Abigail Jacobs-Williams

Youth Programme Manager, City of Cape Town

Youth development and the social upliftment of young people are two passions that drive Abigail Jacobs-Williams to campaign against negative social issues that eat into the healthy mindset of our communities.

“Growing up in Mitchells Plain made me aware of negative social issues, and I always knew I wanted to do something to work against all the negativity in the community,” she says.

That set her on a path to work closely with youth upliftment, anti-gangsterism and the building of social capital and positive networks within communities, but also on gender action plans to address unequal gender relations in practical and implementable ways that meet the needs of communities.

Jacobs-Williams’s career in various local government and municipal positions has always had a common thread: a determination to assist others.

This has included “gender mainstreaming” at local government level across 10 southern African countries as well as Madagascar and Mauritius, to generate gender action plans to ensure that women’s issues are included in all aspects of service delivery.

Jacobs-Williams currently works for the City of Cape Town as the youth programme manager, responsible for developing and implementing youth development interventions that ensure more young people have access to training for work skills development, and projects that delay the onset of negative health and social consequences encountered in their communities.

Her role is also to ensure there are organised, empowered and fully functional youth formations that provide support to the young people in all communities across Cape Town, with the goal of seeing a visible decrease in youth unemployment levels.

Jacobs-Williams says the youth of Cape Town keep her inspired.

“I am privileged to see how a little positivity changes the path of a youth who faces challenges and hardships each day. Whether it is by putting youth through a life skills project that teaches them basic skills around how to avoid making bad choices,
or teaching them to be active change agents in their communities, positivity can makes change for the better happen.” — Linda Doke