Nairobi Statement: One year on


Nairobi Meetings, April 2012

Held in the historic city of Jericho, the 63rd Executive Committee of the World Alliance deliberated and assessed the progress of the NEW WAY strategy from 2011 until now and planned for the next important YMCA global milestone: the 18th World Council.

It was also a platform to assess another important milestone that took place a year ago In Nairobi, Kenya. Last year, 80 world leaders met to discuss the important decision made in Hong Kong in 2010 regarding the visibility of the YMCAs worldwide. Through a consultative process, these world leaders agreed on Youth Empowerment as the core focus of the YMCAs.
The Nairobi Statement bears testimony to this decision:


The YMCA wants to achieve its full potential
We therefore must be a stronger movement
We therefore must attract greater resources
We therefore must have more visibility
We therefore must demonstrate greater impact
We therefore must have a shared focus
Relevant to the world
Grounded in our mission
Worthy of our aspiration
Connected to our current work
We therefore choose to collectively stand for youth empowerment



A year later where are we? Much has been achieved, and of note this includes:

• Development of the “Youth Empowerment in Action “ concept

• Wide circulation and buy in of the Change Model: Space-ransformation-Impact.

Launching of the Change Agents initiative which culminated in the recruitment of 240 Change Agents worldwide.

• Establishment of the Change Agent Training Team (CATT) selected from all areas, which develops the training process and curriculum of the Change Agents.

• Identification of Mentors with a specific plan to support the Change Agents.

• Development of an impact assessment tool to track the progress of the Change Agents.

• Training and orientation for Change Agents at area level: Asia ( Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong, March 2013 ), Europe ( Turkey, Africa (Zimbabwe, June 2012 and Kenya, February 2013), Latin America (Uruguay, March 2013), Middle East ( Egypt, April 2013). North America, USA and Canada planning is in advanced stages.

• Securing of more than 50% of the financial resources of the Change agent initiative by the end of 2012.

• Development of a concept for “ONE MILLION YOUTH VOICES” research project through high-level academic advice.  This research is aiming at positioning our movement as the world leader in understanding and addressing youth issues. We plan to repeat this research every fourth year.


A year since the Nairobi agreement, the response of our movement to the Youth Empowerment agenda has been overwhelmingly positive. There has been consistent unanimity around Youth Empowerment as the core focus of the YMCA worldwide, whenever the concept and progress has been discussed, be these gatherings National Movement assemblies, Area meetings, International Secretaries and National General Secretaries Consultations.

The world movement has not reached such wide consensus for a very long time. Not a single resistance to the concept of Youth Empowerment as the core focus of all YMCAs.

With such consensus the Alliance is continuing to work for an increased visibility of YMCA in this world, and to unify the movement around key messages connected with Youth Empowerment.

This is a huge task and the small staff team in Geneva is quite challenged in terms of capacity. A unique experience has being launched with a staff placement scheme. Jesus Abraham from Mexico is the first one - he is an experienced staff member of the Mexican YMCA Federation, and is working now in Geneva for three months, supported by his YMCA. An experienced colleague from Brazil will be the next in this placement scheme.

There is growing interest in this scheme, so please find your place in the line! Do you want to build the collective capacity of our movement for Youth Empowerment? Do you want to enroll with this scheme?

Contact: romulo@ymca.int

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