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In 1995 the SADC Council of Ministers approved the establishment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secondary School Essay Competition to recognize the best work in the region. Since 1996 the SADC Secretariat has been coordinating the Secondary School Essay Competitions to encourage learners in the Region to understand the role of SADC and disseminate information on SADC in order to support the process of regional co-operation and integration.

The topic for the 2019 SADC Secondary School Essay Competition is “How can Youth-focused Programmes Contribute to Sustainable Socio-economic Development of the SADC Region?”.

The topic is derived from the 38th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government which is; “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”.

Learners should discuss how Youth-focus Programmes would result in the advancement on sustainable economic growth and youth empowerment for the SADC region.



The essay should not be longer than 1200 and not shorter than 1000 words. The deadline for submission of entries to the Secretariat is 31 May 2019.

Where entrants have access to computers it is advised that they type their entries and submit both soft in PDF format and hard copies. They may sign and initial the hard copies to make sure that they have not been altered. Those submitting hard-written scripts, should ensure that their entries are visible and should not scribe on both sides of the sheet.

Marking Guidelines:

The set of questions below are meant to guide entrants when responding to the question above. Secondary school learners should ensure that they address the questions listed below in their essays:

  1. Discuss how the SADC Member State can improve their socio-economic services and infrastructure service in order to achieve meaningful development and sustainable development (15 points)
  2. Discuss what you understand by Youth-led and Youth-focused Programmes and give examples of meaningful sustainable development projects within the SADC region and how all these projects have advanced the lives of the SADC population especially young people.(15 points)
  3. The SADC region has one of the largest youth population in the world, and this means that region should put measures in place to improve the lives of its youth population. Discuss at length the social and developmental programmes which will raise meaningful living standards living standards for the youth population in the region. (20 point)
  4. As a secondary school learner, identify key critical skills which are required by the SADC youthful population to be self-reliant from their Governments and how can they apply those set of skills taking into consideration the limited opportunities and resources faced by the youth. (20 points)
  5. SADC Member States have a mammoth task integrating and cultivation youth’s participation the issues of economic growth, discuss how Governments can approach the subject and identify gaps and challenges associated to harnessing youth’s potential. (15 points)
  6. Discuss youth challenges and obstacles which hinder youth participation in socio-economic development and what insights can you share with young people on meaningful life-success ideas and choices (15 points).


The three selected essays from each Province will be forwarded to the Department of Basic Education and the three national winning essays will be submitted to the SADC Secretariat.

The SADC Secretariat has allocated a sum of US $ 1000 as prize money for the national winners of the competition in each Member State. The prize money will be divided as follows:

  • US $ 500 for the first prize
  • US $ 300 for the second prize
  • US $ 200 for the third prize

Each candidate will receive the equivalent of the prize money in South African Rands. The three national winning essays will be forwarded to the SADC Secretariat for consideration in the regional competition.


Eligibility Criteria:
  • Applicants must reside in South Africa,
  • Applicants must be  currently attending secondary school,
  • Essays must not be more than 1200 words but not less than 1000 (Ariel 1.5 line spacing for typed essays),
  • Submissions must be the unaided work of applicants,
  • Submissions should be in English,
  • The name of entrants should be the same as those that appear on the Identification Document (ID) or Passport,
  • Applicants must be willing and fit to travel.

To submit an entry:

Learners should forward their essays to a coordinator in their Province by 08 April 2019.

Provincial Co-ordinators

Eastern Cape

Ms Funeka Jwaai

Tel: 040 608 4308



Free State

Mr J Matsaneng

Tel: 051 404 8612

Email: /



Strini Naicker

Tel: 011 355 0595



KwaZulu Natal

Ms Sthoko Shange

Tel: 033 348 6027




Mr RH Takalo

Tel: 015 291 1689




Mr H Nkosi

Tel: 013 766 0957



North West

Ms V Phetwe

Tel: 018 397 3025

Email: /

Mr Raymond Mofolo

Tel: 018 389 8162



Northern Cape

Mr Wilfred Marais

Tel: 053 839 6596



Western Cape

Ms F Haffejee

Tel: 021 467-2868



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