Codes of ethics needed for youth workers' organisations

Johannesburg – Youth workers say the key to strong youth workers’ organisations is the creation of codes of ethics that will help guide the field towards recognition.

These are the views of academics and youth workers discussing the collective strength of Youth Work professionals at the 2nd Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Youth Work is based on the development and empowerment of young people.

Those in attendance included hundreds of youths, academics and youth workers from commonwealth country member states.

Delegates discussed commonwealth countries such as South Africa, New Zealand, Zambia and Jamaica where youth workers have established organisations focused on youth development.

Zeni Thumbadoo, the deputy director of National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW), based in South Africa, said through NACCW they are attempting to bring recognition to the professionalisation of youth and child work through advocacy.

“We have care workers across all provinces that are being trained to work with children and the youth. We also support the participation of young people in creating policies,” said Thumbadoo.

Jamaica Professional Youth Workers’ Association member Tanya Merrick Powell, said the journey for creating and sustaining professional youth workers’ organisations is not easy.

There is a need for collective action to ensure that commonwealth governments recognise and fund youth workers.

Anya Satyahand of Ara Taiohi Youth Organisation in New Zealand, explained that professionalism is not only about funding but should also include accountability.

She said codes of ethics and organised youth work bodies would assist youth development work.