On 21st August BNP Paribas Group South Africa including retail subsidiary RCS announced a five-year programme with Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) to support youth, peace and entrepreneurship in the Cape Flats, South Africa.
The programme was unveiled at the Youth Peacemaker Network in Cape Town, South Africa. It supports 45 Capetonians to educate 350 young people from communities across Cape Town to become social development ambassadors, through learning how to engage with residents to mediate conflicts and foster peace. The selected ‘Trainers of Trainees’ (TOT’s) as they are known, are from areas most affected by gang violence in Cape Town, and are chosen based on their personal experience and change agent capabilities. Once trained, the ambassadors support the development of educational initiatives and job creation projects for the city’s residents. The initiative will be hosted at the Athlone Community Learning Centre and field office for WPDI, which will provide access to IT and literacy tools, alongside entrepreneurship support. The centre will also host a ‘Business Bootcamp’, a platform specially designed by WPDI to incubate 80 small businesses over the next five years, and help provide economic stability which advances UN SDG 8 of decent work and economic growth at the local community level.
Dr Chance Chagunda, Programme Manager of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative explained: “Peace is much more than the absence of violence, but rather the total sum of attitudes, structures and institutions that underpin sustainable development. We believe that with the right support, young South Africans can be drivers of positive change.”
Vikas Khandelwal, CEO of BNP Paribas Group South Africa, commented: “Accelerating the UN SDGs at a local level requires collaboration from a range of sectors and organisations, as sustainable economies are underpinned by sustainable communities. We are proud to support programmes that promote social cohesion, equality & inclusiveness, and our partnership with WPDI is an example of how educational empowerment can lead to concrete and positive social impact.”
Regan Adams, CEO of RCS, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas Group South Africa, said. “Commitment to entrepreneurship and the importance of empowering the youth are the key drivers of this initiative. As a business we believe in the power of these factors in driving social change and we are excited to support WPDI in advancing sustainable communities”.
About Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI)
The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) was founded in 2012 by artist, social activist Forest Whitaker, who is the UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace & Reconciliation as well as member of the United Nations Advocacy Group for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). WPDI is a non-governmental organization that operates in countries and regions impacted by violence and poverty.
We are a 501(c)(3) registered in California. Our mission is to empower young women and men living in vulnerable places to become leaders, peacemakers and entrepreneurs in their communities. We help them become mediators who will address tensions and conflict between and within communities with competence and confidence. We help them become community organizers who are equipped to reach out to other youth and undertake educational and cultural projects to promote peace, dialogue and tolerance. We help them become entrepreneurs who can create economic opportunities for themselves and their communities.
Our work is guided by our CEO/Founder’s philosophy that, in communities affected by endemic violence and long-standing poverty, change must come from within. We believe that local youth—as stakeholders who are both native to their communities and nonetheless open to new perspectives and ideas—are transformative insiders uniquely positioned to be powerful agents of peace and sustainable development. For more information please visit www.wpdi.org
The RCS Group (RCS) is a consumer finance business that offers its customers a range of financial services products under its own brand name and in association with a number of leading retailers in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
The core purpose of RCS is to enhance people’s lifestyles and protect their financial security through innovative, desirable and accessible credit solutions. The idea is to enable RCS customers to enjoy the convenience, comfort and peace of mind offered by these credit solutions.