilient and our defeat of the apartheid system shows that. Today South Africa is counted among the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. The past few weeks have shown that the overwhelming majority of South Africans stand for peace, the rule of law and fundamental rights, in contrast to the few who are bent on perpetuating acts of violence.This week we have begun the healing process and are working to restore harmony within our communities. President Jacob Zuma has also convened stakeholders to discuss migration.South Africa will next month join the rest of the continent in celebrating Africa Month. In the spirit of Africa Month let us take hands with our fellow Africans in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent to encourage greater social cohesion, nation building and African unity.Our destiny is intrinsically linked to that of the rest of the Africa. We are already working with a number of African countries to grow business, trade and investment.In the energy sector we access gas from neighbouring countries which is used in local industries and households, and sustains thousands of jobs. We are also a major importer of crude oil from African counties.The Great Inga Hydropower Scheme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will produce electricity for a number of countries within the SADC region including South Africa.Our long-standing relationship with neighbouring countries allows us to procure electricity and water required for our power stations. These relationships have enabled us to electrify more than 6 million new households since 1994.In light of above, the government appeals to all South Africans to remember that united we stand and can achieve so much more; we are all Africans. Furthermore, we are aware of concerns raised by citizens about illegal migrants and their alleged take-over of local businesses. President Zuma has mandated a high-level government team to address the matter.The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster together with the Ministers of Social Development, Trade and Industry and Small Business Development will engage affected communities, organisations representing foreigners, business and non-governmental organisations to attend to their concerns.Moreover, measures are being put in place to better regulate immigration into South Africa and a Border Management Agency has been established to manage all ports of entry.We have also transferred 350 members of the SANDF to the Department of Home Affairs to boost the capacity of immigration officers at our border posts. Our military personnel have been deployed along the border in seven provinces to prevent border crime and illegal border crossings.This week the President himself has met with stakeholders to discuss the country’s migration policy and how various sectors can work with government to promote orderly migration and good relations between citizens and foreigners.The President intends to build a lasting partnership with stakeholders in the country to better manage migration and ensure that the shameful attacks on foreigners do not ever again occur and attempt to destroy our hard-won gain as a country.We must never allow perceptions to become our reality. Many foreigners have legal status and abide by the country’s laws. They contribute meaningfully to the economy and the development of our country.Throughout the liberation struggle, our fellow African brothers and sisters took a stand and supported our fight against apartheid. They provide much-needed shelter to our leaders and activists. Their support played an important role in our attainment of freedom we enjoy today. Their help will remain forever etched in our memories.Moreover, the criminal actions by a handful of perpetrators are in no way a reflection of the true state of relations between foreigners living and working within our communities.To render these criminal elements powerless, we must collectively address misconceptions and stereotypes about foreign nationals or other cultural groups to ensure that such incidents don’t happen again.The government cannot do it alone and needs all sectors of our society. Let us all use our various platforms to address stereotypes about foreigners and educate South Africans about the need to co-exist and live in harmony with our fellow brothers and sisters from other countries.
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Battle lines are blurring rapidly within the Indian cricket board, which was a house vertically divided till the recent past. As part of the ongoing rapprochement, Board president N. Srinivasan has not only revived one of the pet projects of veteran administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya but also made him its head.Srinivasan himself requested the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president to head a project similar to the New Areas Development Programme (NADP) that he had launched about nine years ago. Dalmiya, 71, readily accepted the offer.Dalmiya as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had launched the ambitious NADP in May 2003. The project was aimed at unearthing the talent from the remotest parts of the country, both states and Union territories, and cricket gear and equipment was supplied to them as part of assistance.The project, however, was not a big success, largely due to lack of communication between the BCCI and the targeted areas and travelling to far flung corners of North East and Union territories.Srinivasan revived the project at a recent working committee meeting in New Delhi, in the presence of Dalmiya, who was representing the CAB. Dalmiya accepted the offer, according to an official present at the meeting.The other members of the committee are BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale, joint secretary Anurag Thakur, and Kasi Viswanathan, secretary of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. Two other committee members – BCCI’s chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty and CAB’s Chitrak Mitra – were part of the NADP panel in 2003.advertisementOutlining the brief for the Dalmiya- headed committee, Srinivasan said at the meeting that the project would aim to “look after the development and promotion of cricket in areas outside the jurisdiction of the 30 full members of the BCCI”.BCCI insiders, however, indicated another reason for constituting the special committee. Pointing to the larger picture, they say that by reviving the NADP, Srinivasan has made a smart move to consolidate his new- found friendship with Dalmiya. Both have been in rivals camps since mid-2000s.”But that is past. Now, they are on the same wavelength, which can only be good for the BCCI. Srinivasan has in the recent past consulted the vastly experienced Dalmiya on a few tricky issues concerning the Board, which underlines the increasing bonhomie between them,” a top Board official who has been close to the two veteran officials told Mail Today.”The first step towards the ‘friendship’ was the Shashank Manohar- Srinivasan group’s decision to withdraw the 1996 World Cup fund embezzlement case against Dalmiya in September 2009. It was followed by a series of positive gestures from Manohar and Srinivasan,” he said.Recently, the Board members felt that since all the meetings are always held at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai, the affiliated associations were being “neglected”. “So, it was decided that the working committee meetings would be rotated amongst major centres, and the first meeting following this change was held in Dalmiya’s home city Kolkata, on October 29,” he said.The coming together of the ‘rivals’ can only be good for the game. Almost nine years ago, the areas covered under the NADP for unearthing talent and developing the game were Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Pondicherry and Sikkim.”The NADP project in 2003 was not a great deal of success. It was largely due to the travelling problems to the remote corners of the selected areas and lack of communication with them,” Gautam Dasgupta, convenor of the NADP in 2003, told Mail Today.