Sphamandla Mhlongo

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Amandla Entsha - The Power of YouthSouth Africa

Sphamandla Mhlongo is a project, manager, facilitator and content designer. He implements projects that have an impact on the capacity of community-based organizations, interacts with local municipalities, and represents his organization in forums and conferences. He is an experienced community and process facilitator, with an interest in media communications, public participation and election management.

He has co-authored publications on local government (GGLN) and reflected on civil society’s role in elections in an article with the Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit of the University of KwaZulu Natal. He has also been credited as an editor in a series of publications. Through his work, he has appeared on media platforms as a guest contributor and analyst on current affairs and has spoken at community radio stations in KwaZulu Natal. He has interest in regional integration and policy alignment through engagement with the African Peer Review Mechanism and the Pan African Parliament.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Amandla Entsha - The Power of Youth

The project engaged young people through exercises on civic awareness and encouraged them to think critically about the ways we can inspire other young people to become more actively engaged in democratic action and discourse. The core feature of this program was its use of youth-centered dialogue to develop an understanding of youth motivations for turning out to vote and choosing to be civically engaged. Through a structured curriculum and hands-on activities, participants were equipped with civic education and social mobilization strategies, with the goal of enabling them to host dialogues in their communities and increase voter turnout among first-time voters. Participants also learned about the connection between the government and democracy, the importance of transparency, and the role of women and young people in democracy.

Key outcomes of the project included a significant increase in voter registration among participants. Community dialogues, in partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa, facilitated voter registration and verification for attendees. Moreover, the project fostered community stakeholder buy-in through collaboration with local ward councilors and committees, strengthening public participation in governance.  Overall, Amandla Entsha proved instrumental in empowering young people to understand and actively participate in South Africa's democratic processes, laying the groundwork for sustained civic involvement and social change.

"I'm more hopeful now though, as I have a sense of what my vote means - I just wish I had the ability to share this message with the whole country's youth so that we could act as a collective." – Project Participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Sphamandla was a participant in the IVLP Project Not Too Young to Run - Engaging Youth in the Political Process, organized by the U.S. Department of State and the Mississippi Consortium for International Development.

U.S. Communities Visited

Washington, DC; Pensacola, FL; Baltimore, MD; Akron, OH; Seattle, WA

Country: South Africa 

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