Joy Olivier

Ashoka Fellow
Cape Town, South Africa
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Joy Olivier was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Joy is significantly improving graduation results to enable students to qualify for tertiary education institutions. Through IkamvaYouth, created and managed by youth, Joy provides after school support to learners from grades 8 to 12 as well as intensive programs during the holidays to help prepare students for graduation exams. The program is framed around learner’s questions, as opposed to tutors acting as supplementary teachers (a common practice of teach-the-teacher models). Students’ learn how to identify their doubts, pose questions, and guide their studies in a focused way. The tutors, youth who graduated, support students to reach a point where they can teach themselves. The goal of this approach is to equip learners with knowledge, skills, networks, and resources to access tertiary education and employment opportunities when they graduate.

IkamvaYouth encompasses four main programs, each addresses a unique challenge for learners, and together, make a comprehensive model that has proven successful to improve disadvantaged youth’s graduation: (i) supplementary “out of school” tutoring and homework sessions enable learners to improve their grades (ii) Ikamva offers career guidance to all its learners which broadens their awareness of post school opportunities (iii) Ikamva offers mentoring programs in which learners are paired with university students or professionals; usually to inspire and guide them through the transition from secondary to tertiary education (iv) mentors also guide them through tertiary and financial aid applications to ensure that they utilize every opportunity available after high school. Because the model is rooted in the community (i.e. operating alongside township schools and inside community libraries) and works as a democratic governance system, this peer learning process is continually improved by sourcing creativity from the community, learners, teachers, and parents.

The Ikamva model draws more than half of each graduating class to become tutors/mentors for the next cohort. Further, 80 percent of the management committee at the Khayelitsha center comprises former students from Ikamva. Through this system, Ikamva provides sustainable capacity among youth by enabling them to become agents of change; from beneficiary to benefactor.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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