The Claude Leon Foundation


South Africa has one of the highest structural youth unemployment rates in the world. Despite mass access to secondary education, hundreds of thousands of school leavers remain neither in employment nor further education, and are unable to meet the entry-level requirements set by employers and entrepreneurial enterprises. Yet, on the demand side, hundreds of thousands of vacancies and work opportunities exist and go unfilled across the private and public sector each year. Economic activity in key growth sectors is hampered by the difficulty, risks and costs associated with hiring young South Africans searching for their first job.
Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator (“Harambee”) was established in 2011 to address this “demand-supply mismatch” by understanding what entry-level jobs exist in the economy and understanding what behaviours and skills are needed to ready young people to succeed in those opportunities. Harambee’s strategic intent is to accelerate inclusive youth employment by reaching young people from poor households in search of their first job who are at high risk of long-term unemployment and pathwaying them into the economy. This is an even more heightened objective in a low growth economic climate where the question of who gets the available jobs must be answered with a view to increasing social cohesion and shared prosperity.


Harambee has done this through innovative solutions that break through barriers facing first-timers including: social network, transport and connectivity barriers, educational signalling and functional competence barriers, as well as the pycho-social and behavioural barriers that keep young people from poor households locked out of the economy despite their potential and will to work. The value of this direct impact as an operator has allowed Harambee to build knowledge assets. Harambee draws on rich analytics and research to enable its partners to use new proxies for judging young people’s potential and skills, and to develop better predictors of success for entry-level jobs and more entrepreneurial roles. 


© 2012 The Claude Leon Foundation. All rights Reserved.