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​Their roles and responsibilities were explained to the Children’s Council, which had its first meeting of the year. A new executive will be elected in May.
YOUNG councillors on the Johannesburg Children’s Council were introduced to the functions of the council and the municipality at their first meeting of the year, where they also discussed prospective community projects to be initiated by the councillors, and logistical plans for the year.

AndrewsBrenda Andrews: Manager of civic education in the Office of the Speaker The year’s first community project is the collection of toiletry and sanitary items for the displaced persons unit, which falls under the City’s human development directorate. This unit manages people who live and work on the streets of Johannesburg.

Councillors are also to encourage learners at their schools to donate at least one toiletry item each, including but not limited to facecloths, soaps, roll on deodorant, toilet paper, toothbrushes and body lotion. These items will be given to underprivileged people on the City’s indigent register.

In addition, the learners need to get the permission of their school principals to initiate a project that will uplift their schools. They are required to form working committees in their respective schools and choose portfolios. The committee’s role is to conduct a needs assessment of the school and initiate a project that will improve the school or the community around the school.

Brenda Andrews, the manager of civic education in the Office of the Speaker, says all projects are due at the end of August.

On orientation day on Monday, 16 March at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein, Andrews told the children councillors and their teachers to avoid procrastinating in starting projects. “You need to start immediately and get going. Organise yourselves because that’s what a responsible councillor does.”

She said schools were not limited to one project and could embark on as many as they could sustain. “You will only inform us of the success of your project at the end of the year,” she said.

Role models
Andrews told the children councillors that they were role models and were representatives of the City. “At school you can’t misbehave anymore. You can’t say, ‘I don’t have my homework’, because you are now a councillor and you need to be responsible.

Children's Council teaches young children to grow as responsible citizensThe Children's Council teaches youngsters to grow up responsible citizens“When you are walking around your schools think, ‘I am a councillor.’”

More than a 100 learners from about 60 schools attended the orientation. They were given project guides, a student and children’s council magazine and an indemnity form for an upcoming camp. They also learned why the City established the council.

Through the Office of the Speaker, the City uses the Children’s Council to instil civic pride in youngsters, aspirant leaders and politicians, and enable them to participate actively in council events and contribute meaningfully to human and community development.

The Children’s Council seeks to provide grade six learners with a platform to converse and debate pertinent issues of common interest that affect active citizens. The year-long programme promotes volunteerism among learners and aims to create young ambassadors of the City.

It also exposes learners to the different functions of council, develops new skills and knowledge, and grooms learners to become active citizens. They also learn about democracy through campaigning and voting.

The next meeting of the Children’s Council will be on Wednesday, 11 April and a new executive will be elected at a camp in Magaliesberg at the end of April.

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