The Trailblazer Program is a nine-month program for grade 10 and 11 high school students. It provides students an opportunity to learn essential skills in leadership and personal development, connect with like-minded youth from across the country, and learn how to lead social change in their communities. Training occurs in centralized hubs in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein, with participants coming from every province in the country. Intakes are funded through South African CSR initiatives and international donor organizations.
The Trailblazer Program has three key components:
- Training at the enke: Forum: The program kicks off with a week of residential training called the enke: Forum. Content covers personal leadership development and a guided process through which each participant develops a Community Action Project (CAP) to address a social issue that affects their community. Forum is delivered by tertiary students form enke's complementary Ignition Program.
- Action and support: The CAP each participant designs at Forum is the main focus of the program. A CAP is entirely designed, owned, and executed by the participant, and they carry it out over the nine months of the program in their chosen community, addressing a social challenge they are passionate about. enke has full-time staff to support all participants nationally, from its Johannesburg offices. Support includes a trouble-shooting hotline, social media connection and community building, monthly reports, and site visits.
- Celebration: The program concludes with a one-day celebration event in which participants can reconnect with their peers, reflect on their experience, and be recognized for their effort. Trailblazers also receive letters and certificates of recognition and completion for their work.
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Model details2009Not-for-profit21st century skills (soft skills)Entrepreneurship skillsOtherConnection and community buildingActiveLong-term project
There is discretionary donation for students who would like to contribute.IkamvaYouthGOLD Peer Education Development AgencySouth African Education and Environment Project (SAEP)Keiskamma Music AcademySchool Development Unit (UCT)Life Zone SoccerJunior Achievers South AfricaAllan Gray Orbis FoundationAfrican Leadership Academy1,250
The Trailblazer Program partners with local, youth-oriented organizations (education and development) in low-income areas; it also uses site visits, fax, and online and SMS technology to reach youth in poorer areas.
TechnologyInternetMobile phoneOtherTracking of project actions, mapping youth locationsGeo-Q Technologies
ScaleThere are three cities in which the program conducts training. 309309 enke curricula workbooks have been distributed as part of training at enke: Forum. March, 2015
In its first three years the program ran one intake, slowly growing the number participants. In 2012 enke introduced a second intake of Trailblazers. Over time they have also increased their national reach with learners from 8 of the 9 Provinces taking part. In 2013 there were been two forums one in Cape Town and one in Johannesburg with 232 participants. The program expanded again in 2014, adding an intake in Bloemfontein, for a total of 309 youth across all intakes.
enke's vision has been to have a broad impact and to create a movement by working with thousands of yount people; thus, the organization plans to add more intakes in additional cities in South Africa and expand into other African markets.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
enke has developed an extensive impact tracking system. Its monitoring and evaluation (M&E) focuses on changes in participants' non-cognitive skills, social capital, and project success (including impact on communities). enke measures impact across its three main objectives:
- Connect: enke uses its programs as a platform through which participants are exposed to peers from different backgrounds in a diverse and challenge, yet safe, space. In addition to tracking the demographics of each cohort (an indicator of diversity), the program also tracks changes to the social capital of its participants.
- Equip: enke develops practical leadership and soft skills. In its M&E, it measures the development of participants' grit and locus of control.
- Inspire: enke aims to spark a passion for social action and a transition to entrepreneurial mindset. This is measured and evaluated through the initiation and completion of a CAP by each participant. The organization also measures the impact of the projects themselves, calculating how many people are affected by CAPs.
Internal assessment performanceUser satisfactionGraduation or promotion ratesStudent attendanceQuarterlyMonthlyWeeklyNoYes
The average score for forum satisfaction was 4.5 out of 5.
- Conversion rate (implementing projects out of the 2013-14 program intakes): 84% of 232
- Completion rate (implemented projects that are completed or ongoing in 2013-14 program intakes): 79% of 232
- Total number of beneficiaries of projects implemented by participants in the 2013-14 Trailblazer Program
- 96% of 232 participants increased social capital
- 52-55% of 232 participants showed movement toward stronger social and emotional skills