Soul Buddyz Club

The Soul Buddyz Club is a groundbreaking way of reaching children and helping them to take action in their own lives and communities. Soul Buddyz Club is the platform where children are exposed to positive peer interaction, information about their health and rights, fun and adventure to stimulate their growing minds and practical opportunities to develop leadership skills. Since the inception the of the Soul Buddzy Club project over 3 years ago, the project has evolved. Soul Buddyz Club has achieved significant success in a relatively short period of time. To date, more than 2000 primary schools and libraries have become affiliates of the Soul Buddyz Club project with a noteworthy number of these moving on to establish functional Soul Buddzy Clubs.

Thousands of children have joined the Soul Buddyz Club children’s movement and have, through many innovative ways reported tremendous gains. The project however has not been immune to challenges and the Soul Buddyz Club team, in conjunction with project partners and Clubs on the ground are consistently striving to increase and strengthen the positive effects of the Soul Buddyz Club project.

Background

The Soul Buddyz Club is a joint initiative of Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication and SABC Education in collaboration with the Department of Education. The project was established in 2002 in response to an influx of requests from ordinary children in diverse South African communities. The impetus for starting the Soul Buddyz Clubs was the highly successful and popular Soul Buddzy children’s television drama series which was first screened in August 2000.

Soul Buddyz is a multimedia edutainment project and co-production between Soul City: Institute for Health and Development Communication and SABC Education. Soul Buddyz successfully highlighted the challenges facing children as well as the ability of children to confront and manage problem situations in order to make a difference in their communities. However, despite the phenomenal impact that Soul Buddyz had in terms of reach and impact, there were gaps between what children were exposed to in relation to what they could actually do or practice in their own lives. While Soul Buddyz raised issues pertinent to the health and well being of children, research suggested that children more often than not, lacked the infrastructure and resources needed to take positive action in their own lives and communities.

This critical factor, coupled with the requests by children for information and assistance in setting up their own Soul Buddyz groups went on to form the vision for the Soul Buddyz Club project.

Vision

Together with children and adults, create and sustain a platform that gives voice to and promotes action for children’s health and well being.

Objectives

Soul Buddzy Clubs are aimed at:

  • creating a vehicle through which children between the ages of 8-12 years can
  • become accredited Soul Buddyz Club members
  • creating an environment for ongoing learning with peer and intergenerational support
  • creating a forum where children’s needs and voices can be heard
  • promoting schools as community resources
  • providing a positive alternative for young people
  • encouraging young children to have fun and be creative
  • using this vehicle to mobilize children to participate in taking responsible action to shape their lives and that of the community, now and in the future
  • supporting young people as agents for change
  • providing young people with vital health information, especially around HIV/AIDS and sexuality in order to shift social norms and promote delaying the onset of sexual activity

Soul Buddyz Club promotes:

  • children as proactive, valuable and productive members of the community
  • children as responsible agents for change
  • non-discrimination and gender sensitivity
  • the best interests of all children
  • respect for the right to life, survival and development
  • alternate values to the dominant individual, consumerist set of values
  • respect for the views of all children, and
  • respect for, exploration and interaction with the environment
  • problem-solving, encouraging active learning