The network focuses on the following themes -2008-2012 period:
Health is important, because it is an essential element of the quality of people's life and also of human capital. Good health is associated with increased income through a number of mechanisms. For example, healthier children perform better at school and mothers with more education are better able to care for the health of their children. Similarly, a healthy and well-nourished person can be more productive in the workplace than someone who is ill and under-nourished, and thus has the potential to earn more, ensuring both continued good nutrition and greater work capacity. Risks for ill health and disability peak during three age periods across the lifespan birth and early childhood, late adolescence and early adulthood, and as people age. Substance use, depression and suicidal ideation, interpersonal and gang violence, and brushes with the law, are particularly related to ill health and disability among young adults (WHO/UNICEF, 1995).
The pervasive effects of poverty on health and disability, education, and employment create self-sustaining chains of adversity that increase poor outcomes among young people (WHO/UNICEF, 1995). Demographic trends, including the large proportion of young people in the population of developing countries - about 30 percent - as well as higher levels of urbanization among young people, make the health of young people a critical issue of national development. However, the health of young people has largely been ignored because youth have lower mortality rates than both younger and older groups, and this has led to youth being accorded a lower priority for health-related research and interventions. The threats to the health of young people can be classified into five broad categories; that is diseases, ill-health and unhealthy behaviors.Data collected in some developing countries suggest that disabilities are more common among young people than in children or in adults older than 25 years of age, the excess being largely due to mental disorders. Overall, disability tends to be more prevalent among men than women at all ages. According to the 2001 World Health Report (WHO, 2001), depression among 15-44-year-olds is the second highest cause of the burden of ill health, amounting to nearly nine percent of all Disability Adjusted Life Years lost.
In addition to death and disability, young people engage in higher rates of risk behaviors than other groups, and are subjected to more risky situations. These include substance use; reckless, violent and sexually risky behaviour; academic failure and drop out; eating disorders; and depression and suicidal ideation (Flisher et al., 1996). Gender appears to exert an influence on risk, with women being more likely to suffer from depression and eating disorders, for example, and men being more likely to engage in reckless or aggressive behavior, sexual risk taking and substance use (Compas et al., 1995). Article 25 in The United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 proclaims that" Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Taking all this into account the South African Young Voices Network has taken a position to lobby decision makers on the above issues in order to create enabling environment and this can be achieved through the development of policies and programs that better the health of young people.
Demand for policies that better serve young people in the health sector.
We understand economic participation as a process of enhancing skills and tools, with the purpose of empowering people so that they can be able to generate their own income.
According to Article 23 from the Universal Human rights, everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. As members of the network we feel that this right also applies to young people in South and therefore this right should be protected.
Claim and recommend policy reviews, and accelerated implementation of economic policies that advance in the mainstream economy
HUMAN AND LEGAL RIGHTS
South Africa's Constitution (1996) enshrines the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law. Everyone in South Africa, including the government, and all laws are subject to and must follow the Constitution. The Constitution also contains the Bill of rights which it describes as the 'cornerstone of democracy in South Africa' and compels the State to 'respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights'.
Recognising that the protection and promotion of human rights cannot be left to individuals or the government, Chapter Nine of the Constitution creates independent national institutions, subject only to the Constitution and the law, to transform our society from its unjust past and to deliver the fundamental rights in the Constitution to all in South Africa.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is one such national institution, which derives its powers from the Constitution and the Human Rights Act of 1994. It is also given additional powers and responsibilities by other national legislation. Since its inauguration on 2 October 1995, the Commission has taken up the challenge of ensuring that the noble ideals expressed in our Constitution are enjoyed by all in South Africa. Every person is entitled to certain rights - simply by the fact that they are a human being. They are "rights" because they are things you are allowed to be, to do or to have. These rights are there for our protection against people who might want to harm or hurt us. They are also there to help us get along with each other and live in peace.
Many people know something about their rights. They know they have a right to be paid for the work they do and they have a right to vote. But there exist many other rights. When human rights are not well known by people, abuses such as discrimination, intolerance, injustice, oppression and slavery can arise. Born out of the atrocities and enormous loss of life during World War II, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created by the United Nations to provide a common understanding of what everyone's rights are. It forms the basis for a world built on freedom, justice and peace.
We understand Human Rights as basic rights that everyone has simply because they are human, they come with responsibilities and cannot be taken away but can be limited e.g. imprisonment. SAYVON believes that Young people have the right to know their rights and responsibilities and should be given the chance to participate in decision-making processes.
Increase awareness of youth rights within South Africa.
Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups.
Recommend for policies and tactics that will enhance youth within the education sector in South Africa.
"When we speak of world civilization, we have in mind no single period, no single group of men: we are employing an abstract conception, to which we attribute a moral or logical significance -moral, if we are thinking of an aim to be pursued by existing societies; logical, if we are using the one term to cover the common features which analysis may reveal in the different cultures. In both cases, we must not shut our eyes to the fact that the concept of world civilization is very sketchy and imperfect, and that its intellectual and emotional content is tenuous. To attempt to assess cultural contributions with all the weight of countless centuries behind them, rich with the thoughts and sorrows, hopes and toil of the men and women who brought them into being, by reference to the sole yard-stick of a world civilization which is still a hollow shell, would be greatly to impoverish them, draining away their life-blood and leaving nothing but the bare bones behind. The true contribution of a culture consists, not in the list of inventions which it has personally produced, but in its difference from others. The sense of gratitude and respect which each single member of a given culture can and should feel towards all others can only be based on the conviction that the other cultures differ from his own in countless ways, even if the ultimate essence of these differences eludes him or if, in spite of his best efforts, he can reach no more than an imperfect understanding of them. The notion of world civilization can only be accepted therefore, as a sort of limiting concept or as an epitome of a highly complex process. There is not, and can never be, a world civilization in the absolute sense in which that term is often used, since civilization implies, and indeed consists in, the coexistence of cultures exhibiting the maximum possible diversities. A world civilization could, in fact, represent no more than a worldwide coalition of cultures, each of which would preserve its own originality." - Claude Lévi-Strauss.
Human development refers to the individual human being, who is both the ultimate objective of development and one of the most important instruments or means to it. An alert, skilled, educated, well-nourished, healthy, well-motivated labour force is the most productive asset of a society. People, however, are not self-contained atoms; they work together, co-operate, compete and interact in many ways. It is culture that connects them with one another and makes the development of the individual possible. Similarly, it is culture that defines how people relate to nature and their physical environment, to the earth and to the cosmos, and through which we express our attitudes to and beliefs in other forms of life, both animal and plant. It is in this sense that all forms of development, including human development, ultimately are determined by cultural factors.
Culture is defined as the shared patterns of behaviours and interactions, cognitive constructs, and affective understanding that are learned through a process of socialization. These shared patterns identify the members of a culture group while also distinguishing those of another group.
Every young person has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
Raise awareness on culture and policies that promote youth in cultural.
The network believes that gender equality should be exercised in all levels of society.
Increase influence of young women in development of their communities and society.