YMCA Cameroon

Some facts

Date of establishment: 1924
Member of the World Alliance of YMCAs: 1951
Cofounder of the AAYMCA: 1977
Renewal of the Charter with the AAYMCA: 3 June 2015
Local Branches: 9
Local Unions: 68 (some with Clubs)
Registered Members with cards:  1339
Men: 639
Women: 700
Under 30: 836
Participants: 10000

 Vision: Empowering Young People for the African Renaissance

Mission
Per Christian values and the Paris basis, our mission is to empower young Cameroonians and Africans to strive for responsibility, justice, peace, social transformation and sustainable development in their communities, their nations and their continent.

Values
Unity, Engagement, Integrity, Responsibility, Self determination

History
Cameroon-YMCA is honored to be a part of one of the oldest and biggest youth organizations. Like every other YMCA around the world, Cameroon-YMCA is an ecumenical voluntary movement for women and men with special emphasis on the genuine involvement of young people.

In line with the World Alliance of YMCAs, Cameroon-YMCA seeks to share the Christian ideal of building a human community of justice with love, peace and reconciliation for the fullness of life for all creation. Thus Cameroon-YMCA works towards social justice and peace regardless of gender, religion, race or culture.

The YMCA movement arrived in Cameroun in the 1920s and was affiliated with the YMCA of the French Alliance in 1924. However, it was not until 1951 that a National Alliance was built in Cameroon and YMCA became a member of the World Alliance. Within the same year, YMCA was recognized as a movement of public utility by the French High Commissioner.

Due to political unrest linked to the struggles for independence and restrictions of individual freedom, the National Alliance of YMCA worked under the tutelage of the Evangelical Church of Cameroon, which became independent in 1957. In 1991, following Law No. 90/053 of the 19 December 1990 Freedom of Association regulation, the National Alliance of YMCA/YMCA came into legal existence. T

The journey of the movement towards independence has not been “a bed of red roses” – to use the French expression. Internally, the movement has been balkanized and externally, in the last decades, it has shifted away from the large African and global families of YMCAs. However, the union’s commitment intensified and the attempt to rebuild the spirit and original vision of the movement has increased within the last five years.

It is in this context of optimism, that in 2014, supported by the World YMCAs Secretary and the Secretary General of the African Alliance of YMCAs, a mission of “finding facts” took place in Cameroon lead by Carlos Sanvee. In relation to this visit, the unionists decided to perform a “makeover” and shift to a Cameroonian YMCA called “National Council of Christian Association of Young People of Cameroon”, in accordance with international standards.

This decision was supported by a letter from the Evangelical Church of Cameroon, signed by its President General and the Secretary of the World YMCAs, thus the autonomy of the Cameroon-YMCA was recognized.

Today Cameroon-YMCA is present all 10 regions of the country and consists of 9 branches and 68 local unions. In 2017, we had the great honor to receive the general Secretary of the World Alliance of YMCAs, Rv. Dr. Johan Vilhelm Eltvik in Cameroon for an official visit. We are looking forward to renewing our charter as full voting member of the World Alliance during the 2018 World Council of YMCAs in Chiang Mai.

Our Association adheres to the vision and the common mission of the YMCA / YWCA enshrined in the Paris Basis, adopted in August 1855 which states:

The Young Men’s Christian Associations seek to unite those young men who, regarding Jesus-Christ as their God and Savior, according to the Holy Scriptures, desire to be his disciples in their faith and in their life, and to associate their efforts for the extension of his Kingdom amongst young men. Any differences of opinion on other subjects, however important in themselves, shall not interfere with the harmonious relations of the constituent members and associates of the World Alliance”.

It also adheres to all other subsequent texts of the Global Alliance and the African Alliance, including the 21 Challenges of 1998 and the Accra Declaration of 2007. Thus, according to Christian values and the Paris basis our mission is to empower young Cameroonians and Africans to strive for responsibility, justice, peace, social transformation and sustainable development in their communities, their nations and their continent.

Thus, the members of C-YMCA commit to the following values: Unity, Engagement, Responsibility, Self-determination and integrity.

Programs

Due to constant development and change in our country, which affect both the social and economic sphere, the programs of C-YMCA are continually changing to adapt the needs of the communities in the best viable way.

Even though the following programs are on different developmental stages, they are all being implemented, developed and managed in close collaboration between the local branches, local unions, the national council of C-YMCA and the local communities, where the activities are implemented.

This in-depth collaboration is of immense importance to us to ensure that our programs are successfully developed and are driven by engaged and competent people.

The lack of spaces, trainings, knowledge, civic engagement, activities, opportunities and voices to influence constitute a bottleneck that results in a negative impact on youth. We believe that youth trainings and activities comprise development of different kind of personal and social skills and are an essential part of stability building, leading to economic and social development.

Therefore, we believe in the importance of developing YMCA-clubs in both rural and urban communities and schools all over the country. Most of our programs are implemented through these clubs, in primary and secondary schools, as this is the best way to assess and address the young peoples’ lack of space, activities and trainings. Furthermore, the clubs create and maintain the youths’ voices to influence for positive change in their own lives as well as in their local communities, their country and their continent.

Participating in our programs and specific activities provides young people and children with skills useful for the increase of awareness on different issues, personal development, level of well being and quality of life.

A good life

This program seeks to improve the living conditions of social vulnerable groups in the society, such as prisoners and refugees. Trough trainings and activities our aim is to fulfill basic human needs and provide the groups with a feeling of hope and dignity, as all lives matter to us.

From subject to citizens

The philosophy of S2C looks to increase the civic involvement of the youth by developing their voice, access to space and ability to influence for positive change. In Cameroon, we are training catalysts to educate and spread the word about the importance of youths’ engagement in local communities to the members in their local unions.  We also train young people and engage them to stand for fair and transparent elections in Cameroun. We create Youth Citizen Clubs in cities, as well as YMCA Clubs in Schools, Prisons etc.

Africa We Want

This program is a pan-African network, based on the Agenda 2063, developed by the African Union, focused on the empowerment of young people to take charge and responsibility for our social, economic, political and cultural development. It is an integrated part of our school-club philosophy, as it aims at equipping the youth with skills to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Green Ambassadors

Nature is God’s gift offered to all generations. Therefore, the aim of this program is to create and maintain sustainable environmental awareness among youth and children. Through trainings and activities in the Green Child project we educate in sanitization, avoidance of deforestation and renewable energy to promote ecological harmony and safeguarding of God’s creations.

National Training Camps

The national trainings camps create a space for youth throughout the country for exchange and discussion of relevant issues such as Christian values, personal development and education. The national training camp is organized once every second year and gathers around 500 young people from all over the country. The camp lasts between seven and ten days and it is an opportunity for both our members and others interested to be together and gain great social as well as learning experiences. Each year, the national training camps are highly appreciated among the participants and for us it a big privilege to keep organizing them.

International Exchanges

The program consists of cultural exchanges of experiences and values with international partners. This includes exchange of interns, students, volunteers as well as organizing and participating in different national trainings. In Cameroon-YMCA, we had the honor to receive our first three interns from Denmark from August to December 2016 and from July to December 2017.

Contact

NATIONAL OFFICE
EEC Biyem-Assi Building
BP: 13 501, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Tel: +237 699 986 670 / +237 678 744 961 / 237 674 930 179
Email Address: camerounymca@africaymca.org
Website: YMCA CAMEROON

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