In South Africa young people make up 42% of the population. According to the Eastern Cape AIDS Council (ECAC) 36.5% of young South Africans aged between 22 and 30 do not have the appropriate skills that will enable them to enter employment or support a sustainable livelihood.

With South Africa carrying the largest HIV epidemic in the world, with a HIV prevalence rate of 16.6% amongst those aged 15-49 years. HIV is also four times higher among women aged 20-24 (21%), compared to men of the same age (5.1%).

According to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), 2010, the Eastern Cape provincial HIV prevalence amongst antenatal women was 29.9%. The estimated overall HIV provincial prevalence has increased by 2.3% from 27.6% in 2008 to 29.9% in 2010. The leading district in the Eastern Cape province in terms of HIV prevalence was O.R.Tambo at 36%, followed by Amathole district at 32%.

Our objectives

  • Empower young people to occupy significant roles in decision-making processes
  • Ensure that young people are capable of making responsible sexual and reproductive health decisions
  • Equip young people with livelihood opportunities for a productive and healthy adulthood


We operate from the Eastern Cape, one of the poorest provinces in South Africa. Our head office is in East London, and our programmes operate across 24 distinct communities in OR Tambo and Amatole districts.

We bring together health and education sectors to improve SRHR services to young people in schools (see attached SGB report for details and photos)

The Youth Empowerment Programme mobilises and trains young people to engage youth to:

  • Decrease risk of HIV infection and of other STIs
  • Reduce teen pregnancy levels
  • Improve livelihood opportunities

Via Youth Development Centres, our volunteer peer educators target communities using:

  • Up-to-date information on HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, gender and livelihoods
  • Technical development approaches such as behaviour change communication theory
  • Interactive teaching and community engagement strategies
  • Development of skills such as CV-writing, and careers fairs

Our expertise also supports other youth organisations to develop core skills in youth development. We have recently provided training in monitoring and evaluation, fundraising and partnerships, peer education, and strategic and project management.

Programme Expansion

Following on from our SRHR workshops in August 2013, it was identified a significant need for our programmes in Alfred NZO, one of the most marginalised rural district in the Eastern Cape. In particular there were specific concerns around access to Youth Friendly Services, prevalence of sexual abuse and rape.

We found an extremely supportive environment from the community and stakeholders to offer a conducive environment for our programming. As a result we are proud to confirm that from March 2014 will be running our direct delivery programme in two communities in Alfred NZO, namely Mandileni and Tshungwana.

We are also expanding our outreach to new areas in our other two districts, OR Tambo and Amathole.

Working with [Restless Development] facilitators was a great inspiration and it changed me a lot. Working with young successful people is the most motivating part because today’s young people too often concentrate on doing bad things such as alcohol abuse and crime.

Phathiwe Bonakele, volunteer peer educator from Gwaba


project design information is available on request. FOR THE FULL LIST OF OUR PARTNERS CLICK HERE.