Action Volunteers Africa (AVA) is a non-profit organisation which has been working in the field of youth development, since 2013. AVA’s innovative programmes contribute to resolving the crisis of youth unemployment in South Africa as we envision a country in which every unemployed young person is empowered to build a sustainable future and contributing to society. We do this by harnessing volunteering and work-based learning as a tool to enable unemployed young people, to gain the life skills, work experience and confidence needed to change their future trajectories. Through these sustained work-based opportunities, enriched by a unique personal development programme and intensive mentoring, the youth gain experience and are empowered to become economically independent and socially responsible citizens. Career expo’s aimed at inspiring and informing youth with and without matric are organised. Very practical, relevant career opportunities are shared with youth from different organisations.
AVA places youth in three contexts to gain work experience:
Youth fullfill many roles in non-profit organisations where they are able to
provide extra hands with programme facilitation, admin and office tasks, etc.
Youth are placed in SMMEs where they fulfil diverse
tasks, based on the nature of the role they are appointed in. The aim is to enable SMMEs - through training,
support, and supervision - to provide work experience to out-of-school youth who are struggling to access
The youth are placed in schools where they work as teacher assistants and after-school
practitioners, mainly helping to teach literacy and numeracy at schools in the Western Cape.
AVA has impacted over 2000 young people who have participated in our programmes since inception. The progression of the youth into meaningful employment or studies towards a career post the programme, is an important component of the process. An average of 75% of the youth who completed AVAs programmes have managed to secure further opportunities for work or full time study and are firmly on the path towards sustainable careers. Due to the successes achieved, there is a growing demand from organisations and companies that request AVA to train and place youth with them. AVA is based in Cape Town and the strategic intention is to expand.
The Action VolunteersAfrica (AVA) model illustrates volunteering as a key to unlocking the future potential of youth. The AVA experience equips youth with the confidence, skills, experience and networks they need to actively engage in building a better South Africa.
In 2012 Action Volunteers
Africa (AVA) was set up as the CSI initiative of Action Appointments, a
well-established NGO recruitment agency. Under the guidance of the Director, Lisa
Garson, who has 20+ years of development recruitment experience, AVA became an independent NPO.
AVA ran a pilot programme in 2013, placing 30 volunteers into a variety of NGOs. Due to the immense success of this intervention, where 90% of the youth progressed to a new opportunity, in 2014 AVA worked with 98 volunteers, again achieving very high progression rates. In 2015 AVA expanded again, running several projects and co-creating, in partnership with the Western Cape government, their flagship YearBeyond gap year programme.
The pilot of the LiteraSEA project was also set up in 2015, in partnership with Shine, Edupeg and AVA.
In a short time AVA has had a great impact on the 300+ young people who have volunteered on our programmes. Over 90% of the youth who have passed through our programmes have managed to secure further opportunities for work or full time study and are firmly on the path towards sustainable careers.
The AVA project has also had a positive impact on the capacity of the partner organisations and schools, allowing them to expand or extend their impact at no extra cost. AVA has played an active role in advocating for the large scale use of volunteering as a means to address our growing youth unemployment.